In the modern age, a cybersecurity expert acts as a watchdog. Cybersecurity experts work with businesses and organisations to keep networks and data safe.
One of a cybersecurity specialist’s main duties is to keep track of their company’s systems and report any problems to management. They are also in charge of foreseeing potential threats and providing advice about how to deal with them.
What is a cybersecurity specialist?
Depending on the size and shape of his or her company or organisation, a cybersecurity specialist can wear a variety of hats.
Cybersecurity experts, as the job description suggests, are supposed to provide a certain degree of experience and knowledge that enables them to provide guidance and training on the most up-to-date digital best practises.
Cybersecurity experts may have in-depth knowledge of a specific vendor’s product (such as CISCO Systems, which manufactures networking and IT products), or they may have experience with other domains such as computer operating systems or mobile applications.
A cybersecurity specialist can be thought of as someone who monitors a company’s or organization’s security while also assisting other employees and teammates in staying current on best practises.
This position is crucial because data breaches are often caused by employees, either deliberately or unintentionally.
Four key steps to becoming a cybersecurity specialist
1. Education: Most cybersecurity specialist positions, like the majority of other cybersecurity jobs, require some sort of formal education. However, since cybersecurity specialist positions cover such a broad range of job descriptions and duties, a specialist job can be obtained after completing many levels of cybersecurity education.
In other words, people with a cybersecurity associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree will work as cybersecurity specialists. Furthermore, several cybersecurity specialists found jobs after completing a similar degree (such as computer science, engineering, or mathematics) and/or gaining relevant work experience.
2. Industry certifications and clearances: Obtaining the required industry certifications and/or clearances is a vital phase in job planning, as it is in many other cybersecurity career paths.
It’s a good idea to start thinking about what certifications an employer may need, or what certifications make job applicants more competitive in their profession.
Here are a few examples of the different types of cybersecurity certifications available:
Security+ is a CompTIA qualification that is widely recognised by cybersecurity practitioners as a foundational credential. The topics of risk management and threat evaluation are included.
CompTIA offers Network + as well. This credential focuses on networking technology and operations, as the name suggests. It is regarded as a basic qualification.
A more specialised qualification, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), is reserved for cybersecurity practitioners with at least five years of experience. Architecture, engineering, and management are among the subjects covered by the credential.
Since it normally allows candidates to have several years of work experience, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential is often considered a more advanced cert. The aim of an ethical hacker credential is to develop threat assessment and mitigation skills by understanding how cyber attacks unfold.
These are just a few of the many cybersecurity certifications that are accessible. When looking for cybersecurity work openings, it’s a good idea to keep track of the certifications that employers are looking for.
When applying for cybersecurity specialist jobs, it’s also a good idea to inquire about professional development programmes, such as certifications that an employer will pay for.
3. Experience: Another important aspect of obtaining a job as a cybersecurity specialist is demonstrating relevant experience.
This can be in the form of a structured internship or other formal hands-on learning, or it can be in the form of other similar work experience.
4. Network: Looking for opportunities to grow a professional network is always a good idea.
There are a variety of specialist cybersecurity associations and groups with a network-oriented approach that are explicitly structured to notify members about job openings and professional development opportunities.
A good place to start is Digital Guardian’s list of the top 50 cybersecurity networking groups and professional organisations.
What do cybersecurity specialists do?
Security evaluations of computer hardware and software systems are created and implemented by cybersecurity experts. They ensure that the systems work as they should and are secure from attack.
A cybersecurity specialist’s work can be very routine at times. They are in charge of ensuring that networks and operating systems are up to date and free of software bugs.
Furthermore, security specialists are responsible for ensuring that other coworkers are kept up to date on security best practises, which could require them to serve as a trainer or counsellor.
Designing firewalls and other protection mechanisms to ensure that information and proprietary networks are compatible with the most current security requirements is another part of a cybersecurity specialist’s task.
Cybersecurity experts are also in charge of continuously monitoring security systems and networks for irregularities and documenting and reporting on their findings.
Skills for specialists
Cybersecurity professionals play an interesting role in the businesses and institutions where they work. People in this role are often hired for their social skills as well as their technical abilities.
Cybersecurity experts must be able to interact effectively and work well in groups. Coaching and advising coworkers on security best practises is a common part of the job.
In addition, cybersecurity experts are often called upon in times of crisis or disaster, as well as when networks or data structures are malfunctioning. As a result, the ability to survive in “emergency” situations is critical.
Finally, becoming a security specialist can entail assisting coworkers in adopting new technologies and security software as it evolves. However, most people are averse to change, especially if it necessitates learning a new operating procedure or work-flow. As a result, the ability to express the rationale for the transition, as well as the ability to appeal to the desires and objections of coworkers, is crucial.
Cybersecurity experts must be at ease in a continuously changing and shifting environment. New digital attack vectors and mechanisms emerge on a regular basis, and a cybersecurity expert is charged with determining what skills and expertise are needed to defend against these new threats.
This frequently necessitates continued education, both in the form of formal, industry-recognized certifications and informal learning and monitoring of industry developments.
A cybersecurity expert should be like a Swiss Army knife of the digital world in terms of expertise, experience, and general attitude. This role requires multi-disciplinary skills and the ability to adapt to a wide range of circumstances.
Outlook for cybersecurity specialists
According to a new PayScale survey, the majority of workers with the job title cybersecurity specialists are satisfied with their employment.
According to Payscale, cybersecurity professionals are paid differently based on their expertise, roles, and place. A specialist’s salary varies from $45,644 to $115,841. The average salary is $74,140 a year.
Employment prospects for cybersecurity specialists are expected to rise 36 percent by 2024, far faster than other careers, indicating an increasing demand for cybersecurity expertise in all fields and career levels.