So, you’ve heard that cyber security jobs are available and that it’s a lucrative career choice. It is expected that there are 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions in the United States and entry level salaries range between $43,500 and $83,500, according to salary.com. But if you have never worked in the cybersecurity field, where do you start?
First, you should explore the various cybersecurity fields available. There are plenty of options available, and not all of them are technical. By doing a little research online, you can probably find a cybersecurity career that suits your interest. There are opportunities in program management, forensics, documentation/technical writing, incident response, cryptography, etc. Basically, whatever you are interested in, there’s probably a job opening in the cybersecurity field related to that interest.
- Security Architect
- Cybersecurity Engineer
- Malware Analyst
- Penetration Tester
- Computer Forensics Analyst
- Incident Responder
- Product Manager
- Pre-Sales Support Engineer
- Marketing Specialist
- Legal Analyst
You should also search for and join networking groups in your area where you can meet with other cybersecurity professionals to get some advice. Most cybersecurity professionals will be very happy to talk to you about the career field. One group that has chapters all over the world is the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA). Others include (ISC)2 (International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium), ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals), and ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library). There are plenty others, and a quick search online will help you find some in your area. Another great way to network and find out more information is to attend cybersecurity conferences and seminars. These, too, can easily be found through a quick online search. There are many small ones that only last a partial day. There are also larger ones that may last up to a week. These conferences and seminars are a great way to find out more about the industry or to find out more about specific cybersecurity topics. They are also a great way to network with other professionals and find out more about types of cybersecurity jobs and current needs.
Once you’ve found something interesting to pursue, what’s the best way to get into the field? Most companies are looking for someone some type of either experience or credentials to join their team. You can pursue a college degree in cybersecurity, but that will take a few years. If you don’t have any work experience in cyber security, you should focus on obtaining some cybersecurity certifications. While a college degree helps, having certifications demonstrates specific knowledge and skills that companies are looking for. For these certifications, there is usually a class to prepare you for the exam. There are also a lot of resources available online to help as well. By working to obtain some of these certifications, you will not only learn more about cybersecurity, but you will start building the foundation of your cybersecurity career with demonstrated knowledge.
Beginner Cybersecurity Certifications:
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
- GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
- GIAC Security Essentials (HSEC)
- (ISC)2 Associate
- (ISC)2 Systems Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
- ISACA CSX Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate
- Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Security Fundamentals
Once you have joined a team and are working in the cyber field, you will quickly gain a lot of knowledge and experience. In order to help reduce the 3.5 million job deficit, people need to evangelize the career field. Share your experiences with others. Look to recruit people into the field. As corporations become more and more reliant on information systems and devices, and the barrage of malware continues to rise, there is a strong need for cybersecurity professionals to help curb the malware and build more secure and reliant systems. Cybersecurity is not just about systems, but about people as well. By helping to educate everyone on developing and practicing good cyber security skills, you are doing your part to reduce security incidents and establish a safe and secure environment in which to operate.