Planning Your Career In Cybersecurity



With rapid digital transformation and cybersecurity threats on the rise, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity professionals are in demand. Software company Utimaco’s chief technology officer Nils Gerhardt estimates that the current workforce lacks enough cybersecurity professionals to populate a major city.

This means that now is a great time for aspiring cybersecurity professionals to enter the job market. But how exactly does one go about planning their career in cybersecurity? Below is a quick guide to get you started.

Determine the role you want

Cybersecurity is home to countless professions. In our ‘Complete Guide to Choosing a Cybersecurity Career’, we note that defining your values, expectations, and needs can help you find the right one. Do you want to be a consultant assessing the cybersecurity needs of various clients or a tester or hacker scrutinizing the effectiveness of existing cybersecurity practices? Maybe you want to be the engineer behind those practices instead — of you’re a people person who’d prefer ensuring compliance across departments as a cybersecurity manager. Knowing the particular profession, you want to pursue will help you figure out the level of education and experience you need to get the job you want.

Build your knowledge

TechBeacon lauds cybersecurity for its endless variety and growth, and for a good reason: you can capture a job even with little to no prior experience. For example, entry-level cybersecurity positions like security officer and entry-level analyst don’t usually require you to hold a bachelor’s degree in related fields. Conversely, mid-to high-level roles with more demanding responsibilities require bachelor’s or master’s degrees in cybersecurity, information technology, computer science, and computer engineering. You can choose to take a Bootcamp to build a basic IT skillset, land an entry-level job, or work your way up through experience. You can also opt to earn a degree first to take on more challenging roles right away.

Research the market

Research is crucial if you want to land a job with specific expectations regarding compensation, benefits, and responsibilities. This may sound not easy to do, but in reality, all you need is Google. Career development experts LHH explain that Google Alerts offers critical intelligence for job hunters. It doesn’t just provide you with relevant, industry-specific information. Google Alerts can inform you on a company’s culture and values and even keep you updated on personnel changes that give you insight into a company’s organizational structure and potential vacancies. More importantly, it prevents you from randomly scouring the Internet for potential jobs — saving you time and helping you find a job you can truly be passionate about.

Gain more experience

It’s now time to think of career growth and development. Since many high-level roles require cybersecurity experience spanning up to a decade or even longer, there’s a lot of room to work your way up. Many jobs also require certifications that establish your expertise. These are usually earned through exams, but you don’t need to stop working or spend money preparing for them. We wrote about passing the Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam using online resources like training videos and audiobooks. However, you’ll still need to prepare for hefty certification exams. If you wish to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree instead, you can study online at your own pace.

 Starting a cybersecurity career can be daunting — but it doesn’t have to be. By roughly planning your path and improving upon it as you go along, you can easily get to where you want to be.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.