What is cyber-security?
Security is protection, and cyber-security is the protection of properties in the cyber world, the internet, from cyber-attacks. Such property would include networks, computer systems, electronic data and confidential information. Cyber-attacks are perpetuated to gain access to internet users’ information to steal, destroy, sabotage or extort money.
The world is interconnected, which makes everyone on the internet exposed to these attacks. Therefore all of us, individuals, businesses, companies, and governments need to be involved in cyber-security to ensure our protection. We need to make security a very important part of our lives since every aspect of our lives can be accessed on the internet. Our financial information, health records, consumption patterns, movement can all be accessed on the web, so there is a need for protection.
This is a field with opportunities for people from all backgrounds. Anyone with interest in protecting cyber networks can find a role within cybersecurity which offers increasing opportunities for both technical as well as non-technical workers. This is due to an expanding digital world which is driving a growing need for skills in cybersecurity. The result is a shortage of skills for millions of vacant positions.
The field is very wide, with many different opportunities. There is also as varied a pay range as there are opportunities in this area. The role, as well as qualifications, often determine the pay range, but the pay is generally reasonable. Job titles also vary from company to company for the same role. Those roles can be a security generalist, security engineer, management, architecture, among many others. In addition, there are many non-traditional and part-time roles in cybersecurity.
Part-time gigs are used by many to hone their cybersecurity skills. Whether you are involved in cybersecurity part-time or full time, there is always room to grow your skills. Apart from being in the cybersecurity field, you may have an interest but not ready to change career and plan to get into the field sometime in the future. It would still be a good thing to prepare yourself by pursuing cyber-security courses to enter the field when you are ready. Such an effort will be well worth the time and effort. Whether in the field already or planning to become part of cybersecurity, you should keep learning.
Thinking of a career change and considering cybersecurity? You need to plan your change, determine the skills you need to develop then seek out the resources that will give you those skills to make that change successfully. There are some questions you need to ask and research the answers when considering a cybersecurity career.
Things to consider
Foremost would be your experience and certifications relevant to cybersecurity or the IT area you are considering, then:
• What should I learn to get a start?
• The skills I need to develop to prepare myself
• How can I get the experience I need?
• Are there openings for internships or entry-level?
About certifications, it has been noted that the pioneers of this field did not have degrees but developed their expertise through dedication and hard work. Many people in the field are self-taught and started in cybersecurity by the non-traditional path. But having a degree related to the field will give you an advantage with more options.
There are many paths to choose from in cybersecurity, and it would be necessary to focus on areas of most interest to you. A first step would be to list your preferred area and your skills. This will guide you to the post best suited for you. Once you have selected your area, you would need to research to learn about it. Also, connect with others in the field. This will help you to get advice and resources to support your cybersecurity journey.
Build on your skills
Having settled on an area you like, you now need to brush up on or learn needed skills. It might be a good thing to start with getting on with some basic programming to develop your ability to read and understand a language before you start your cybersecurity career. It is a good skill to develop in preparing for a job in this area.
You will also need to understand the mindset of the cybercriminal – the guy you will be working against. Other skills to develop will depend on your area of focus and an understanding of the systems you are working with and their possible weaknesses.
You also need to realize that cybersecurity is a constantly changing field, so it is wise to keep learning and brushing up your skills. Always have a willingness to learn and cultivate your ability to work as part of a team. The shortage of skills in the cybersecurity field may make it easier to land a job without going the traditional path. But having started, you should keep improving on both your skills and qualifications. Explore the resources available to you online, which can help you get certificates and even a degree in your area of expertise.