If you are looking for a career with almost unlimited growth potential, cybersecurity might well be the ideal path for you.
Cybersecurity is a cornerstone in every area of modern business and that is not set to change any time soon. That and a wealth of variety from working with websites to automated vehicles, robotics and technologies that are so cutting edge, you probably have not imagined them yet, make cybersecurity a significant drawcard for young techies looking for a rewarding career.
But with great rewards come great responsibilities.
If you are contemplating a career in this fast-growing, exciting space, you will need to think long and hard about your sense of commitment and your motivation.
You will also need to understand the full scope of skills – outside of the first-class technical set of skills – that you will be expected to bring, whatever the role.
Skilling up for Security
The ideal candidate will have a good mixture of technical and career skills.
So you are going to want to ensure you are fully grounded in IT fundamentals from networking to systems admin, database management, and web applications. But you are also going to need to do your due diligence in day-to-day operations. That means knowing your stuff in terms of physical security, networks, enterprise storage, users, and applications.
In terms of career skills, most savvy employers are on the lookout for cybersecurity experts who also:
- Have the lowdown on business procedures and processes
- Can communicate empathetically and understand the needs of other people –and that includes explaining solutions to colleagues who may not be as tech-savvy as you
- Can work in a team and bring value to that team
- Are thirsty for knowledge
- Are willing to keep up to speed with new and emerging threats
- Love to solve complex problems and dismantle puzzles
- Are ready to ask questions and share expert knowledge and nuggets of wisdom
- Understand that you sometimes need to break things to learn and are not afraid of failure
- Genuinely want to help other people
Cybersecurity is, at the end of the day, all about making technology safer for everyone. Your satisfaction will be far greater if you feel a natural desire to help others and encourage them to learn about security.
Assuming you can already or are willing to start checking off the skills and attributes above, how do you go about preparing yourself for a career? What can you do to gain experience, confidence, and pump up that curriculum to get a foot in the door?
Make a Start Now
Even if you are still studying or right at the start of your career, there is plenty you can do to boost your chances of getting a job.
- Volunteering at IT and cybersecurity conferences
- Offering to help out at a non-profit or charity
- Joining LinkedIn interest groups, professional networks, or security organizations
- Suggesting or collaborating on a cybersecurity project at college
- Connecting with peers on things like Wargames, or games similar to this
It will be vital you try to gain practical experience practicing your skills, and there are lots of ways to develop skills, understanding, and confidence.
Make a point of bookmarking useful sites on the Internet, reading reputable security blogs, and magazines. There are plenty of them around. You might want to follow message boards too – Information Security Stack Exchange is a notable one.
While you are at it, why not run a background check on yourself to see if your profile carries any red flags. If so, figure out what it is you can do to address them.
Here at the Cisco Networking Academy we offer Cybersecurity courses to equip you with the essential to defend yourself, your employers, and your communities from cybercrime. We offer a complete, industry-standard learning pathway for next-generation superheroes who want to defend our digital world.