In today’s job market, securing an entry-level cybersecurity job is not as difficult as it may seem. Whether you are a Computer Science major just out of college or mid-career and looking to make a change, the cybersecurity field offers plenty of opportunity to go around.
In fact, companies need cyber professionals at such dire rates that job seekers are really in the driver’s seat in regards to negotiations. If you have some experience in the field, you will likely be able to negotiate a high salary and lucrative benefits package. If you have absolutely no experience in the field, you can likely negotiate your big break into the world of cyber.
3 Steps To Starting Your Cybersecurity Career
1. Determine Your Cybersecurity Feeder Role
Cybersecurity is a unique field in that, often times, you are not attending a formal degree program to gain the knowledge required for the field. You may earn a Computer Science degree with a Cybersecurity track but the majority of your studies are not specialized in the intricacies of cybersecurity itself. As such, the path from school to cyber job often includes time spent in a feeder role; which also means there are more opportunities to changes careers into a cyber role as well.
The most common feeder roles include jobs in:
- Software Development
- Systems Engineering
- Financial & Risk Analysis
- Security Intelligence
- IT Support
If you do not have a degree or are currently working towards one, IT Support may be the easiest field to start with as degrees are requested only about 50% of the time and the right IT certifications are often enough to qualify you for the work.
If you are navigating a career change from a totally unrelated industry but can’t afford to take the pay cut of a support role, then consider what the closest alternative may be. For example, marketers typically have similar skills to transition into software development.
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2. Create Your Plan For Gaining Marketable Cyber Skills
You know you need to put in some time in a feeder role to gain experience, but there are other ways to grow your resume as well and get you into your desired field as fast as possible.
The first method is to gain industry-recognized certifications. The following are frequently requested cybersecurity certifications that many of the job postings you are targeting will look favorably upon:
The second method, is to gain skills through practice. Hackathons, lab simulations and more can offer you plenty of opportunities to put your knowledge to use in a safe environment.
As you apply for jobs (even feeder jobs), ensure you list out your relevant industry certifications and any events or projects you completed that relates to your cyber field of interest.
3. Make Your Career Aspirations Clear From The Start
While interviewing for a feeder role, make it known that you hope to eventually grow into a cyber role. This is also a great place to showcase your plan for gaining additional knowledge and skills through certification and education. As stated above, many employers can’t find enough cyber talent. Showing that you have the desire and initiative for such a role can help to position your employment as a long-term cyber investment. You may even get support in funding your certification initiatives.
The world simply needs more qualified cybersecurity professionals, so if you can show your capacity to become one you will likely position yourself as a real asset for an organization even if you don’t have the complete skill set they need right this moment.
Still Not Sure What You Should Do?
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