Cyber Security Career Straightalk: Where to begin
Interested in a career in cyber security but don’t know where to start? It can certainly be confusing trying to make sense out of all the information and recommendations that are out there. There is, however, some consensus among companies, educators, and IT professionals as to some best practices when pursuing a degree in cyber security. Several of these top recommendations are provided below:
A great first step is to start with IT. Learn the basics of computers, networks, and systems. Take a few classes and get some basic IT certifications. Read IT materials like they are going out of style. Start working in IT to gain experience while continuing to work towards a career in cyber security. The reality is that most cyber security professionals are IT experts with business acumen.
View cyber security job profiles to get a sense of the type of roles in cyber security.
Another common recommendation is to experiment at home with building computers and systems. Offer to wipe clean old computers for friends and family members who are disposing of them. Use the parts to build and experiment with these parts to build new machines. The mastery of the fundamentals which will accompany this type of activity will not only help with preparation for real scenarios on the job, but it will also provide first-hand experiences to share with potential employers.
A career in cyber security will require sifting through large amounts of data. Identifying potential flaws and trends and of course intrusions are a big part of the job. Don’t overlook taking classes and training in data analytics. Becoming a data ninja will certainly put a cyber security career seeker in a strong position.
Degree or No Degree?
There’s often some debate as to whether a college degree is necessary to become a cyber security professional. The consensus is that there are some companies and organizations that require a college degree for a position. These positions though are not typically just entry-level. They are also not the only place to start. So ultimately, yes, getting a college degree in cybersecurity is important, however starting with some great certifications such as Certified Information System Security Professional -CISSP and gaining some experience is a great path to start down.
Since cyber security is still in its infancy, it’s more like the wild west with regards to how much education someone needs and in what area, but as the profession matures, you may get a leg up by having a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security. Read on to see why a Degree in Cyber Security Matters.
The field of cybersecurity can be an intimidating field to get into, but it doesn’t have to be. With the drive to learn and gain experience, a person can evolve into an excellent candidate for very desirable cybersecurity positions. Don’t let starting from the beginning stand in the way. Everyone has to start somewhere.