5 Cybersecurity Career Paths and How to Get Started

However, check beforehand whether an employer does want you to have a cyber security certificate, and which specific one they have in mind. After all, you don’t want to waste your time, effort, and money on a qualification you don’t need or that won’t come in handy for your chosen career path. As a security specialist, you will spend your days studying the devices in use and testing security measures like firewalls and other software. This role also involves reporting to more senior members of the IT team and presenting any findings and recommendations. Security specialists also collaborate with other departments to ensure that colleagues are aware of how to practice good IT security.

Find opportunities for hands-on experience

That often means that continuing education is required — both in the form of formal, industry-recognized certifications —  and the form of informal learning and tracking industry developments. Security analysts, in particular, spend their days studying the devices in use, analyzing network structure, and testing security measures like firewalls and software permissions. Discover whether the security specialist profession fits your strengths and interests by exploring daily tasks and responsibilities. Employers add ten jobs per second on Indeed, attracting over 250 million visitors each month. Input your desired job title and location and explore hundreds of tech positions.

Cybersecurity specialist skills and experience

Fortunately, being an adept security specialist makes you a prime candidate for roles in computer forensics, penetration testing, security consulting, security management, and security architecture. We recommend that you align these goals with your personality, interests, and values, as this will ensure your career choice will be rewarding and fulfilling. If you have any uncertainties about the education, experience, knowledge, or skills you need for a security specialist role, be sure to get in touch with the recruiter directly. They will be able to clarify which items a company deems necessary, preferred, or desirable. If the above description of a security specialist’s role and skill set appeals to you, what steps should you take to get started on this career path? Below is a five-stage process that will take you from a point of being inexperienced in cyber security to getting hired as a security specialist.

  1. As a cybersecurity professional, you are responsible for countering these risks.
  2. Discover whether the security specialist profession fits your strengths and interests by exploring daily tasks and responsibilities.
  3. In addition to creating structures to protect interconnected devices, professionals in this sector safeguard sensitive assets for applications and data.
  4. Monali’s goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skill set, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.
  5. If you enjoy planning and building, you may choose to pursue security engineering and architecture.

What are some best practices that security specialists should follow?

Emphasizing the creation of security solutions, this role is sometimes called information security engineer or network security engineer. Some cybersecurity professionals pursue experience before earning certification. Whatever path they choose, security specialists need strong technical skills and a commitment to continuing education. Like other job titles within the cybersecurity industry, a security analyst is best prepared by having a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, an information technology degree, or a degree in a related field. Job experience and internships, along with professional, industry-recognized certifications also help job candidates land cybersecurity analyst positions. In general, cybersecurity specialists are often required to have several years of experience in a cybersecurity-focused job.

Begin your job search

Don’t expect regular nine-to-five working hours as a cybersecurity specialist. Attacks can happen at any time of day or night, and criminals always hope to catch the people defending the information they want off guard. The good news is there’s no one education path to become a cybersecurity speciality; you have options. You can choose to get an undergraduate or graduate degree in cybersecurity or a related field like computer science, but you can also get an industry certification instead—or even go the self-taught route.

In this role, you get to practice cybersecurity offense and defense by testing systems for vulnerabilities and making recommendations on how to strengthen those systems. As a cybersecurity analyst, you can decide to take your career in a few different directions, depending on your interests and goals. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of cybersecurity jobs is expected to increase by 32 percent from 2022 through 2032. Bootcamps, official training materials, cybersecurity degrees, internships and related work experience can help candidates learn the topics covered by their certification exams. In addition, security specialists are also responsible for making sure that other co-workers are kept up-to-date on security best practices, which means they might take on the role of a trainer or an advisor. In all professions, networking offers a reliable pathway to finding job opportunities.

Getting started: Entry-level cybersecurity jobs

While a degree may be necessary to get hired, sometimes it’s not sufficient. An employer might want candidates to have gained specific certificates, as these can how to become a security specialist teach you particular essential skills. Also, even if one of these certificates isn’t required for a role, it may still be preferable, or at least beneficial.

Security specialists can find employment in a broad range of commercial, governmental, and not-for-profit organizations. To qualify for this position, you tend to need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a related subject. Even if these extra qualifications aren’t required, they can still give you a leg up when it comes to applying for jobs. A security specialist, also known as an IT security specialist or a cyber security specialist, is responsible for developing and implementing security measures for an organization. As a security specialist, your overarching goal is to analyze current security procedures and suggest changes to upper management for improving efficiency and overall security. Growing your network can also mean joining a professional network on Meetup or Facebook to connect with cybersecurity professionals in your area.

You can’t rely solely on others to provide you with the information you need to be successful. The automated nature of these programs means they can be a great time-saver. However, you will also be expected to engage in manual checks and tests to ensure that you don’t miss any issues. It can be overwhelming to determine what area of cybersecurity to specialize in. Network+ certifies the essential skills needed to confidently design, configure, manage and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks.

Both Master’s degrees and certificates can often be completed fully online, in the evenings, on the weekends, or on a part-time basis. This level of convenience and flexibility means many students manage to complete their studies while holding down a full-time job. But be careful not to pick an academic program just for its brand name; the school should have some level of specialization in cybersecurity. “Security has just gotten more and more important every single year and there is so much work to be done,” says Kunal Anand, CTO of Imperva, a cybersecurity company. Though cybersecurity is a relatively new field, it is rising in popularity and demand. In fact, cybersecurity is among the top 20 fastest-growing occupations, with more than half a million openings in the U.S.

Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed. You protect your home with locks or alarm systems; you protect your car with insurance, and you protect your health by going to the doctor. This can take the form of other, related work experience, or it can take the form of a structured internship or other formal hands-on learning. Workers in this specialty area may spearhead organizational efforts to create stronger passwords or limit web browsing to trusted sites.

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