If you are interested in cybersecurity and want to dedicate your life to preventing cybercrime, you should consider turning your interest in security into a career. Although you might believe that starting your career in the sector is as simple as achieving a masters in cybersecurity, there are many other steps that every professional must take before they are able to excel- and even land an entry-level job. This article will cover the basics of what you should do if you want to start a career in cybersecurity in the future or transition to cybersecurity from a different background.
1. Transition from a Different Background
One of the easiest ways to start your career in cybersecurity is to transition to become a cybersecurity professional from a different career or background. In many of these cases, this will involve an in-job promotion within your firm. This can make it easier to land that first cybersecurity job and to advance throughout your career more quickly. To transition from a non-cybersecurity background within your firm, you should seek to lead any projects related to cybersecurity within your company, and you should consider taking additional certifications and qualifications on the side to ensure that you can easily gain the extra knowledge that you need in order to focus your career in this specialism.
However, most people who seek to find a job in cybersecurity at a later stage are already working within the IT industry or have a job in a related pathway. For these individuals, it is possible to transition much more easily. In order to do this, they can return to school to take a masters in cybersecurity that will build on their original degree or skillset, or they can simply apply the relevant skills that they have learned throughout their career to a different context. For instance, if you have good IT or programming skills, you can use these within your cybersecurity career, or find a cybersecurity role that asks for this particular expertise.
2. Choose a Career Pathway
Before you even start to step onto the career ladder in cybersecurity, it is paramount that you consider the different career pathways that are available in the sector. Although you might believe that cybersecurity is a narrow profession that does not involve many specialisms due to its relative newness as a career choice, this is not the case. In fact, there are many career paths to choose from that each focus on a different element of online security, from focusing on databases to handling web development.
Some Of The Most Common Career Pathways To Choose From Include:
- IT technicians
- Network engineers
- Cybercrime investigators
- Security specialists
- IT auditors
- Cybersecurity consultants
Although not all of these options are suitable for entry-level positions, if you have a particular career in mind, you will be able to acknowledge the steps that are necessary to work towards it.
As well as choosing a particular career to aim toward, there are also many career pathways that you can take in order to reach your dream role. For instance, while most people choose to opt for the education route by taking a masters in cybersecurity, and this is the most successful pathway, you could also consider taking a STEM course, as well as focus on experience in order to excel at your career. If you wanted, you could even do all three. Job positions such as a penetration tester and security architect may focus more on the experience that you have than your degree.
3. Take a Cybersecurity Degree
In order to start out on your career path, most employers look for candidates that have a bachelors’s degree in information technology, computer science, or software engineering. This is dependent on the role that you are considering applying for. However, holding a bachelor’s degree is not always enough. If you are looking to specialize in cybersecurity, you should look to add to your qualification with a masters in cybersecurity.
The majority of people looking to start on a cybersecurity career pathway will choose to take a masters in cybersecurity as this will enable you to boost both your skills and your resume. A cybersecurity degree allows you to get trained to a professional standard while taking modules in data security, machine learning, and penetration testing – all elements that you will see day-to-day as a cybersecurity professional.
The Advantages Of Taking A Masters In Cybersecurity Include:
- Builds on previous qualifications
- Proves your knowledge to employers
- Allows you to get knowledge of the most recent innovations
- Gives you entry to a network of fellow professionals
- Enables you to hone your skills
- Gives you expert knowledge of the industry
Due to the fact that qualifications in cybersecurity are relatively new and are even now difficult to find, most individuals choose to take a masters in cybersecurity in order to help them specialise in a certain profession and allow them to become cybersecurity professionals around other commitments, such as work. An online masters in cybersecurity can prepare students for the start of their careers and the working world while also giving them the opportunity to study remotely. This means that you can combine this cybersecurity degree with the experience of the working world.
4. Consider Certifications
The only way that you will be able to advance as a cybersecurity professional is to get certified. This will show that you have the legal expertise and ability that employers are looking for and that you can operate to a professional standard. Not only can having the right certifications show employers that you are right for the job, but they can also help you to stand out in the sea of candidates. It can even boost your potential earnings by exemplifying your higher level of expertise.
There Are a Lot Of Certifications That Can Be Advantageous For You, And These Include:
- Certified Ethical Hacker
- CCNP Security
- Certified Network Defender
- CISCO CCNA
If you are concerned about the commitment that it will take to both gain a qualification and get certified in order to practice your profession, many masters in cybersecurity courses offer you the chance to combine your qualification with certification. This can ensure that you leave college prepared for the challenges of the working world and completely ready to apply for jobs straight after graduation.
5. Build Your Network
Once you have got the basics of your career sorted, you need to start looking for a job, and the best way to do this is to start to build your network in the field as soon as possible. Like any career, most job positions are filled not through applications, but through networking and connections. Although a masters in cybersecurity will give you access to some of these professional networks, you should also consider taking additional steps toward them. This could include joining professional networks, which often put on large annual events where you can meet other people that are affiliated with the group. This will allow you to meet people who are at both the start and the tail end of their careers, and even connect with recruiters who may consider you for a position during their next hiring drive.
Some Of The Other Advantages Of Networking Include:
- Ability to attend industry talks and conferences
- Opportunity to speak or present yourself
- Chance to connect with a mentor
- Ability to find out about industry news and trends
- Chance to hear about job opportunities
6. Get Experience
You may have heard the old mantra that experience is more important to employers than your qualifications. Although this is not the case, experience is just as equally valuable for getting into cybersecurity than a qualification. This means that you should add to your masters in cybersecurity by gaining the relevant experience. Luckily, many degrees now offer you the opportunity to go on placement or get relevant work experience in your field as part of your course. Many colleges also ask you to find an academic angle to your experience by reflecting on what you have learned in an academic report in order to help you to get the most out of your placement.
If you want to get extra experience, you should consider looking for positions alongside or after your course, such as in the summer breaks. Having experience before you go out into the world of work is vital so that you are prepared for the job market as soon as you leave graduate school.
In Order To Do This, You Should Look for:
- Summer internships
- Work experience weeks
- Graduate schemes
- Other broader opportunities, such as volunteering
If you want to work for a specific company in the future, you should check whether they offer work experience placements. Getting work experience at a company can help you to make connections within it and can raise your chances of becoming employed by them in the future.
7. Start Your Own Projects
However, if you are unable to find formal experience or if you are struggling to kickstart your career in an appropriate manner, why not consider running your own projects from the comfort of your home? These can be great options for those that want to conduct independent research before they start out on their career, and can also help you to build on skills that you may be missing or that may be weaker the rest.
To start your own projects, you may consider building a custom lab where you can base yourself before you are able to find a suitable employment opportunity. This will allow you to try out new ideas and experiment with the basics of cybersecurity in a safe environment. You will then be able to add these projects onto your resume, which can go a long way to proving you to be a suitable candidate who is willing to continue learning past the boundaries of their masters in cybersecurity.
8. Create Your Resume
If you are focused on finding a job in cybersecurity and have gained all the necessary qualifications that you will need, it is then time to start to consider your resume. Rather than simply creating a resume based on your previous work experience, you should aim to tailor your resume to the requirements of the job and cybersecurity roles. This will enable you to grab the attention of employers and make it easier for them to see why you would be a suitable candidate for certain positions, rather than hiding this key information behind Saturday jobs and other, less relevant experience.
Your Cybersecurity Resume Should Have:
- Your achievements and qualifications
- Your relevant experience
- A cover letter focused on your suitability for the role and customized toward individual firms
- Usage of key terminology
- Your contact details
- A brief personal section to help you to stand out from the crowd
By following the standard cybersecurity resume formats in the industry, you will be able to present yourself as a professional candidate to employers and ensure that you can pass on to the interview stage.
9. Find an Entry Level Job
Once you have completed all of these steps, all you have to do is to find an entry-level job. Although cybersecurity professions are a relatively recent career avenue, they are in high demand due to a lack of trained workers and the fact that many businesses are only starting to understand that they have to manage the threats.
To find an entry level job in cybersecurity, you should look at industry-specific job boards. This is also the perfect time to harness your professional network in order to contact recruitment agencies. Due to the specific skills and nature of cybersecurity jobs, you should also consider contacting companies that you are interested in directly, as many of these businesses hire internally or through their connections.
Getting a career in cybersecurity can be a daunting prospect due to the lack of tried and tested routes towards this. However, modern society is in need of many of the most profitable cybersecurity roles. If you take these steps, there are many open doors available to you in the sector.