How to get into Cyber Security
- 20th March 2018
- Posted by: Stacie Jansen van Vuren
- Category: Security
Starting a new career can be challenging and particularly so when you are looking at how to get into cyber security. The IT field is a daunting one if you have not yet gotten a foot in the door, but there are specific ways in which you can make this easier and how you can begin your journey towards a rewarding career in information security.
Currently, the job market is ripe when it comes to security related roles and this is likely to only increase as there is a continued need for highly effective and efficient security professionals. Technology is constantly advancing in leaps and bounds, and this brings with it the vital need to ensure that companies and organisations are strongly protected from cyber attacks. A full time career in cyber security will offer rich diversity and the opportunity to grow and develop your career in an ever-expanding field.
If you are looking at how to get into cyber security, or any other information security or IT security related career, then these are a few of the most important aspects to consider in order to follow a career path that will ultimately lead you to your full time career in cyber security.
IT Work Experience
Although IT work experience is not always necessary to get your foot in the door and secure an entry level position, you are far more likely to get ahead in the information security field if you have this work experience. If you are already working in an IT or security related role, you will have gained some of the experience required to pursue a more specialised career in cyber security. If you are new to IT in general, then gaining experience and practical knowledge will be the tricks to ensuring that you have an advantage over other security job candidates who are inexperienced.
Clearly, an entry level position in security related work will provide the most beneficial opportunity to gain on-the-job practical work experience. Many organisations are now hiring inexperienced individuals for entry level roles and the wealth of knowledge and skills that can be gained this way cannot be over-emphasised. When considering how to get into cyber security, an entry level position is the ideal starting point for your career path.
Internships, apprenticeships and even volunteer work are all also excellent ways in which to get your foot in the door and begin gaining the knowledge and practical skills that will be required to perform in an information security position.
Sometimes there is a need to pursue a more “outside of the box” approach to a career in cyber security. If you are unable to secure an entry level position or an internship, you could ask for guidance and training from the IT and security professionals within the organisation that you work for as their own work experience makes them experts in what you will need to know.
Gaining Knowledge and Skills
Cyber security is not a quick study as there are many complicated topics that you will need to learn about and understand fully in order to perform in a security related role. Cyber attacks are of grave concern to any organisation and it is absolutely necessary for anyone in a security job to know how to spot threats and mitigate them with great urgency. This is key to a successful full time career in cyber security.
Booming Job Market
The job market is always changing and it is imperative to do whatever possible to provide yourself with an advantage over other security job applicants. Aside from relevant work experience, gaining knowledge and skills via numerous avenues is the best way to set yourself apart from the rest.
First Technology Step for Beginners
If you are completely new to IT, then it is always best to begin by learning the fundamentals of IT to ensure that you have a solid foundation on which to build your career in cyber security. This is even considered necessary for those in law enforcement and government agencies as the IT security landscape differs greatly from the physical world. Although such security professional have advanced investigatory skills, it is essential to have the correct building blocks to develop a career in information security.
Academic qualifications are not always required when discovering how to get into cyber security, however, gaining security certifications will ensure that you are adequately prepared for a security related role. This approach will also demonstrate to a potential employer that you have put the effort into learning what is needed to become an asset to any information security job.
E-learning is a particularly beneficial approach as it allows you to study various different topics and tailor your learning activities to suit your specific career path. Many e-learning providers also offer additional options such as Live Labs which will enable you to gain practical work experience to boost your abilities and get a “real world” feel for the roles played by security professionals.
Relevant Security Certifications
Gaining the relevant security certifications will not only enhance your abilities, but will also provide you with a tremendous competitive edge in the job market and enable you to advance more quickly in your career in cyber security.
It is important to determine which security certifications will be most advantageous to your chosen career path and e-learning consultants are trained to assist you with this and to tailor a study package to meet your needs.
If you are just starting out in IT and looking to get your foot in the door for the first time, then it is recommended that you begin with a New to IT package. This will provide you with the fundamentals and a strong foundation for your career in cyber security.
As you progress and find your footing in the IT world, you will begin to develop a sense of where your career path is headed and what area of expertise you want to specialise in. It is necessary to consider this when further tailoring your career path as different security certifications will be beneficial to different fields.
Get Cisco or CompTIA Certified
Highly beneficial security certifications to incorporate into your fundamental knowledge are the CompTIA Security+ qualification and the CISCO CCNA Security cyber security certification. These are highly sought after information security certifications and are internationally recognised.
Certifications for Security Professionals
With accumulated work experience gained from an entry level role, or the various other avenues we have discussed, you can begin to consider more senior security certifications such as CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor), CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) and CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).
The CISM security certification is considered to be the most versatile and it is seen as the globally accepted standard of achievement amongst information security professionals.
Information security is typically a very sought-after field and these security certifications can assist you with the career path required to ensure that you know how to get into cyber security.
As with any career, a career in cyber security can be improved and enhanced by beneficial connections. Creating and developing connections within the information security field is an enormously advantageous approach to getting your foot in the door. This will also enable you to gain expert advice and guidance from security professionals and others in security related roles. The insight that can be gained from these beneficial connections will greatly boost your chances for a successful career in cyber security.
Networking websites are helpful in establishing these connections, but it is also important to not restrict yourself to only one source. Seek out opportunities to meet security professionals, such as conferences, talks, events and even simply by talking to colleagues in information security related roles.
How to have a Successful Career in Cyber Security
Although it is sometimes said that anyone can figure out how to get into cyber security, it is important to note that there are certain qualities that will distinguish between a mediocre information security career and a successful career in cyber security.
A Passion for Technology
Cyber attacks are always evolving and a true passion for technology will ensure that you constantly strive to find new and unexplored ways in which to defend against these threats. Being able to adapt your approaches to information security and mitigating cyber attacks will keep you ahead of the game and help you to join the ranks of the well-rounded security professionals.
Strong communication skills and the ability to work competently within a team are also important personal characteristics to bear in mind when considering a career in cyber security. Sharing skills, resources, techniques and tips will assist in developing innovative solutions to the threats posed by cyber attacks and other information security threats and issues.
Cyber Security Effects Everyone
Although cyber security can come across as an abstract construct, it is absolutely critical to understand that it is essential to the everyday lives of billions of people across the globe. Information security affects everything from e-commerce to protecting personal data to ensuring the safety and security of information collected and stored by every online site, organisation and transaction. Even the very most basic elements of daily life, such as the supply of water and electricity, can be compromised by cyber attacks. Digital technology will continue to increase, expand and advance at a rapid rate and it is crucial that skilled security professionals defend against the multitude of threats and cyber attacks that happen every minute. Cyber threats are a serious and growing concern, which makes the role of cyber security professionals one that is critical to the safety of every individual.
As we can easily see, a career in cyber security is an important one and with the right approach and career path, it is possible to determine how to get into cyber security and enjoy a rewarding, stimulating and vital role in the field of information security.