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Career Change to Cybersecurity

What You Need for a Career Change to Cybersecurity

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By Reciprocity Inc

Cyberattacks have become more prevalent and devastating to businesses. And since no organization is immune to intrusions, there’s a rising demand for cybersecurity specialists. Considering the acute shortage of qualified cybersecurity specialists, a career change to cybersecurity can pay off.

To help you make an informed decision, here’s an overview of the cybersecurity industry and what you need to break into the job market.

Cybersecurity careers are growing rapidly

Digital life has become a mainstay aspect in the modern world, and the trend continues to be pervasive. But it comes with the risk of exposing sensitive data to cybercriminals.

Cybersecurity professionals are tasked with developing and implementing security measures that protect personal and organizations’ data. According to the 2020 data breach report, the average cost of a data breach is estimated at $3.86 million. Also, predictions by industry experts show that the global cost of cyberattacks will cross the $6 trillion mark in 2021.

There is a growing need for cybersecurity professionals to help ward off cyberthreats. In fact, a recent study shows that about 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will remain vacant in 2021 globally. And as cyberattacks become more severe, less than 50% of businesses and organizations are ready to deal with a security incident.

Faster than many careers, there is a rising demand for cybersecurity professionals. According to data from BLS, information security jobs will experience a 32% growth through 2028.

Basic education requirements

A career in cybersecurity doesn’t require security-focused degrees. According to a recent survey, only 36% of cybersecurity specialists agree that a cybersecurity degree is essential in entry-level jobs. This means a majority of professionals are entering this career through training and certifications.

Nevertheless, you need a combination of technical and soft skills to succeed in this career.

Technical skills

Risk assessment and management

This is among the vital skills any cybersecurity professional should master. It involves the identification and analysis of possible threats to evaluate the plethora of risks facing an organization. The primary function is to ensure that businesses have appropriate security measures based on the prevailing risks.

Information systems and authentication

Information systems involve the modalities of gathering, processing, and transmitting data. Cybersecurity specialists must have a clear understanding of the data routes and the series of operations performed. This is important in threat identification and implementing sufficient protective measures.

Authentication is a crucial skill involving thorough vetting of user identity before granting access to data. Cybersecurity specialists design new authentication protocols and continually audit existing protocols for possible data breaches.

Penetration testing

Penetration testing checks system vulnerabilities through a simulated cyber-attack. After planning the desired test parameters, specialists perform an audit on the system to determine how it responds to the breach. Based on the pen test analysis, cybersecurity professionals then design and deploy protective measures in the system.

Cloud security and digital forensics

Cloud systems are a collection of servers and computers that you can access remotely. Consequently, cloud security involves methods and processes of protecting data, applications, and resources stored on the cloud. On the other hand, digital forensics helps cybersecurity specialists use digital clues to investigate and discover intrusion attempts.

Soft skills

Teamwork and management skills

Contrary to popular belief, cybersecurity specialists are not lone rangers that execute solutions independently. Most organizations have teams that collaborate to ensure system security. And since cybersecurity is about dealing with the human factor, it’s vital to have good people skills and teamwork ethics. Most importantly, you ought to be adept at managing projects and strict deadlines.

Problem-solving skills

Competent cybersecurity specialists have honed the ability to study problems, analyze, and respond with a viable solution. Ideally, cybersecurity is about preempting possible security issues and providing solutions before the intrusion incident happens.

Communication skills

Occasionally, cybersecurity specialists are required to communicate complex technical issues to a non-technical audience. Therefore, it’s vital to hone the ability to simplify highly technical topics and present the information in a simple language.

How to acquire the cybersecurity skills and demonstrate sufficient experience

Whether you come from a technical background or not, the easiest way of mastering these skills is by attending cybersecurity bootcamps. Unlike college degrees, bootcamps offer a cheap and quick way to upgrade your cybersecurity skills.

The study model also provides a flexible instruction process, and students can choose between in-person, virtual, full-time, or part-time programs.

To demonstrate cyber security-specific skills, you can attend hackathons. These events provide the opportunity to work on problems and showcase your proficiency in a time-constrained setting.

Get certified

Potential employers are keen on your certifications. Typically, cybersecurity certifications demonstrate that you understand your stuff and are competent for the job. There are numerous certifications available.

CompTIA Certifications is an excellent starting point for beginners, and it’s widely recognized in the industry. There are three main CompTIA certification paths including:

  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Security+

If you’re an entry-level professional with a good knowledge of computers, you can start at CompTIA Security+. Getting this certification can open lucrative opportunities in the industry.

Regardless of your experience, you can switch your career to cybersecurity. And there has never been a better time to make the leap. As long as you are passionate about protecting people and organizations, you can succeed in this industry. However, cybersecurity is a fast-paced field, and you have to keep upgrading your knowledge.

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