Cybersecurity Career: Joining a booming industry where available jobs outnumber qualified candidates sounds scary. But such are the times. It seems that organizations around the world are in desperate need of experts who can detect, respond to, and prevent cybercrime. And as this grows in importance, more specialized roles are emerging with a sheer number of opportunities to follow your interests.
If you’ve been considering a career change or you’re simply excited by the prospect of protecting organizations’ intelligence and assets from security breaches, it’s important to your research on the field. Here’s what you need to know to break into this in-demand career.
Is cybersecurity a viable career?
Cybersecurity is a great job prospect to consider right now. If you run a quick search for “cybersecurity” on any major job-seeking platform, your search will likely result in hundreds if not thousands of unfilled job options. It seems that organizations are creating new cybersecurity positions faster than they can hire. In fact, between April 2020 and May 2021, there were about 500,000 cybersecurity job offerings across the U.S.
Only in the U.S, it’s estimated that the employment of information security analysts will reach 31% from 2019 to 2029. So, while finding the right career path is never easy, it’s safe to say that possessing a decent amount of cybersecurity skills may offer you a unique advantage in this massively competitive job market.
The Skill Gap
Despite the news we’ve seen over the past two years indicating an urgent need for advanced protection against ransomware and DDoS attacks on critical infrastructures and healthcare networks, there is still a cybersecurity workforce gap of more than 2.72 million positions.
Demand for digital online and digital security experience is growing faster than the rate at which people are gaining the necessary skills. Recent findings hint that the shortage of skilled I.T. professionals will likely worsen due to an additional 1.8 million jobs by 2022.
This only gives some cybersecurity trainees the hope that their skills and experience will help them fill these roles sooner than expected ad even negotiate a higher salary.
Getting Started: Entry-level cybersecurity jobs
Cybersecurity positions are not limited to the tech sector. According to DataBreachClaims.org.uk, every industry now finds itself in need of cybersecurity experts, even the legal sector. This means your career journey will depend on your specific skill set but also on your strengths and unique interests.
New to cybersecurity? Then you can start out in an entry-level I.T. role, such as network administrator, help desk technician, or software developer. Most cybersecurity specialists crack into the industry as junior information security analysts after gaining some experience in IT.
Without basic IT skills such as programming, system and network administration, and cloud computing, you may not enter the field as easily. While you don’t really need a degree in cybersecurity, having a level of structured training might improve your chances of obtaining a job.
Skills Required for Cybersecurity Jobs
- Problem-solving skills
- Attention to detail
- Knowledge of security across multiple platforms and applications
- Communication skills
- Basic computer forensics skills
- Understanding of hacking
- Desire to learn
As for job titles, there are so many roles. Cybersecurity Professionals are needed in almost every industry – everything from banks to retailers to governments need experts to protect critical information. Here are the 12 most common job titles in cybersecurity:
- Cybersecurity specialist
- Cybersecurity Analyst
- Chief Information Security Officer
- Security Systems Administrator
- Forensic Computer Analyst
- Security Manager
- Security Architect
- Penetration Tester
- Security Engineer
- Information Security Analysts
- Security Consultant
How to Specialize in Cybersecurity?
Despite an organization’s best security efforts, data breach events still happen. Specializing in incident response means you will work to fix vulnerabilities and reduce loss when breaches occur.
As you know, despite a company’s effort to protect its assets, security incidents still happen. As an incident responder, you will be needed to monitor your company’s network and work to identify and fix vulnerabilities in order to minimize the loss in the event of a breach.
If taking the next steps after a security incident isn’t your strongest suit, then working as a digital forensic investigator might be. This could be a good fit if you work well under stress and enjoy a good mystery.
Common certifications: Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE), GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH), Certified Computer Examiner (CCE), EC-Council Certified Incident Handler (ECIH).
Engineering and architecture
Security engineers rely on their understanding of threats and vulnerabilities to design and implement defense solutions against various security concerns. If that’s the case and you enjoy doing it, you may advance to become a security architect accountable for your company’s security infrastructure.
Both fields could be a good career choice if you enjoy playing with technology and find delight in cybersecurity.
Common certifications: Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP), Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer, CompTIA Security+.
As we’ve previously mentioned, businesses are in dire need of professionals to test their network systems for any security risks or vulnerabilities. In this position, you get to practice defense and offense by examining systems for liabilities and providing advice on reinforcing those systems.
This might be a great career choice if you enjoy variety and helping others manage their security systems.
Common certifications: Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), Certified Security Consultant (CSC), Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP).
Are Cybersecurity Careers Future Future-Proof?
All data hints that it might be. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, positions in data security are expected to reach 33% by 2030.
However, businesses in dire need of cybersecurity experts should expect a long-lasting skill gap in the field. The need to stay ahead of cybercrime doesn’t go away during this time, but at least there’s still hope. So, if you’re about to begin a degree program in cybersecurity anytime soon, the offering you have been dreaming about will be there when you’re ready.