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A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Career in Cybersecurity
For the past year or so, the word “cybersecurity” has been mentioned in the public domain more than it ever has in the past.
This makes sense, because as the world continues to increase its reliance on technology, cyber crimes are on the rise — big time. Unfortunately, this trend impacts just about everyone. From businesses, to corporations, and even individuals.
So what does this mean for the cybersecurity job outlook?
Well, for the next 8 years, things look very promising. Cybersecurity jobs are projected to experience a (massive) 31% increase in growth — significantly faster than other occupational fields. Furthermore, there are currently millions of unfilled cybersecurity positions in the US. Recruiters have their hands full attempting to fill the gap.
Simply put, if you are considering starting a career in cybersecurity now is the perfect time to make the jump. In this article, we’ll ask and answer some basic questions to help you decide whether this field is right for you.
Where do I get started?
One of the best selling points about cybersecurity work is that it boasts a variety of starting points. Before we discuss the options, it’s important to identify your strengths. Do you already work in the technical field? Are you a people person? Do you have experience in application development? Any interest in policies and procedures? Start by making a detailed list of your skills and preferences. This will help you pinpoint what cybersecurity direction might be right for you.
What are possible career paths in cybersecurity work?
As the workforce relies on technology more and more, new career paths continue to develop. At the moment, cybersecurity already offers an impressive list of career paths.
Some of these include:
- security generalist
- network security engineer
- cloud security engineer
- application security engineer
- penetration tester
- malware analyst
- incident response analyst
- security trainer
- security auditor
To help you narrow down your options, focus on paths that match the skills you already possess, while attempting to align with your interests and preferences as much as possible.
What kind of educational background do I need?
A college degree is sometimes preferred, but it is often not a requirement. Many people who work in cybersecurity roles do not have a degree, but instead, years of experience in the field. To get your foot in the door, consider researching cybersecurity training and certification opportunities in your areas of interest.
How do I transition into a cyber security field with a non-technical background?
One of the best places to start is by earning a CompTIA Security certification. This course provides a great foundation for newcomers to the field. Having some industry experience in a related field (perhaps IT or programming) can also give you a great head start. When you are first starting out, an internship might be required, as well as some certification courses (such as Cisco Certified Networking Associate, CompTIA Linux, etc.).
As always, don’t forget to show your personality! Make sure your interviewer understands your passion for cybersecurity and your willingness to learn. These are valuable traits and will help make their decision easier.
What are some cybersecurity key training and programs?
Like all careers, it’s helpful to have a foundation of fundamentals. To get acquainted with the basics of cybersecurity, you can obtain a degree from a college, university, or trade school or seek out online training to obtain certifications.
Some of most common certifications needed start specific jobs include: CompTIA (A+, Network+, Security +, Linux+, CySa+), Ec Council Certifications (CEH, CHFI, ECSA, LPT), Cisco Certifications (CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Security), and ISC2 Certifications (CISSP, SSCP, CCSP, CAP).
Conclusion: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Career in Cybersecurity
The opportunities are virtually endless! If you are interested in starting a career in cybersecurity, start by looking for certification and internship opportunities now. Earning your first entry level job will take effort, but job opportunities are out there. One of the most promising things about cybersecurity is the guarantee that the field will see continual growth in the years ahead.
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