Looking to begin a new career is always a bit nerve-wracking. Setting out on a new adventure and starting at the bottom, particularly if you’re already in a comfortable place, can be downright terrifying, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. The pressure amid a career change can be especially daunting because you know it’s important to pursue your passions in life but also ensure that you can provide for yourself and those you love. The following will walk you through the steps involved in starting one new career path specifically: cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity is one of the biggest growing concerns in the modern era. Data has officially surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable commodity, and there are countless brilliant people around the world who know exactly how to find and steal it. Last year alone, nearly seven billion dollars was lost to a variety of cyber threats, and rates are only expected to grow. To make matters scarier, it’s no longer only multi-million dollar companies and healthcare providers that are being targeted; businesses of all shapes and sizes are being hit and losing big money to deal with the repercussions.
To make the field more alluring, there are lots of federal grants being developed to help support companies’ efforts to improve cybersecurity. This is a professional industry that is expected to hire lots of people in the near future.
Study Current Job Postings
Because cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving art, the needs of the industry are constantly changing. To get a good idea of what is currently standard, take the time to read through cybersecurity job postings and see what experience, education, and skillsets are in demand.
In the world of cybersecurity, there are a ton of specialties, but a few core competencies can help keep your options open. Typically, knowledge of networks, systems administration, cloud computing, and programming will aid someone in a cyber security role.
There are a ton of cybersecurity companies in the world and companies with cybersecurity departments, so, of course, starting positions vary widely. This being said, some common entry-level positions in cybersecurity include help desk technician, software developer, network administrator, and junior information security analyst. Career paths can focus on things like engineering and architecture, incident response, management, and administration consulting, and testing and hacking.
Given how much information is valuable to people working in cybersecurity and how many different fields of knowledge coalesce within the industry, many people seek out degrees or professional certificates. Getting a master’s degree online cyber security can help set you apart from other applicants. Many educational programs also have relationships with companies that regularly hire people in the cybersecurity field, sometimes making it easier to develop a network and find a job post-grad.
When making education-based decisions, many people consider the salary they’re likely to end up with to help them determine whether the school is worth the cost of tuition. In the world of cybersecurity, there is a lot of variety when it comes to salary. People starting off as incident response analysts, for instance, are looking at somewhere around $50,000 per year. Someone in the later stages of their cybersecurity career, let’s say a chief information security officer, is looking at $163,000 per year.
Of course, no career exists in a vacuum. The following soft skills are absolutely necessary if you want to thrive in cybersecurity:
Digital literacy skills
A willingness to always be learning
Attention to detail
Technical writing and documentation
Leadership and Collaboration
Depending on your particular role, communication skills and marketing skills might also be valuable. Being able to run your own cybersecurity business requires that you find and secure clients.
Commitment To Lifelong Learning
To reiterate a point mentioned above, a willingness to always be learning is vital if you want to do well in cybersecurity. Hackers are always finding new ways into systems, and this means cybersecurity professionals need to always be finding ways to stop them. If you don’t want the sort of career where you have to be reading the latest news and developments, studying new models, and developing new theories, cybersecurity isn’t right for you. You need to accept that what you know about it will become obsolete much more quickly than knowledge in other fields.
The above information should have broken down the basic information you need to get into cybersecurity as well as outlined the key things you need to get in order to make a career in the industry. Many companies have internships available that can help get you started as well.