How to Get into the Cybersecurity Field

A lot of people ask me “How do I make it in the cybersecurity field”? Asking how do I get into cybersecurity is like saying how do I get into the military? Okay, so, that’s a broad statement because there are different branches within the military- you have the Navy, Army, Marines Corp, Coast Guard, Air Force, National Guard, and so on. The same goes with cybersecurity, it’s broad as well but I break them down into two main groups: The policy side and the technical side.

Technical Cybersecurity jobs

The technical side of cybersecurity consist of positions that are technical in nature and will require candidates to have more than the average computer skills such as computer networking, programming, vulnerability scanning, knowledge of security tools and how to use them. Some of these positions include Penetration Tester, Incident Response Analyst, Cyber Threat Hunter, Security Architect, Vulnerability Analyst, Forensic Analyst, Security Administrator, Security Engineer, SOC Analyst, and the list goes on

Policy Cybersecurity jobs

The policy side of cybersecurity consist of positions that are not technical in nature and will require candidates to prepare policy, procedure and guidelines documentation, attend meetings and provide guidance. Professionals in these types of jobs will also be required to be familiar with cybersecurity laws, regulations, best practices and the organization’s security policies. Some of these positions include Information System Security Officer, Security Controls Assessor, IT Security Auditor, Cyber Security Manager, Compliance Analyst, Governance Specialist, etc.

If you are wondering which one pays more, they both do. You can certainly find jobs on the technical side and policy side that pay six figure salaries.

First Step, find out about the different positions within cyber security

The first step is to find out about the different positions within cyber security and then see what position matches your personality type, your skillset or what you’re interested in. You can do this by searching job postings online (try Type “Cyber” “Cybersecurity” or “Security” as the keywords. Look at the job descriptions and see if they interest you.

Step Three, find out what certifications are required for your desired position

Next, find out what certifications are required for those jobs. From the job search you just did in step one, what certifications are required? Write them down. For Example, if you are looking for a Penetration testing job, the Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH) certification might be required (Keep in mind, this is a basic penetration test certification and you would likely need a more advanced one). If you are still unsure what you want to do within cybersecurity, then go for the CompTIA Security +. It’s an entry level certification that covers almost all aspects of Cybersecurity.

Step Four, get trained

Once you have identified the certification that you want to pursue, the next step would be to look for training. Look for a school (online or in a classroom) that teaches you about the certification and the necessary skills needed to perform the job.

Step Five, build your resume and start applying for jobs

If you are a rookie, add soft skills such as, active listener, team player, strong communicator, organization skills, report writing, customer service, and information gathering. These skills are universal and can translate over. If you have some IT experience under your belt, add that as well. Be sure to add any security skills, at the top of the list, in the skills section on your resume. Example, if you had helpdesk experience and you performed system updates or ran antivirus scans, add that to the top of the list of your skills.

Lastly, start searching for jobs with the words “Junior”, “Entry level”, “Tier 1”, “Consultant”. Example, “Junior Security Analyst”. Some of these positions may require little or no experience and often times, the employer might be willing to train you.

In summary, know that there are technical and policy-based cybersecurity jobs. You need to find out what positions exist within cybersecurity and find out what certifications are needed for those jobs. Get trained, build your resume and start job hunting. Hope this helped.

Posted by Ola Agun

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