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Getting Started in Cybersecurity Careers: A Step-by-Step Guide to Start a Career in Cybersecurity

By June 19, 2023No Comments

If you’re looking for a career with a bright future and lots of opportunities for advancement, then we recommend you take a look at Career in Cybersecurity. There are several ways to start a career in Cybersecurity. If you’re new to Cybersecurity or not from a cybersecurity background, you should start out in an entry-level IT job, such as a help desk technician, network administrator, system administrator, or field technician, later, you move to security teams internally in your organization.

If you have a good knowledge of Cybersecurity and have some skills, then you should get a bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, computer science, or a related field is the most popular path to launching a cybersecurity career. However, some companies hire candidates with certifications for various positions. You can also break into the field without a degree by acquiring certifications or relevant experience through internships and open-source projects.

What is Cybersecurity? Is Cybersecurity Right for You?

Cybersecurity is a subset of information security that refers to the practice of protecting programs, computer networks, and digital information from malicious actors. Cybersecurity experts’ main job is to prevent attacks before they occur. Incident response is also a key part of their skill set, and these professionals must always be ready to take decisive action when a security breach happens. Cybersecurity might be a good career for you if you are a detail-oriented, analytical person with a collaborative mindset and the ability to improvise. On the technical side of things, you’ll also need sharp math and computing skills.

To determine if Cybersecurity is right for you, research and understand what Cybersecurity really is, get an understanding of the continual learning commitment that Cybersecurity takes, and go see Cybersecurity in action. Cybersecurity, as an overall industry, has a very promising career outlook. It has low unemployment, and in fact, many countries have a deficit of employees. This means if you are qualified, you can expect to never go unemployed for an extended period of time as a cybersecurity professional. Across the board, cybersecurity roles offer competitive pay, growth opportunity, job security, exciting day-to-day tasks, and the chance to make a difference.

Is Cybersecurity right for me? If you have strong math and computer skills, an analytical outlook, and enjoy working with technology, then it may be worth considering pursuing this field.

Enroll Yourself for a Right Cybersecurity Academic Course

The next step in getting started in Cybersecurity is to enroll yourself in a cybersecurity academic course. There are many cybersecurity academic degree courses available in the US. Some of the best bachelor’s programs in Cybersecurity include computer systems engineering (Cybersecurity) – BSc at Arizona State University, BS in Cybersecurity: Digital Forensics and Incident Response from The American Women’s College of Bay Pat King University, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Utica University, and Bachelor of Science with a major in Cybersecurity from the Mike Cottrell College of Business. You can also search for campus locations near you by finding your state on Cyber Security Degrees.orgUSNews.com provides a list of top undergraduate computer science programs for Cybersecurity. Do in-depth research before you choose.

 

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It’s also important to check the course’s accreditation and make sure it is recognized by the industry. This will ensure that you are learning the most up-to-date information and skills needed to be successful in the cybersecurity field.

Once you have completed the course that meets your needs, it’s time to explore the different professions in Cybersecurity.

Understand the Different Professions in Cybersecurity

The Next step in getting started in Cybersecurity is to understand the different types of roles available in the field. These roles can be broken down into three main categories: technical, managerial, and administrative. 

  1. Technical: The technical roles are focused on developing and maintaining security systems, preventing attacks, and responding to incidents. These roles include security analysts, security engineers, security specialists, penetration testers, ethical hackers, and computer forensics investigators.
  2. Managerial: The managerial roles are responsible for overseeing security operations, developing policies and procedures, and leading teams. These roles include Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Security Architect, and Security Manager.
  3. Administrative: The administrative roles are responsible for handling day-to-day tasks related to Cybersecurity, such as monitoring systems, responding to incidents, and providing training. These roles include Security Analyst, Security Administrator, and Security Engineer.

Once you have chosen the interested cybersecurity role, the next step you should consider is to choose the right cybersecurity certifications if you have interest, time, and budget. Because security certifications are highly expensive, it may cost several thousand dollars to get enrolled. Additionally, it demands a lot of your time to pass the certification exams. 

Choose the Correct Cybersecurity Certification 

Once you have completed your academic course and decided on the cybersecurity role to go for, the next step is to choose the correct cybersecurity certification. To start a career in Cybersecurity, it is good to add certifications to your profile. A cybersecurity certification is a formal recognition of your knowledge and skills in the field. It’s important to choose a certification that is recognized by the industry and will give you the best chance of success in the field. 

There are many cybersecurity certifications available. Some of the most popular cybersecurity certifications include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), CompTIA Security+, GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

If you have decided on the role, then try completing these certifications. This table shows the job roles with their matching certifications:

Job Roles Certifications
Security Analyst CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Security Consultant Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), CompTIA Security+
Information Security Manager Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Penetration Tester Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)
Security Engineer Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP-ISSAP), CompTIA Security+
Network Security Engineer Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), CompTIA Security+, Certified Network Defense Architect (CNDA)
Application Security Engineer Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C
Incident Responder Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH), Certified Computer Examiner (CCE)
Security Auditor Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Cybersecurity Manager Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Security Architect Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP-ISSAP), Certified Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (CISSP-ISSEP)
Forensic Investigator Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Computer Examiner (CCE), Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)
Cryptographer Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Cryptography Professional (CCP)
Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)
Disaster Recovery Specialist Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), Disaster Recovery Certified Specialist (DRCS)
Identity and Access Management (IAM) Specialist Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Authorization Professional (CAP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Security Awareness Training Specialist Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP), Certified Security Leadership Officer (CSLO)
Cloud Security Engineer Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
Security Operations Manager Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender (GCED)

It’s worth noting that these certifications may not be required for all job roles. Refer to this table that maps the cybersecurity job roles with matching certifications.

 

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Certifications Job Roles
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Information Security Manager, Security Consultant, Security Analyst
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Information Security Manager, Security Consultant, Security Analyst
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Penetration Tester, Ethical Hacker, Security Analyst
CompTIA Security+ Security Analyst, Security Consultant, Network Administrator
Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) Risk Manager, Information Security Manager, Compliance Manager
Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) Cloud Security Architect, Cloud Security Manager, Cloud Security Engineer
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) IT Auditor, Information Security Manager, Security Consultant
Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) Penetration Tester, Ethical Hacker, Security Consultant
GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) Incident Responder, Security Analyst, Incident Handler
Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) Privacy Officer, Privacy Consultant, Data Protection Officer
Certified Cyber Forensics Professional (CCFP) Digital Forensics Investigator, Forensic Analyst, Incident Responder
CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) Security Analyst, Threat Intelligence Analyst, Cybersecurity Analyst
Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT) Privacy Officer, Privacy Consultant, Data Protection Officer
Certified Authorization Professional (CAP) Security Consultant, Security Manager, Security Assessor
Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) Digital Forensics Investigator, Forensic Analyst, Incident Responder
Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) Software Developer, Security Analyst, Security Engineer
Certified Information Forensics Investigator (CIFI) Digital Forensics Investigator, Forensic Analyst, Incident Responder
GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) Security Analyst, Network Administrator, Security Consultant
ISACA Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) IT Manager, Governance Manager, Compliance Manager
ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) IT Auditor, Information Security Manager, Security Consultant
ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Information Security Manager, Security Consultant, Security Analyst
ISACA Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) Risk Manager, Information Security Manager, Compliance Manager
SANS GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender (GCED) Security Analyst, Incident Responder, Security Consultant
SANS GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA) Security Analyst, Intrusion Analyst, Incident Responder
SANS GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) Incident Responder, Security Analyst, Incident Handler

Gain Experience in Cybersecurity

There are several ways to gain experience in Cybersecurity. One way is to build up a base level of technical knowledge and implement some sort of technology on a personal level as proof. You can also break into the field without a degree by acquiring certifications or relevant experience through internships and open-source projects. Cybersecurity boot camps offer a quick and relatively cheap way to skill up in cybersecurity-specific skills. Online training platforms like UdacityCybrary.itCourseraUdemyKhan Academy, and PluralSight offer interactive and non-interactive courses that can give you an overview of Cybersecurity. Attending hackathons or hacking marathons offers participants the chance to work on problems and develop their skills.

Stay Up-to-Date

Completing the Academic course and certifications with practical knowledge gives a big hand to start a career in Cybersecurity. But, it’s good to be updated in the rapidly changing world of Cybersecurity, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends. This can be done by reading trade publications, attending conferences and webinars, and participating in online discussion forums.

It’s also important to keep up with the latest news and developments in the field, as well as any changes to regulations and laws. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for any changes that may affect your job.

 

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There are many popular conferences and webinars in Cybersecurity. Some of the top cybersecurity conferences and webinars are:

  1. RSA Conference: One of the largest summits of cybersecurity leaders in the United States, featuring networking with global vendors and thought leaders.
  2. Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit: A conference focusing on managing risk and delivering security in a digital world.
  3. Black Hat USA: A global information security event that features training sessions, briefings, and networking opportunities with leading security experts.
  4. DEF CON: One of the world’s largest hacker conventions that covers a wide range of cybersecurity topics, including hacking, penetration testing, and reverse engineering.
  5. Cyber Security & Cloud Expo North America: A conference that brings together cybersecurity professionals, solution providers, and academics to discuss the latest trends and technologies in the field.
  6. Infosecurity Europe: A European conference that offers insights into the latest cybersecurity trends, as well as opportunities for networking and learning from industry experts.
  7. ISC West: A physical and virtual security event that focuses on physical security technologies and solutions, as well as Cybersecurity.
  8. CyberTech Europe: A conference that brings together cybersecurity professionals, researchers, and industry leaders to discuss the latest cybersecurity challenges and solutions.
  9. Cybersecurity Summit: A one-day event that brings together cybersecurity experts and industry leaders to discuss the latest threats, trends, and solutions in the field.
  10. SANS Cyber Defense Initiative: A training event that offers hands-on cybersecurity training courses, as well as networking opportunities with industry experts.

Build a Portfolio and be Active in Cybersecurity Network

Once you have gained some experience in the field and have a good understanding of the technologies and processes used, it’s time to start building your portfolio. This can include any projects you have worked on, certificates or awards you have earned, and any presentations or papers you have written.

Having a portfolio will show potential employers that you have the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the field. It can also help you stand out from the crowd and give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs.

It’s also important to be active in the cybersecurity network. This includes joining industry organizations, attending conferences and events, and participating in online discussion forums. This will help you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field and give you a chance to network with other professionals.

What is the Future of Cybersecurity?

In our opinion, the future of Cybersecurity is promising. Cybersecurity career growth is projected to rise exponentially in the year 2023. The unique field of Cybersecurity will continue to evolve as technology continues to advance exponentially. Increasing the amount of automation and improving the quality of automation technologies reduce the day-to-day burden on the scarce cybersecurity experts. The future of Cybersecurity holds sophisticated malware attacks that will be very tough to stop. Hackers will be competent to use artificial intelligence systems to make new methods of attacking computer networks & bypassing security systems. Heightened concerns over Cybersecurity, coupled with an ongoing shortage of cybersecurity professionals, will also drive changes to cybersecurity strategies and workplace policies in the coming years, Gartner predicted. Machine learning and AI are being used by both sides to continue this game of cat-and-mouse. Quantum computing will be next, exponentially elevating the capabilities of an attacker and a defender. So the cat and the mouse will keep getting better and faster, but the overall game isn’t going to change too much.

Conclusion

Getting started in Cybersecurity can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can be successful in the field. This article has provided you with a step-by-step guide to starting a career in Cybersecurity and finding the perfect job for you.

By understanding the different roles available in the field, enrolling yourself in an academic course, choosing the right certification, and gaining experience, you’ll be well on your way to success in the field. It’s also important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends and build your portfolio. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and rewarding career in Cybersecurity. So, don’t wait any longer—get started today!

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