With the evolving trends in the IT industry and the ever-increasing role of data, the need to protect cyberspace has increased over the years.
The majority of businesses operate entirely in the digital space, making them highly vulnerable to security threats and breaches. Clients’ personal information, financial data, private servers, and networks are all at risk of theft, loss, and hacking. With the growth of these businesses, the cybersecurity sector grows rapidly, and so does the need for cybersecurity professionals.
If you have always been fascinated by a career that keeps your mind active and on your toes, now is the right time to enter cyber security. However, it is also crucial to enter the cybersecurity field with the right approach. To become a seasoned industry professional, you must understand the dynamics of the field.
But how can you enter the industry right away? Here are the six tips to get you off to a good start.
- Make sure your credentials are strong
We already know that cybersecurity is one of the most in-demand careers today due to the constant rise of e-commerce and digital platforms over the internet. The most common way to enter this field is to obtain relevant education. Most job postings demand a graduate degree in computer science, cybersecurity, or other relevant fields. Obtaining a degree in a specialized field is necessary for careers in those sectors.
Furthermore, the facility to continue your education online gives you a competitive edge. For instance, to start as a cybersecurity professional in homeland security, you can consider a homeland security degree online to kickstart your career in the government sector. It will allow you to serve the country and protect the nationals from natural disasters, foreign threats, and critical security breaches.
If you successfully launch your cybersecurity career, you have high earning potential. Considered a highly lucrative field, cybersecurity entry-level professionals can earn comparatively high salaries compared to other industries, making it more promising. In the United States, entry-level cybersecurity professionals like cybersecurity specialists can earn $102,769 per year, a relatively higher amount than other industry entrants. However, salaries may vary across different departments, locations, and positions.
- Get to Know the Industry
Before jumping into the versatile and diverse cyber industry, understand its various types. It would help you to move forward on the right career path that aligns with your interests.
Network Security: This type of cybersecurity primarily focuses on security breaches and vulnerabilities among network connections. Using firewalls and physical hardware, network engineers and cybersecurity professionals prevent intrusions and data loss on interconnected devices.
Information Security: Information security is a vast term that protects data in digital and physical formats across all channels. Cybersecurity comes under the umbrella of information security and exclusively deals with digital data. Professionals in this aspect of cybersecurity handle physical data storage access and multi-factor authentication.
Infrastructure Security: As the name indicates, infrastructure security deals with developing secure infrastructure and architecture. With a particular focus on security devices and systems, infrastructure security protects against breaches. Moreover, professionals in this specialty develop and implement protected structures for encrypted data and backups.
You can make a well-informed decision after understanding how cybersecurity covers and protects different aspects of the data and systems.
- Gain Professional Experience
Nothing can beat the value of the practical experience you can gain while continuing your education. Many aspiring professionals may find it hard to grab a work opportunity at the start. However, with constant effort and determination, you can try your luck for individual cyber security, freelance, or open-source projects.
Make sure to furnish your practical skills and USPs in the resume to secure a chance. Some technical skills, including knowledge of programming languages, and operating systems, especially Linux, risk assessment, and intrusion detection, can prove useful in securing employment.
Another way to gain professional experience without having a job is to go for internships. Whether paid or unpaid, internships can hone your skills and make you well-versed in the practical implications of the knowledge you gained over the years in school. Interestingly, 70% of interns in the US get hired by the same company after completing their internship, which means you have a fair chance to secure a job.
No matter how you get started, ensure to document your experience and progress throughout the professional journey. While looking for a job, a comprehensive portfolio detailing your projects and skills can help you land a job easily.
- Earn Certifications
Cybersecurity certifications set you apart from other candidates because they provide you with the latest knowledge and practical skills. Having a strong portfolio laden with the latest certifications can elevate your employment chances and increase your earning potential.
You can count on numerous cybersecurity certifications to launch your successful career in this evolving field. Some top certifications include the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certificate, the Certified Information Systems Auditor, and the Certified Information Systems Manager. However, these certifications require prior experience in the industry and are suitable for candidates looking forward to leadership and senior management roles.
- Enroll in Cybersecurity Bootcamps
A Bootcamp helps students to learn in-demand soft and hard skills in the tech field with an intensive training program. Attending a cyber boot camp is the fastest way to break into the industry. Depending on your time, budget, and other factors, you can enroll in a full-time or part-time Bootcamp. The duration of full-time boot camps may range from four to 20 weeks. However, part-time boot camps are lengthy and can extend up to a year.
Bootcamp is a viable option for aspiring cybersecurity professionals as they can customize the study program according to their interests and preferences. You can pick a Bootcamp while considering your availability and skill level. Other benefits of boot camps include financial aid and job placement assistance. After completing a boot camp, you can apply for entry-level positions like IT auditor, security analyst, and system administrator.
- Build Rapport with Industry Professionals
Like all industries, networking is one of the easy ways to establish a reliable path in cybersecurity. Connect with your mentors, teachers, classmates, and colleagues to find better job opportunities.
You can also join professional organizations working in the IT industry to boost your chances of employment. These organizations arrange networking events and provide platforms for industry professionals. The job market is full of opportunities for job seekers, such as job fairs, conferences, seminars, and other job-hunting events. You can join Information Systems Security Association International (ISSA), ISACA, ISC2, and SANS institute to bridge the gap between cyber experts and learners by providing valuable learning resources. These organizations are famous for conducting hands-on training and the most sought-after certifications. Moreover, they can provide news and journals related to the cyber industry to help you stay informed.
If you start on the right foot, you have a competitive edge over others and excel in the industry. Make sure you research what works for you and where you want to reach in the coming years. Following the abovementioned methods can accelerate your career growth and reap unmatched benefits.