How Can You Get Cyber Security Experience Without a Job?- When you don’t have a job, the best way to gain cyber security experience is to go through the steps of 1) developing a foundation of technical knowledge to share, 2) implementing technology on a personal level as proof, 3) gaining real-world technical experience in a volunteer setting, and 4) participating in cyber security competitions.
All of this, I’m sure, sounds easier said than done. You could also be unsure if this method will actually work. I’ve seen it work before, but if you’re not sure where to begin, keep reading as I walk you through my four-step strategy for gaining cyber security technical experience.
Opportunity comes before knowledge
According to Brian Tracy, success comes at a cost, and that cost must be paid in full and in advance. In other words, you must first put in the effort before reaping the rewards of achievement. The same may be said about our efforts to build experience in cyber security. If you don’t know what a computer is, for example, you won’t be able to gain cyber security experience in any realistic scenario. Because you’ll need a foundation to build on, your first step will be to develop a basic degree of technical expertise that you may apply later in your internship.
Step #1: Build up a base level of technical knowledge
To begin, set aside some time each day to study about computers and technology. Reviewing basic computer repair and networking topics, such as material for the CompTIA A+ or Network+ examinations, is a smart place to start. Because every company has a computer and a basic network, this content is always a smart place to start because these abilities can be utilised to aid just about anyone.
By studying and learning a little every day, you will be able to develop a foundation of technical knowledge that will far exceed the level of information that most people have in general in a relatively short period of time. Assuming you commit to studying and learning every day, you should be able to acquire this foundational level of knowledge within a few weeks, if you don’t already have it.
If you spend one hour a day over the next four weeks reading about technology, you will have obtained more technical knowledge than 90% of the world’s population. This expertise sets you apart from the competition and allows you to take advantage of experience chances in the coming levels.
Step #2: Finish a little technical project for yourself or a friend
Almost everyone who has no prior experience begins by completing odd technology jobs for family and friends. Repairing a computer for a neighbour, setting up an internet router for your home, setting up a new computer for a grandfather, or installing wifi in a friend’s home are all examples of this. These are all simple activities that you can figure out how to do because you’ve been learning in step #1, and they’ll be useful when we go on to step #3 and apply our technical knowledge in the real world. And it’s possible that you’ve already been doing this, which means you’re already ahead of the game.
Step #3: Volunteer to provide your technical expertise
So far, nothing we’ve done has been resume-worthy enough to persuade a company to hire us. In this stage, we’ll change that by volunteering to provide technical assistance to a non-profit organisation.
Volunteering, or what I refer to as “related volunteer experience,” is crucial for gaining cyber security skills because it goes right on your resume. They are, however, one part of a CV that many people miss. Work-related volunteer experience can be beneficial on a resume because it can serve as a substitute for basic experience for those who lack it, as well as speak well of a person’s goodness and personality. Senior hiring managers have hired individuals with limited experience because of their technical volunteer experience on their résumé. It’s all about being efficient when it comes to gaining cyber security experience.
What is the best way to get volunteer experience?
Consider this: Most nonprofits and community organisations require technical assistance but lack the necessary resources. With this in mind, make a list of the organisations with which you, your family, and your friends are involved. Because you’re already connected in some way, these groups are easier to join. Consider your neighborhood’s churches, recreation councils, non-profit groups, private schools, and small businesses. What are your personal passions and interests, and what local organisations are associated with them? Once you’ve narrowed down someone you’d like to assist, reach out to them and inquire about how you may assist. Allow them to think about what requirements they could have. Asking them to examine their requirements and letting them know you’ll contact them again in a week is a good way to go about it. Allow them to ask around the office and come up with ideas on their own. And do everything in person. This is more efficient than sending an email. By a long shot.
Assuring that the volunteer experience will be beneficial
I’ve discovered that measuring a project or volunteer work against three characteristics is one of the greatest ways to ensure that it will be resume-worthy for folks seeking cyber security experience. If you match these three criteria, you’re almost certain to have a fantastic project or volunteer experience that a hiring manager will be interested in learning about.
- Need – Make sure the task you’ll be doing meets a genuine demand within the organisation. The last thing you want is a project that is purely administrative or does not advance the organisation. If you volunteer to take out the garbage for me, but it’s already been done or it’s something I can do myself, you’re not actually addressing a need and risk finishing a project with little impact.
- Influence – Ensure that your efforts will have a favourable impact on the company. If you worked on a project that was needed, but they aren’t better off because you didn’t finish it or give results, it’s nothing to brag about. Ascertain that your efforts had a good impact on the organisation.
- Expertise – Make sure you’re utilising your technical knowledge and expertise. There are many ways to volunteer, but make sure the job you do focuses on the abilities you want to offer to a potential employer. Returning to our previous example, you could volunteer to take out the garbage for me, but fixing a computer system or providing some code is significantly more effective because it’s far more likely to be something the organisation can’t accomplish on its own. This is what distinguishes it as a valuable addition to a CV.
Step #4: Start attending cyber security competitions
At this stage, you’ve received some background information and have volunteered to aid someone. You’re starting to gain some traction. If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to complete the final stage of our four-part experience creation process. Beginners frequently ignore this stage, to the point that it’s nearly criminal. It’s time to start competing in cyberspace.
It’s okay if you don’t understand what I’m talking about, so let me explain the essentials. For starters, cyber security competitions are held all over the world, and they are usually held at least once a month. Second, many are unrestricted. Third, the majority of them do not necessitate any prior knowledge. Simply register and bring your laptop. Fourth, they all offer a fantastic opportunity to gain experience. Simply run a Google search for cyber security competitions in my area or capture the flag competitions in my area to get started on this stage.
Following the procedures mentioned here will help you gain experience and bring your resume to the point where you can start talking to employers about employment that will allow you to gain even more experience. Don’t skimp on any of the steps and simply do it.
Step #5: Spread the word about your cybersecurity efforts to everyone you know
Advertising what we do and our successes is a step that many of us ignore, and that many of us are uncomfortable with. “Work like hell and advertise,” as Ted Turner put it. We must put in the effort, but we must also inform others about the job that we are doing and want to perform.
Personally, I’m not very good at it. I prefer to work in the shadows. However, it is preferable if you can spread the news about the first four steps. Inform your friends and family about your interest in cybersecurity, what you’re studying, where you’ve volunteered, and the competitions you’ve attended. This will assist spread the word about your desire to gain additional experience, as well as make you feel like you’re part of the cybersecurity community.
Is cyber security a difficult task?
Cyber security is certainly on par with any other knowledge-based profession that necessitates ongoing education. Cyber security is not physically hard and does not necessitate long hours, but it does necessitate dedication and determination to remain current.
How long does it take to get knowledgeable about cyber security?
A reasonable schedule for a beginning is three to five years, depending on whether they are studying full-time or part-time and what their career ambitions are. It will be easier to get into a broad information technology position first.