The internet brings the world closer to you, and that is why the world is now referred to as a global village. There is hardly anything you can’t do today, and information is now more readily available than ever. Organizations can now reach out to their customers and clients without having to be in every city. Our daily lives have become dependent on the internet, and while that is a great thing, it has also made us vulnerable.
As you are reading this article, there are hundreds of cyberattacks being launched this minute. Several organizations are going to get hit by these attacks and get compromised with private company data and customer information out there at the disposal of attackers.
Keeping data and personal information safe is more important than ever. You may have read about the Ashley Madison user information leaks and a dozen other major cyberattacks that have occurred in the past few years. Everything from your password and login details, to your bank account details can be accessed by attackers, and this is where cybersecurity comes in.
In response to organizations need to protect their company data from cyberattacks, there is now a high demand for people who are skilled in cyber security. Cybersecurity experts predict that there will be job openings in cybersecurity exceeding 3.5 million by 2021.
So, are you considering a career in cybersecurity, or you are exploring the idea of a career change? We will walk you through everything that you need to know to make that transition to cybersecurity, how to get started, and what career options are available to you.
It is a safe guess that if you are reading this article, you probably already have an idea of what cybersecurity is, but if you don’t, we have got you covered. Cybersecurity is quite self-explanatory.
As president of Woz U, Chris Coleman summarizes it; cybersecurity can be described as “the practice of protecting electronic data, networks, computer systems, and other confidential information.” This information needs to be protected from cyberattackers who steal them to extort users, destroy business processes, and other harmful purposes.
Cybersecurity is a career that gives people who want to make the world a safer and better place a great opportunity to do so while earning a good living and developing other skills at the same time. If you are considering a career in cybersecurity, then you should go for it. The best part is that you are not restricted by age or gender, certification or approval to get started. All you need is a desire to learn the skill set needed to succeed.
Why is cybersecurity important?
Everyone from the government to large companies and businesses, to employees, and even individuals need varying levels of cybersecurity. According to Josh Feinblum, CSO at DigitalOcean, “We live in a world of unprecedented connectedness,” he added “Every year we see more everyday devices connected to the Internet.
At the same time, nearly every part of our lives is tracked electronically. This includes all of our health records, financial information, power consumption, what we wear, when we get home, where we travel and when, etc. With the right data, machines can build profiles that understand us better than we understand ourselves.”
Do I need a college degree?
If you are familiar with the tech world you will already know that college degrees aren’t a determining factor of how skillful you are. “Our industry was pioneered by people without college degrees,” says Josh Feinblum. “Work hard to get involved in the community, contribute to open source projects, try to speak at conferences about cool research — these are all things the original pioneers did and can provide opportunities for smart, hard-working individuals to enter the industry.”
Do I need a lot of technical experience?
Like most tech fields, you do not need prior cybersecurity experience to get started. However, there are likely many people looking to transition to cybersecurity from similar fields with similar skillsets, i.e. Information analysis and systems administration.
It helps if you have what recruiters refer to as transferable skills. “Doing security well, at scale, requires a mix of law, psychology, sociology, technology, and organizational sciences,” adds Josh Feinblum. “Cybersecurity offers a wide variety of opportunities for technical and non-technical people.”
“Most people tend to focus on technical operators and incidence response engineers as the base career paths, but cybersecurity also needs program managers, software developers, professional communicators, data scientists, systems analysts, and more,” adds Andy Ellis, CSO at Akamai. “And that doesn’t cover all of the go-to-market careers in a security company, like product management, marketing, public relations, and sales.”
Cybersecurity offers many entry-level positions, so you are likely going to do most of your learning on the job. What prior experience does for you is that it gives you an advantage in the competition. Taking an internship can give you some experience, but where you are unable to get any, do not be deterred, keep learning.
Where can I learn about Cybersecurity?
There are several training and materials online that you can get started with. You do not necessarily need to enroll in a formal educational setting to learn the skills to become a cybersecurity expert.
You need to learn as much as possible about the industry, so that you can have a clear idea of the journey ahead and what you need to make headway in cybersecurity. Several online resources will provide you with all the necessary information, as well as a walkthrough of the cybersecurity industry and the various career options that exist within the field.
There are several articles like this one, which will provide you with information and motivation to get started. Cybersecurity sounds like a field that requires a lot of technical skills, but you will find that numerous career pathways in cybersecurity do not depend solely on technical skills.
You can start by following cybersecurity experts on your social networks. Here, you can be on the lookout for tips and tricks, as well as resources that are helpful. Also, join tech and cybersecurity communities so that you can have access to industry information and know what is new in the world of cybersecurity.
A simple Google search can help look for free online training courses if you are on a budget.
Build Your Network
As with most fields, your skills may not always be enough, you need to grow your network to increases your chances of landing a job in cybersecurity.
There are hundreds of cybersecurity themed conferences and seminars taking place all over the world. You can be sure that you will find one to attend in your city.
These tech events provide a great opportunity to meet people in the cybersecurity field. It’s always a great thing to build contacts, as they may help with information about job openings.
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