how to get into cybersecurity

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By Sagheer Abbas

Discover the requirements for entering the highly sought-after cybersecurity industry with this comprehensive guide that includes career paths, skills, certifications, and more.

Security lapses are happening more often, and hackers are becoming more skilled. An organization’s data must be safeguarded against dangers and hazards. According to the Cybers ecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), 47% of American people say that online thieves have compromised their personal information. It is evident why there is a significant need for cybersecurity when you consider that a data breach in the US may cost an average of $9.44 million.

Now that you’ve decided to pursue this career, let’s examine the qualifications and abilities you’ll need to be successful.

What is cybersecurity?

The practice of preventing unwanted access to or harm to an organization’s computer systems, networks, and data is known as cybersecurity. Sensitive data, including passwords, bank account information, medical records, and other private information, can be accessed, altered, or destroyed by cyberattacks and other threats.

Careers in cybersecurity

Businesses use IT and cybersecurity specialists to guard against such assaults and minimize threats to both internal and external systems. Depending on your skill set, you should think about one of the following five popular career pathways in cyber security: engineering and architecture, incident response, management and administration, consulting, testing, and hacking.

Additionally, you may look at these entry-level and in-demand cybersecurity jobs as well as this career guide, which directs you to in-depth articles on certain entry-level-, mid-, and senior-level positions. Here is a list of a few.

Job outlook and salaries

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2022 and 2032, there will be a 32% growth in the number of cybersecurity positions. That is substantially quicker than the 3 percent average for all jobs.

Cybersecurity positions typically pay well, and all levels of qualification are in demand. Consider the following examples of employment and typical incomes.

All salaries sourced from Glassdoor in October 2023.

Entry-level cyber security jobs

  • Cybersecurity analyst: $81,321
  • System administrator: $78,387

Mid-level cybersecurity jobs

  • Penetration tester: $94,063
  • Cybersecurity consultant: $97,296

Senior-level cybersecurity jobs

  • Cryptanalyst: $87,185
  • Security engineer: $106,383

Many pathways to getting into cyber Security

The route to a career in cybersecurity is not predetermined. You can follow several routes to reach your professional objectives, whether you are a recent graduate, changing careers, or currently employed in IT and wanting to progress. Furthermore, if you feel like you’re “behind,” don’t stress. You can get started right now, wherever you are.

How to get into cybersecurity

There are several methods to enter the highly sought-after cybersecurity industry. To efficiently traverse the landscape, follow this step-by-step instructions.

1. Do some research on the cybersecurity landscape.

We previously provided a list of cybersecurity employment opportunities, starting with entry-level occupations. You can shift laterally if you possess technical IT expertise and transferable talents. Investigate these employment options. Which abilities do you currently possess that fit particular career roles? Given that you already hold an engineering degree, perhaps your dream job would be in cybersecurity engineering. Look for people in positions you’re interested in on LinkedIn. What credentials do they possess? Do they possess particular certificates or a master’s degree?

2. Develop your skills.

Once you’ve determined the kinds of cybersecurity positions that interest you, you can begin honing the necessary abilities. In general, it’s important that you comprehend the following:

  • Network and systems administration: Entry-level positions require a solid understanding of dealing with networks and systems.
  • Working knowledge of operating systems: Computer forensics, penetration testing, and cybersecurity research and analysis all require familiarity with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
  • Knowledge of cloud security platforms: Be familiar with Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure.
  • Proficiency with programming languages such as Python, C and C++, JavaScript, and SQL is required.
  • The processes of risk analysis and security auditing are essential for developing mitigation strategies for possible threats.

Since cybersecurity experts usually collaborate with teams to identify, address, and avoid problems, you should also hone soft skills like leadership, critical thinking, communication, and flexibility.

3. Consider a certification.

Cybersecurity certifications demonstrate to hiring managers that you possess a concrete qualification and a particular degree of proficiency. One well-known entry-level certification that verifies you have the fundamental abilities required for a cybersecurity position is the CompTIA Security+. The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) accreditation is an additional qualification that certifies your proficiency in identifying security flaws and compiling compliance reports.

How to get into cybersecurity without a degree

Is a bachelor’s or associate’s degree required for entry-level cybersecurity employment? is a frequently asked question. The short response is no. Getting certified and completing a certificate program has helped many people get employment. You may begin by enrolling in a program such as Google IT Support, work your way up to an IT technician position (or something similar), add to your education and professional certifications, and then apply for senior cybersecurity opportunities. Having said that, a degree can help you advance more rapidly; nonetheless, you should consider if the time and money spent obtaining the degree are worthwhile.

4. Get familiar with cybersecurity tools and software.

You will probably become acquainted with certain cybersecurity gear, software, and tools as you work toward developing some of the necessary abilities. It’s a good idea to become familiar with how to utilize at least one cloud program like Azure, which should transfer to knowing the foundations of how AWS and Google Cloud function. Free trials are available for certain apps so you may try them out for yourself. It’s best to be ready for everything because businesses will probably desire experience with the tools and applications you employ.

5. Gain some work experience.

Working on cybersecurity initiatives in the real world is one of the finest methods to get experience and demonstrate your skills to potential employers. You should apply for internships and entry-level jobs that work in these particular fields, or at least one where you can collaborate with individuals in those roles, if auditing, consulting, or incident response are your areas of interest.

How to get into cybersecurity with no experience

An IT job can provide you with a strong basis for a career in cybersecurity. Be patient if you’re currently working in IT or a junior cybersecurity position and aren’t able to secure your ideal position at this time. To gain the necessary experience in the interim, you may take up volunteer or freelance work.

6. Grow your network.

By putting a face to a name or making an introduction through a shared link, networking may help you stand out from the competition. It’s possible that you already know someone in the cybersecurity field who may recommend you for a position at their firm or provide you insightful advise. Seek informative interviews from cybersecurity experts on LinkedIn, or message hiring managers to express your continued interest in a position after submitting an application.

Increasing the size of your network may also entail connecting with local cybersecurity experts by joining a Meetup or Facebook professional group.

7. Update your resume and apply for jobs.

Lastly, make sure your résumé is updated with all of your newfound experience, talents, and certifications. It’s a good idea to customize your cover letter and CV for every job you apply for in order to show that you meet the precise requirements listed in the job description.

Apply for jobs now. Before you locate the ideal job, you might need to apply to a number of them and go through the interview process; this is common. Maintain focus on your objective; with enough effort, you’ll ultimately obtain the cybersecurity position of your dreams.

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