How to Get Into a Cyber Security Career Path
Cyber security is a newer field, as the need for security specialists has increased in the last few decades as the digital revolution has impacted just about every industry. As a result, there isn’t a large enough supply of cyber security professionals to fill every open Cyber Security job posting. For those who are new to the field or just getting started, now is a great time to forge a path as a cyber security professional. Transferring to cyber security from a tech-related field will be easiest, but other options are available for anyone with proper motivation.
Some professionals start in cyber security by applying relevant skills learned in a different field. Working in software development, information technology, or systems administration can give you enough transferable skills to start in an entry-level cyber security role. You can use this as a starting point for higher-level positions later on down the line.
If you don’t have previous cyber security or technology experience, there are other ways to get started in the field. One option is to complete a traditional four-year undergraduate degree. Some schools offer a degree in cyber security — or a degree in computer science with a cyber security concentration. Completing a traditional degree program can allow you to explore many subjects over a long period, and is an excellent opportunity for students coming out of high school or anyone interested in a formal educational route into cyber security.
You can also pick up new cyber security skills by completing a cyber security bootcamp. Finishing a bootcamp can help you learn new skills in a flexible, online environment — allowing you to study without interrupting your existing responsibilities. The Cybersecurity Boot Camp at UT Austin can teach you the skills required to start a cyber security career. Topics covered include networking, Windows and Linux administration techniques, ethical hacking techniques, cyber security basics, and much more.
Cyber Security Requirements
Cyber security is a dynamic field that requires a mix of hard and soft skills to ensure long-term success. Here are some of the skills that are most important for cyber security professionals:
Cyber security professionals must have a strong understanding of computer systems and network systems. Understanding how to operate and maintain these systems and how they work is critical for professionals to protect them from intruders. Important topics include computer operating systems, software design and development, information technology, and networking.
Hacking And Exploiting Vulnerabilities
Defending against cyber threats requires understanding the avenues available for hackers. Knowing the vulnerabilities of a system can help a cyber security professional better defend those vulnerabilities.
Understanding how to communicate effectively is critical for cyber security professionals. Cyber security professionals often work with their managers, other teams of technology professionals, or even executive leadership. Presentation skills can help communicate about budgets, plans, and security protocols. Keep in mind that cyber security professionals often work with non-technical teams, so being able to communicate complex information in a simple format is critical to the role.
Learning And Growing
Cyber security is often described as an “arms race” — organizations are continuously fortifying their defenses while hackers and other criminals are always searching for new attack vectors. Cyber security professionals must stay up on best practices, common threats, and the direction of an industry as a whole, making the field a great fit for anyone who loves learning.
Cyber security professionals must be able to keep up to date with trends in the industry, ensuring they can defend against modern threats. Completing crucial cyber security certifications like CompTIA Security+, Network+, Cloud+, or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) can show employers that you have the credentials to work as a cyber security expert.
Some higher-level cyber security jobs might require a few years of applicable cyber security experience. Still, cyber security is a field where transferable technology skills can help you land an entry-level position due to the strong demand for cyber security professionals across all industries.
Cyber Security Job Outlooks
Cyber Security Job prospects for anyone working in the field of cyber security are incredibly strong, and the field is expected to grow incredibly quickly over the coming years. For example, according to the BLS, demand for Information Security Analysts is expected to grow by 33 percent by 2030. This growth is significantly faster than average, meaning that job prospects for the field are likely to stay strong for years to come. The demand for cyber security professionals has increased in recent years and is expected to remain high.
Modern cybercrimes are incredibly complex and can represent significant financial damages or lead to large data breaches, contributing to the rapid growth of the cyber security field. The consequences for an organization impacted by a cyberattack are severe, leading many organizations to increase the size of their cyber security team, or create a team if they didn’t have one in place. Because of this, the job outlook for cyber security professionals is expected to stay strong for a long time.
Cyber Security Job Salary
Salary prospects for cyber security and other tech-focused positions are incredibly strong. According to the BLS, the annual median salary for Information security analysts was $103,590 in 2020, significantly higher than the national average wage. Other similar fields have similarly high wages; for example, quality assurance analysts and testers reported a median annual salary of $110,140 in 2020, while network and computer systems administrators made $84,810. Cyber security professionals have very specialized skill sets, and their roles are very important to the functioning of an organization. As such, compensation is high in this field.
Is Cyber Security a Good Career? Begin Your Cyber Security Career Path Today!
Overall, the cyber security field provides excellent opportunities for nearly anyone with the right skill set. With many job openings and expected growth in the coming years, now is the time to get started in the field — even if you don’t have previous experience.
A cyber security bootcamp is a great starting point for anyone wanting to pick up cyber security knowledge. You’ll learn market-driven skills and work with skilled instructors to gain real-world experience. Whether you’re looking for a new career path entirely or wanting to upskill and take on new challenges in your current role, a bootcamp can be a great option in furthering your career.