With ever-increasing global cyber threats and government regulations, the demand for cybersecurity professionals has never been higher. With this career path, you have the opportunity to work with some of the most advanced and exciting technologies while keeping our digital world safe.
Cybersecurity professionals often make six-figure salaries and work in fulfilling roles that are necessary for everyone’s safety and security in this digital age. If you’re looking to start a career in cybersecurity, you may have questions about whether this career path is right for you.
You may also wonder whether the skills and education you need are easily attainable. The good news is that choosing to work in cybersecurity can be an excellent career move, no matter your background or experience level.
This article will discuss why you should consider cybersecurity as your career path and provide tips for joining the industry. Read on to learn more.
What is a cybersecurity specialist?
A cybersecurity specialist protects computer systems and their data. Cybersecurity professionals could work for the government, a company, or independent consultants. They often work to identify potential threats before they happen and to prevent them from being successful.
What does a cybersecurity specialist do?
Cybersecurity specialists ensure that information technology is safe and secure by identifying vulnerabilities that criminals and hackers may exploit.
These specialists must keep up with current trends in information security to stay ahead of the latest technologies. Some might specialize in finding new ways of preventing cyberattacks.
They do so by trying various methods, such as testing software before releasing it to the public. Others might specialize in designing measures such as firewalls that protect against these attacks.
Generally, cybersecurity experts are involved in the following roles:
- Analyzing and evaluating potential threats to enterprise security.
- Assessing and monitoring the company’s network to prevent any compromise of critical data.
- Putting in place policies and practices, such as firewalls, passwords and encryption, to prevent security breaches.
- Writing various technical reports related to the company’s network security.
- Spreading awareness of the value of cybersecurity among other departments.
- Maintaining media awareness of the most recent developments in international security.
How to become a cybersecurity specialist
If you’re looking to become a cybersecurity specialist, many options are available, especially as the field continues to grow and evolve. Today, just about anyone can get started with basic knowledge and training. It would also help to have the best laptop for data science and cybersecurity to use as well.
However, to be successful and well-paid in your new career, you must first know the proper steps. This guide will walk you through how to become a cybersecurity specialist, including choosing the right education route and building your skillset. St Bonaventure’s Online Cybersecurity Master’s Program is a great place to start.
Earn a degree or certificate
As with any profession, education is the key to success in the field of cybersecurity. Earning a degree or certificate will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in this industry.
You can take classes at a community college or technical school. Additionally, you can earn an associate’s or even a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. The most popular degrees are computer science, information systems, and information technology.
Most courses will be offered online, with the option to attend traditional on-campus classes. These courses teach skills such as how to create secure networks, how to combat cyberattacks, how cybercriminals operate, how hackers steal data, and much more.
A certificate may offer a shorter course of study that teaches less than two years of material. While it won’t provide as extensive knowledge as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, it can give you a taste of what to expect in higher education.
Consider industry certifications and clearances
After getting an education, the next step would be getting industry certifications and clearances. The most common cybersecurity certifications in this field are:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Once you obtain these certifications, you can apply for network security analyst or system administrator positions. Although certification is not mandatory to work in this role, it does increase your marketability and job prospects.
Clearances vary depending on what type of employer you are seeking to work with. Depending on the organization that hires you, they may require authorization before allowing you into their company.
Clearance types include Top Secret, Secret, and Unclassified (Non-Sensitive). Each clearance requires different levels of information and documentation to process. As a result, they each take different lengths of time to obtain.
Network with other professionals
Networking is vital in the world of information technology. From conferences to online forums, it’s crucial for IT professionals and security specialists alike to establish connections with others in the industry.
Networking with other professionals is one of the best ways for you to grow your skillset and knowledge. You’ll learn something new every time, and you’ll be able to share your experiences with others in the industry.
By expanding your network, you will not only increase your chances of landing a job but also have more opportunities to collaborate and find mentors. If possible, try to work on an internship with professionals in the field. This will allow you to find out more about the daily tasks and responsibilities of being a cybersecurity specialist while learning from experienced employees.
There are many ways that you can gain experience in the field of cybersecurity. The best way to get experience in the area is by volunteering. You’ll get the opportunity to make valuable connections and learn from experts.
You can also work as an intern at an organization. This will offer you hands-on experience working with some of the latest techniques and tools in the field. From there, you can decide if it’s something you want to pursue.
Another way is to participate in hacking contests. These contests simulate different types of cyber-attacks, so it’s a good way for beginners to get their feet wet without risking getting hacked. They are not very complicated contests but help you build up your skills.
Reasons to consider a career in cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has become more than just an area of interest in the past few years. It’s now one of the fastest-growing fields in technology and business overall.
Cybercrime is everywhere, and it’s getting worse every year. A career in cybersecurity provides the opportunity to help organizations keep their data safe while making a living doing something that you’re passionate about.
If you want to be part of this fast-paced and lucrative industry, here are several reasons why a career in cybersecurity might be right for you.
There are so many job opportunities
Many factors go into choosing the right career for you, one of which is your level of interest. In today’s world, cybersecurity jobs are plentiful, and they will continue to be as we become more reliant on computers and the internet.
Do you enjoy finding solutions to problems? Do you like to challenge yourself by solving complex problems? These are just two reasons why people who choose careers in cybersecurity love their work.
If you want your job to involve using and protecting technology, then this might be your perfect career choice. With a cybersecurity degree or certificate, you can work for large companies or small startups.
What sets cybersecurity professionals apart from other IT professionals is that they know hacking techniques, intrusion methods, and data protection practices. Some positions where you may find people with these qualifications include:
- Chief information security officer (CISO)
- Security Engineer
- Cyber lawyer
- Cyber security analyst
- Network architectural specialist
- Systems Engineer
A degree in information security can also lead to management positions at these companies. When it comes down to it, the opportunities are endless when considering a career in cybersecurity.
The field is exciting and innovative
Cybersecurity is a field that is exciting and innovative. One day, you might be responding to an emergency attack on the electric grid, and the next day, you’re developing new strategies to help protect data from ransomware.
With both digital and physical threats, cybersecurity professionals are always up against something new. As a result, there’s no such thing as a typical day.
A typical day for a cybersecurity professional can involve managing compliance, managing risk, conducting research and development, or creating policy and legal frameworks. In other words, your responsibilities will constantly change and evolve depending on what stage of your career you’re at.
It also means that this industry offers many different job opportunities. Therefore, you can find the perfect niche for your skillset. For example, those interested in computer science could work on cyber defense systems. Those with math backgrounds may be interested in cryptography, and those who love art may want to focus their efforts on network security visualization. There isn’t just one way to make it in cybersecurity.
Security professionals have opportunities for personal development
Cybersecurity threats are becoming more complex and sophisticated as the world becomes more connected. This means that the need for cybersecurity professionals is higher than ever before.
With new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) in the market, security professionals have even more opportunities for personal development and career growth.
For example, AI can monitor and analyze data from social media platforms and email servers so that companies can better protect themselves against data breaches.
There’s also an increase in AI-based tools explicitly designed for cybersecurity tasks such as anomaly detection and malware analysis. This outcome means that security professionals who know how to code or program may soon find various job options.
Cybersecurity offers the ability to solve puzzles
Cybersecurity jobs are exciting because they offer the opportunity to solve puzzles. The field constantly evolves, with new challenges and puzzles to solve daily.
Every situation is different, making it challenging but not tedious. These puzzle-solving opportunities provide the perfect environment for intellectual stimulation.
People who enjoy brainteasers will be right at home in this industry. We live in an age when technology is infiltrating our lives and influencing our decisions.
As the world becomes more technologically driven, more cyberattacks will happen, and as technology becomes more sophisticated, so will hackers.
Organizations need people who can anticipate these attacks and work towards defending against them by finding flaws before the damage occurs.
You may not need to work at an office every day. Many cybersecurity professionals enjoy the freedom of working remotely from home or using public Wi-Fi access points when they’re on the go.
This flexibility allows you to balance your life and work, giving you more time for yourself and your loved ones. You can also plan your workload around personal commitments such as going on vacation, taking care of children, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If you like to be alone with your thoughts and you can get up early without being bothered by distractions, then this might be the perfect job for you. You’ll also save money on gas and have no commute time, giving you more time at home or on the job.
For those looking for a lifestyle change, it’s possible to transition from full-time work to part-time and telecommute as needed.
You can choose between the public and private sectors
In this industry, you can make an impact by working in the public or private sectors because both fields provide essential services. Cybersecurity professionals work for companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft in the private sector.
Companies are always trying to stay ahead of hackers and protect sensitive information, which means that they are always hiring. In the public sector, there is a huge need for specialists who can keep classified information safe from hackers.
The government is also looking for experts with knowledge in cyber warfare, which could be instrumental during times of war. Public sector jobs can be great for those who want to do something that feels like they are giving back to the community by protecting people’s information and assets.
On the other side of the coin, private sector jobs allow professionals to work with cutting-edge technology and develop new tools that will help protect their clients. As a cybersecurity specialist, you will have many opportunities to explore and create your career path based on your interests.
Future job growth is guaranteed
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields and has been identified as a high-priority area of need globally. For instance, the global cyber threat landscape is continuously evolving.
As a result, organizations will need cybersecurity professionals to protect systems and identify new vulnerabilities as they emerge. Regardless of the future, as long as organizations rely on digital technologies to conduct their day-to-day operations, cybersecurity careers will continue to be in demand.
As they grow more sophisticated and cybercriminals become brazen, we can only expect that demand for cybersecurity professionals will continue to increase. With this said, cybersecurity professionals are always needed and want to keep up with these new challenges.
You can explore self-employment
Self-employment is rising, and starting your own business is now easier than ever. If you have the skills necessary to fill an existing need, then self-employment could be for you.
You may not have thought about being self-employed, but it could be the perfect fit. Going it alone is intimidating for many people who don’t think they have what it takes to succeed.
But what if you felt confident? What if you were excited about the prospect of being your boss? Imagine waking up daily with complete freedom over how you spend your time.
When you’re in charge of your destiny, there are no limits to how much more successful you can be than someone else who works at a company. A career in cybersecurity offers all these benefits and more.
With the increasing number of cyberattacks and data breaches, now is the perfect time to explore a career in cybersecurity. As a cybersecurity specialist, you can help protect some of today’s most vital systems that are essential for our safety, security, and economic well-being.
A career in cybersecurity can offer an exciting opportunity for many people, including those with a tech background. You can take many different avenues to start your career in this field, including taking courses at local colleges or gaining experience through internships.
Whether you’re interested in becoming an engineer, programmer, software developer, analyst, systems engineer, or other related fields, plenty of opportunities are available in the cybersecurity industry.