Careers in tech: Getting into cybersecurity is easier than you think
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A lot of people think cybersecurity is all about hacking into or preventing cyberattacks. However, it is actually about learning how technology works and the role it plays in securing organisations, and people across the network, endpoint, cloud and applications.
The cybersecurity field is growing rapidly and has something for everyone. There are multiple pathways to enter this field and even those with entry level skills and experience are needed (including administration, management, education, and technology) with the opportunity to specialise having far-reaching potential.
A study by Indeed revealed that the top 11 economies worldwide currently face a collective talent gap of 4.07 million jobs. To meet that need, the global workforce in cybersecurity will need to increase by 145 percent.
There are different levels of career opportunities available in this field, ranging from technical/engineering, consultative, advisory, strategic/management, operational and leadership focused.
There are also different categories and subcategories between network, endpoint, cloud, access, and application security.
“It’s important to understand which area you would like to go into first. Then having a look at what key certifications those areas are looking for so that you can upskill with these goals in mind. Even the unskilled can apply for the different roles available because many companies offer on the job training opportunities,” says Ranisha Reddy, Cyber Security Specialist at Cisco.
There are a multitude of cybersecurity courses available, starting from industry specific courses like CISM, CISSP, CompTia Security+, CHFI, CISA, CISM, CRISC and more. These can be acquired in three months, six months or one year – depending on the programme and your pace.
It is also good to note that some of these courses need industry experience to certify. These are courses offered by more than 600 different vendors in the cybersecurity sector.
Cisco is also one of the largest cybersecurity vendors in the industry with certifications that are highly sought after.
“As a student, we have our NetAcademies, which offer courses designed to prepare you for industry related certifications. Then we have the Cisco cybersecurity accreditations with CyberOps Associate, CyberOps Professional, CCNP security and CCIE Security,” says Reddy.
The industry is always looking for skilled professionals, but it is also continuously investing in individuals who seek to build up those skills. Whether you are a graduate, early in career or emerging, you can easily pivot into a career in cybersecurity.
Here are the three ways to build towards a career in cybersecurity
Learn about the industry
If you are at a graduate phase, consider technology related degrees. Understand which companies are offering internship or graduate programmes that you could apply to. Speak to people in different areas of the industry to get a grasp of what options are available and what they consist of. If you are early or emerging in your career, supplement your current skills with sought-after certifications.
Leverage resources available to get started
If you are new to cybersecurity or are pivoting from a business-related field to cybersecurity, initially this could be a challenge. However, it is one that is easily overcome by leveraging resources that are available such as study or support groups. Speaking to professionals in the industry can also help you navigate through this. You can also join cybersecurity communities and forums.
Having a mentor and sponsor can also open doors in the industry and help you grow your network and skills. This mentor should be someone whose path you would like to follow that you can learn from and a sponsor being someone who can open doors for you that you may not have access to.