How to Launch a Career in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a high-growth industry with a serious shortage of available talent. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce there are currently over 300,000 open cybersecurity positions across the United States and experts expect the labor shortage to continue. Because of this, rather than making hiring decisions based on experience, organizations tend to hire based on potential. Organizations evaluate a candidate’s potential to learn the technical skills based on a range of skills and traits such as problem solving and critical thinking, opening up the doors to a wider range of candidates.

Click this link for tips on pursuing a career in Cybersecurity.


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High demand means high wages! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cybersecurity professionals report an average salary of $116,000, or approximately $55.77 per hour, which is nearly three times the national median income for full-time wage and salary workers.

With the shortage of experienced cybersecurity professionals in the workforce, now is the perfect time to get your start with a career in cybersecurity.

You don’t have to specialize in cybersecurity

Don’t have a technical background? Don’t worry. Your education background doesn’t have to be computer science or information technology. Cybersecurity requires soft skills such as attention to detail, communication and a good understanding of human behavior and how technology is used.

As Sean Tierney, head of the cyber intelligence team at Infoblox, puts it: “the thing that will make you good at security is that you are great at something else first. For example, become a master of the fundamentals of data networks, be an expert at administering multiple operating systems or be proficient at multiple scripting languages (Python, Bash, etc.).”

Earn Certifications

Growing up I was told I would never find a professional job without a college degree.  And while I am very glad I went to college and earned a degree, my cybersecurity certifications have been more valuable to me in this industry than my degree.

The Security+ certification will give you a good foundation, and will go a long way towards getting your foot in the door in the cybersecurity industry. But there are many other cybersecurity certifications offered by organizations such as ISACA, (ISC)2, and EC Council, that will solidify your expertise.  Many of these certifications will require a level of work experience, but many only require you to pass a test to earn.

Get Involved With Cybersecurity Organizations

There are many national cybersecurity organizations with local chapters that provide an excellent opportunity to meet people in the industry, help you learn skills, and find jobs. Another option is to get involved in open source or community projects. I would also recommend attending a cybersecurity conference. There are many regional conferences that are $20 or less to attend and have excellent speakers you can learn from.

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