So You Want a Job in Cybersecurity? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cybersecurity is an in-demand field that is growing much faster than most other professions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of growth for jobs in information security is projected at 37% from 2012–2022—that’s faster than the average for all other occupations.
Cyber attacks are growing in frequency and complexity, and while we tend to hear about the attacks of high-profile entities, no company -- or individual -- with an online presence is immune to attacks. This growing threat and the demand for safe and secure data makes it clear that cybersecurity is going to be a hot job market for the foreseeable future. While gaining the training and knowledge to succeed isn’t always simple or straightforward, there are many ways to break into a security career, cultivate your expertise and understand the skills needed to thrive in today’s industry.
Breaking into a career in cybersecurity can seem like a daunting, if not impossible task, since few colleges offer degrees specific to IT security. However, it’s important to realize that it in order to become successful in the security field, mastering the basics and creating a strong foundation of IT is critical -- often giving an upper hand in the job applicant pool.
Local technical and community colleges offer relevant IT courses, and are a good place to start when looking to break into the security job market. If already in IT, spend time studying network security, dealing with endpoint hygiene or another security principal related to current workloads and areas of expertise. The ability to have well-rounded experience in tech and applying technical skills to security specifically will make for an expert in today’s cybersecurity landscape.
Hone Your Skills
With the growing demand of jobs in the cybersecurity industry, colleges and universities are beginning to offer more security classes and degrees. However, since undergraduate courses have not become a mainstay in cybersecurity training, many professionals in the current cybersecurity field have refined the necessary skills through certificate programs and in-the-field training versus degree programs.
The CompTIA Security+certification is a good place to start and will act as credibility when employers evaluate ability to handle the more technical skills of cybersecurity. Basic credentials and an aptitude for security is sufficient to get an entry-level job.
What Skills Are Needed Now?
As the number of cyberattacks rise, the next generation of professionals will certainly need a particular set of skills to succeed in cybersecurity. Technical skills like secure software development, pen testing, the ability to identify attacks and remediate intrusions remain important to improving security, as well as helping to mold the future of IT security professionals.
Knowledge of cognitive skills will also become important in engineering and threat intelligence roles as cyber attacks become more complex and evolve. With an understanding of cognitive principals, professionals can detect patterns of attack in petabytes of data or secure more complex systems.
The need for non-technical skills at cybersecurity organizations is also growing, with open positions in roles like digital marketing. While this role doesn’t rely on hard skills such as engineering and threat intelligence research, understanding the industry is critical. Anticipating the market and knowing trends, types of breaches and industry best practices in order to most effectively communicate with customers, prospects and the general security audience is a key component of being successful in a non-technical role.
As the cybersecurity industry continues to grow, so will job opportunities. Keeping in mind that current technical skills can be applied to security, earning cybersecurity certifications and learning the market trends are keys to success when looking to break into the industry.