What is Cybersecurity and How To Build a Career in it?


Cybersecurity is a rapid-paced, incredibly dynamic field with a vast range of specialties to opt from, allowing you to work anywhere in the globe. During the past few decades, breaches are mounting at a rapid pace and companies have been scramblling to hit upon new cybersecurity talent to aid combat the rising cyberthreats to businesses. As a result, there is an exponential demand for people in cybersecurity to help defend against this growing threat.

According to Mashable, the top cybersecurity industry, the global cybersecurity market may hit $170 billion by 2020 and has come out as the most fascinating industries to work in. Even, a 2018 report by ISC(2) predicts there are more or less 3 million openings globally. Moreover,  U.S. Department of Labor reports that jobs in this field are estimated to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding up 557,100 new jobs exclusively in the USA alone. 

What is Cybersecurity? What you need to know

Cyber security is the state or practice of protecting and defending servers, computers, mobile devices, electronic systems, data, and programs from any type of malicious cyberattack. Cyberattacks are an evolving threat to enterprises, employees, businesses, and consumers. They may be designed to destroy or access sensitive info or data or to extort money. The term Cyber security is also known as electronic information security or information technology security.

Finding the right career path in this specialized filed or industry is not always an easy task. While many understand they want to go into the field straight after college, mostly work in software engineering or IT before exploring a specialized profession in the industry.

Here are some questions that generally come to their mind:

  • What Types of Certifications Do Cybersecurity Experts should have?
  • Can I get a job with an entry-level certificate?
  • Will earning a bachelor’s help me to climb the career ladder faster?
  • What interpersonal skills can help me on the job?
  • What will be the core job responsibilities for cybersecurity professionals?
  • What would be the salaries?
  • What job growth is expected in cybersecurity specialty over the next few decades?

How Can I Build A Career in Cybersecurity?

Building a great career in cybersecurity takes determination, perseverance, a hyper-alertness of the changing technology and threat landscape, and a keenness to continuously learn new skills. Whether you would like to become a cybersecurity analyst, a white-hat hacker, or something else, there are uncountable roles within cybersecurity to fit your career goals. Even if you aren’t interested to work a full-time cybersecurity job, there are so many other technologist positions like network architect and software engineer progressively demand some level of cybersecurity skills & know-how.

Here are some careers based on experience level:

  • Entry-level roles: web developer, systems administrator, systems engineer, IT technician, security specialist, network engineer.
  • Mid-level roles:  security analyst, security technician, IT auditor, incident responder, penetration tester, cybersecurity consultant.
  • Advanced-level roles: chief information security officer, cybersecurity architect, cybersecurity manager cybersecurity engineer.

So, whether you are trying to kick start your occupation in the cybersecurity sector, looking to boost up your skills or shift into a completely new role, you should realize which roles your comforts align best with. After that, consider the path that will help out you get there.

Also Read: Uplift Your Career with Best Cybersecurity Certifications In 2023

Just Start Your Career with some Useful Tips

In order to kick start your career in cybersecurity and land your dream job, there are some common steps you can take to ensure the route to success.

  1. Invest in Your Education- ‘Earn a Degree’

Whatever path you select, education is important. Pursuing a degree in cybersecurity is the first and foremost step toward starting a career in this in-demand and lucrative field. Earning a degree in the field of Information security, you will get plentiful options to build a career. After earning an undergraduate degree and adding up some experience in the field, a master’s degree in cybersecurity leadership and operations or IT is the next step toward growing your career opportunities

However, if you are pursuing the engineering route in cybersecurity, you must start with an undergraduate degree in engineering and afterward get specific experience in cybersecurity either through a master’s degree in cybersecurity engineering or through direct experience, or both.

One of the prime reasons for building your career in cybersecurity is that Industry analyst Cybersecurity Ventures estimated that cyber threat or crime will cost USD6 trillion yearly by 2021 globally. In such a distressed landscape, where plentiful jobs remain vacant due to the pool of unqualified applicants, those with a cybersecurity degree have a massive advantage. Even salaries are high due to the urgent demand and the lack of supply.

  1. Pursue Certifications That Interest You

A recent study by McAfee projects that organizations rate certifications and experience over qualifications like degrees. Even, numerous organizations are willing to cover the employee’s costs to obtain a certification. The most prestigious of all certifications is the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and (ISC2) International Information Systems Security Certifications Consortium. This certificate is comprehensive, counting several areas of cybersecurity.

Other entry-level certifications cover Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU) and Certified Encryption Specialist (ECES) 

As per a survey by Business News Daily, some of the best cybersecurity certifications a professional to pursue comprise:

Once you have gained some experience and certifications in cybersecurity field under your belt, you can progress your profession by grabbing advanced certifications offered by bodies such as:

  • International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
  • CompTIA
  • EC-Council
  • International Information Systems Security Certifications Consortium (ISC2)

Also Read: Top 5 most in-demand Cybersecurity Certifications in 2023

Other ISACA certification program elements

The CISM credential was mainly introduced by the ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) in 2003. In addition to the CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), ISACA offers a plethora of certifications to security professionals in cyber security. Other credentials or certifications worth considering include:

  • Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

The bottom line is, always look for the ways you so that you can augment your skills with continuing studies, whether in the form of certifications or extra experience credits.

  1. Build Network with Cybersecurity Professionals

Experience, degrees, and certifications are all useful things to start with but networking is crucial too. Meeting similar minded people and making connections is a great way to get your foot in this field. Conferences are great places to build knowledge and networks. There are several organizations, both informal and formal, that bring information security professionals together. Here are some to check out:

  • LinkedIn- It has various security-focused groups, try to hit upon one that suits your interest area
  • Insecurity- This is an organization that brings information security pros together
  • Infosec Europe-  One of the biggest information security event featuring Europe’s  most comprehensive conference program
  • RSA Conference- Conducts information security events globally connecting you to industry leaders & significant information.
  • Volunteer with a cybersecurity organization.
  • RANT — A leading networking organization for those in information security.
  • BlackHat USA- World’s premier information security event.
  • Identiverse-  Leading annual conference for the identity security industry.

Besides, there are various cybersecurity experts you can follow online and learn from. Some thought leaders you follow on Twitter, for example, @briankrebs , @schneierblog@lennyzeltser@robertMLee@hacks4pancakes.

  1. Self-Development Deepens Your Knowledge

Use readily-obtainable resources related to cybersecirity to boost your knowledge quickly. To defend something from cyber attack or threat, you should have a good grasp of how it works. To prevent network attacks or intrusions you must gain extra knowledge about network architecture, system architecture, and programming basics. Therefore before you push yourself too deeply into security stuff, make sure you know the technology.

Beyond the huge number of websites with free cybersecurity resources, there are specialist cyber security books, big annual events and conferences like DEF CON, Black Hat, and RSA, and a host of local, smaller events that are a great networking opportunity. Social media such as Stackexchange Reddit, or the major groups on Facebook, Twitter that has endless guides and tips, you can keep track of job opportunities and hot topics.

Final Verdict

The cybersecurity industry is constantly growing because the cyberthreats we face are always changing.  Information Security engineers are becoming increasingly expensive to hire and tough to find. By 2021, there could be around 3.5 million vacant positions in the cybersecurity sectors. So, if you are curious about getting started in cybersecurity, don’t let your background or education determine your career path. With proper certification and skills, you can easily be a part of the cybersecurity arena and hack your way towards a growing future.

“The five most efficient cyber defenders are: Anticipation, Education, Detection, Reaction, and Resilience. Do remember: “Cybersecurity is much more than an IT topic.” Stephane Nappo

If you’re looking for the easiest ways to level-up your skill-set, check out our career guide, and see where you can go.

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