With cyber threats on the rise, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is currently very high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that cybersecurity occupations will grow by 11% by 2029, creating nearly 531,200 new jobs.
To top it off, a 2019 report by Burning Glass shows that cybersecurity job postings have had a 94% growth since 2013— so it's safe to say the demand for cybersecurity skills isn't going away soon.
New to the cybersecurity world and don't know where to start? Our guide will cover everything you need to know regarding the profession, from the necessary skills to valuable certifications.
But before then, let's answer the main question; what is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the practice of defending electronic systems, computers, mobile phones, servers and data from malicious attacks. Corporations regularly handle loads of sensitive data, and cybersecurity experts protect the data from increasing cyber threats.
If you would like to be a cybersecurity professional, continue reading to learn about the skills and certifications you need to advance your career.
How to Get Into Cybersecurity
Many people pursue a cybersecurity degree in order to start or move forward in their cybersecurity career.
Even so, historically not all cybersecurity professionals have a degree specifically in cybersecurity, or in fact, a degree at all. As noted by Essential Security against Evolving Threats (ESET) Distinguished Researcher Aryeh Goretsky, who taught himself back in the 1980s, "Most people had to self-taught themselves about cybersecurity."
Whether you need to go to school or teach yourself, your cybersecurity skills should include::
- Excellent communications skills- ability to read and write well
- Ability to work as part of a team
- High levels of discretion and integrity
- Organizations problems solving skills
The skills above are general skills. Most importantly, you should have the ability to capture the course-related skills, which include excellent programming skills, ability to detect malicious codes, deploy network protocols, and manage intruder techniques.
Self-Taught Vs. Cybersecurity Degree
As we earlier mentioned, you can get cybersecurity education by either going to school or teaching yourself. Here are the main pros and cons of each option:
Self-Taught Cybersecurity Pros
- Flexibility to learn anytime
- You can learn at your own pace
- Cost-effective because you don't pay for the course
- Lack of in-person interaction with peers and instructor can reduce the morale
- Requires a high level of self-discipline
- You might not get the cybersecurity certificate to prove that you have the skills/knowledge
Cybersecurity Degree Pros
- A cybersecurity degree makes the job hunting process easier
- Cybersecurity courses are detailed- you learn the basics, plus management, leadership and much more
- Investment for the cybersecurity degree can pay itself within a short time after employment
- School interactions with the instructors and other students increase your exposure
- Most institutions offer flexible courses, meaning that you can choose either the online or offline option
Cybersecurity Degree Cons
- Courses at some schools can be costly relative to when you're self-taught.
Both options are great, but generally, it's better to register for a cybersecurity degree if you need to get detailed knowledge and get a cybersecurity certificate.
What Is Needed To Work In Cybersecurity?
You should have the passion and the skills earlier discussed. You should also have in-depth technical know-how regarding cybersecurity systems. When looking for a job, firms may require you to have a related job experience.
Here is a brief look into the courses that you can undertake in schools and how you can make it if you choose to be a self-taught student.
How Self Taught Professionals Learn to Hack It
Like any other discipline, cybersecurity can be self-taught. Now that there are many resources online, you can access many self-taught tutorials, follow them and advance your cybersecurity skills. Here are few tips to guide you if you plan to be a self-taught professional:
Pick A Focus
Cybersecurity is broad, and you need to have a specific niche. Your focus should be solely inspired by your interests. For instance, if your website recently got hacked, you may need to focus on website security to prevent a similar issue happening again.
Similarly, you can focus on becoming a cybersecurity sales engineer if you are a salesperson. Other possible areas you can focus on include security consulting, penetration testing, cloud security, computer forensics analyzing, etc.
Research and Invest In Self-Teaching
As we mentioned earlier, there are many online tutorials for self-teaching. The main one is YouTube, which teaches through self-explanatory videos. Other platforms to consider include TopCoder, Codewars, Tryhackme, etc.
Try an internship
After learning, you may need to get an internship to weigh your skills. The internship can also help you improve your skills in the areas which you didn't understand well, and can lead to permanent employment at its conclusion.
Career Path for a Professional with a Cybersecurity Degree
Do you need a degree to work in cybersecurity? Yes, most companies and hiring managers require cybersecurity professionals to have a degree. The cybersecurity job requirements may vary from firm to firm.
Still, the degree provides enough proof that you have all the skills and the experiences needed to offer maximum protection to a company's data and electronic devices.
Most cybersecurity degree programs last for four years and focus on various methods used to protect information and data systems in organizations. The students receive both business and technical skills training on systems administrations, data recovery and database.
Some of the top cybersecurity titles for the graduates include security engineers, security analysts, cryptographers, security software developers, etc.
Here is a step by step Career Path guide for a Professional with a Cybersecurity degree:
Step 2: Complete the advanced training-some employers require the candidates to have an advanced cybersecurity degree, such as a master's degree in Information Systems.
Step 3: Pass the security clearances -security clearances are vital for the people who need to work for the government or a military agency. Many agencies issue security clearances, but most are issued by the department of defense.
There you go! Your school will provide you with a diploma and transcript at the completion of your degree. The program could also include certifications, demonstrating your additional skills. You can then go for an internship or look for a job best fit for your skills.
Baker College offers competitive cybersecurity courses to qualified persons, including adults. For more information on cybersecurity courses and careers, get in touch with us for a quicker response.