Cyber security is firmly based on Information Technology (IT) with experts in high demand as private and public sectors scramble to secure their systems and data in the consciousness of widespread cyber-attacks.
Cyber security is a great fit for people who are detail-oriented, passionate about technology, and highly analytical. So, if you possess the above qualities, then the following will guide you on how to start your career in cyber security.
- Earn a degree in information security, computer science, information technology, or any related course
Earning a degree in any of these areas is often the first step to want to start a career in this lucrative and in-demand field. Having a degree and experience in information security, the options are diverse and plentiful. Most employers prefer to hire highly educated professionals for cyber security roles, so in most cases, a college degree is a must. Most cyber security leaders started their careers with an undergraduate degree in information technology or computer science. However, one may not necessarily need to have these specific degrees to be successful in cyber security.
After obtaining an undergraduate degree and gaining experience in the field, you can then obtain a master’s degree in cyber security or information security, which is the next step in expanding your career opportunities and increasing your appeal to employers hiring for high-level positions.
The number of unfilled cyber security positions is staggering and projected to grow as cybercriminals become more sophisticated in their attacks, and companies struggle to find security experts with the skills and knowledge needed to mitigate such attacks. So in such a desperate environment, where so many positions remain unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates, those with cyber security degrees have greater advantages and earn high salaries, as there is a high demand for their skills.
- Get certified/earn a cyber security certificate
Industry certifications have become an essential component of the cyber security ecosystem. They help current and aspiring cyber security professionals gain knowledge and sought-after skills in key areas. They enhance your profile when reaching out to prospective employers and are often listed as requirements for most cyber security jobs.
Therefore, earning industry certifications such as CompTIA Security+, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CISA (Certified Information System Auditor), ISO/IEC 27032 Lead Cyber Security Manager, IGCEH (Inveteck Global Certified Ethical Hacker) and many more show prospective employers that you are highly qualified within the cyber security field.
- Networking and Internship
Networking is important in almost every industry, and cyber security is of no exception. While some networking can be done online, it’s also crucial or important to network in person. There are multiple avenues available for networking opportunities such as joining cyber security organizations like Inveteck Global, Open Web Application Security (OWAPS), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), EC-Council, etc. These can be excellent avenues not only for learning but also for networking with professionals in the industry.
Volunteering with cyber security organizations can also help. There are many organizations that seek to spread the word about cyber security and its awareness and to attract people into the field. Getting involved with one of these organizations can help in networking and enhance your resume.
Also, do internships (paid or unpaid). As in many fields, internships are a great way to build some experience in cyber security. It is not always the technology companies that offer cyber security internship opportunities. Search for “cyber security internship” on the internet and you will be surprised at the many listings on LinkedIn, Google, and other social media platforms.
- Gain soft skills
Soft skills also play an essential role in cyber security, and not just that, they are important in any profession. For instance, you should be able to communicate technical issues in a non-technical language to other colleagues, employers, and other stakeholders to understand.
- Know more than security
Many cyber security experts know tons about the specific ins and outs of security. They also know more general things about technology. The key to understanding cyber security is to know a lot about data systems and data networks. If you do not understand networking, how will you know if a system is vulnerable or not? You should start out by mastering a few different operating systems, learn how they function at the root level, and you will quickly understand how and why they fail.
To conclude, there has truly never been a better time to start a career in cyber security. Almost every company in the world today requires experts who know how to protect and build systems to mitigate ongoing cyber threats and if you have the skill, experience, and education to prove, then there are immediate cyber security job opportunities all around, across all sectors and industries.
The author is a Cyber Security Researcher, Inveteck Global | Member, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana)
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