Cyber-attacks have become a huge threat to businesses today. With just one attack, a business could lose crucial information leading to disruption of activities. Additionally, hackers could use the information they steal from a business for identity theft. Thus, companies who are victims of cyber-attacks not only loose profits, but their reputation can get ruined and they can face huge record fines for the data breach. In worst case scenarios, victims may go into bankruptcy. As business owners recognize the serious side effects of cyber-attacks, they are taking more measures to safeguard their businesses. This has led to an increase in the demand for cyber security professionals. According to this article by Forbes, the cyber security market is expected to grow to $170 billion by 2020, up from $75 billion in 2015.
Companies either hire internal staff or outsource their cyber security issues to professionals. One of the key reasons organizations in the US outsource cyber security to service providers is so that they can access greater expertise. Some do it to save on costs. So, what does it take to become that expert companies are looking for? Whether you are an IT expert looking to advance your skills, or a fresh graduate seeking a career path, below are some tips that can be helpful when it comes to becoming a cyber-security expert.
Know What It Entails
There is no doubt that cyber security is a good career, but it is not the ideal choice for every person. So, before you sign up for training, find out what working as a cyber-security professional entails. What tasks do cyber security professionals carry out? What kind of training do you require? What skills do you need to succeed in the industry? Where can you find jobs? What are the risks? In brief, cyber security professionals work to protect companies’ information and systems from attacks.
Some of the soft skills you need for the success of your career in this field include problem solving, logical thinking, attention to detail, communication, analytical thinking, and collaboration, among many others. You can grow your skillset by taking some online courses or making use of free online resources. Some things will come naturally for you whereas for others you will have to take time to learn and practice. Examples of the technical skills include intrusion detection, programming, security analysis, risk analysis, cloud security, risk mitigation and malware analysis among others. Since it is all things computers and technology, your heart has to be there.
You can still work in cyber security without a relevant degree, but getting one has a number of benefits. For instance, when you have a cyber-security or computer science degree, your employment opportunities and benefits can be better. This is because some companies will only hire those who have attained a certain education level. Also, as you study your degree, you will attain valuable skills and knowledge necessary for the success of your career. In addition to an undergraduate program, consider a master’s degree in cyber security as well.
Other than a college degree, you should also consider certifications. With certifications, you will grow your skills as a professional. Certifications can also boost your chances of getting picked by a company when there is stiff competition for the position. This is because certifications prove to your potential employers that you have expertise in a certain area. Don’t forget about the pay; the more you invest in yourself, the more you qualify for better paying positions or jobs. Investing in certifications can also be good proof that you are serious about your career. They will boost your credibility as an employee or service provider. Certifications are a good place to start for those who want to get into cyber security without going back to school for a cyber-security degree.
Examples of cyber security certifications are as follows: CompTIA security+ (including comptia security+ sy0-501), Certified Information Security Professional (CISSP) certification, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification, Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information System Auditor (CISA), System Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), among many others.
Before you choose any certifications, first evaluate your goals and the aim of the course. Each course is intended to achieve its own purpose and is designed with specific individuals in mind. A CEH course, for instance, is a good fit for those who handle integrity issues for the network infrastructure. Ask yourself the following questions before picking a course – what is the goal of the certification? Who should attend? Who is the supplier? Are they authorized and reputable? Are the course goals in line with your professional goals? You can take a cyber security training course or similar to learn a new skill necessary to change or advance your career or even move to a better paying position. Understand how you will benefit as a professional before signing up for cyber security training. You can explore and compare cyber security training using sites such as findcourses.com.
Another tip for becoming an expert in cyber security is to invest in self-learning. Work on being the person who learns something new every day or week. You don’t have to spend hours and hours reading; reading one blog post or news article a day can make a huge difference in your career. Keep checking what others are saying to stay up to date with the current happenings in the industry. Also, read to grow your skills, both the soft and the technical. And as you read, don’t forget to apply what you are learning. If something seems hard, practice until you get it.
Connect with Other People
Don’t isolate yourself once you become a professional. Get to know other professionals and experts in the field. Attend seminars, conferences and other networking events as often as possible. Don’t forget that interaction can be done online too. So, look for forums and groups you can join to learn from others. Be a contributor in forums so that others can learn from you too. Finally, don’t forget to look into mentorship. If you are just starting out, get someone to walk with you so that you can get the benefit of their knowledge and expertise – this could help you settle into the role a lot easier, and give you someone you know you can turn to with any questions about the job. The company you work with may have a mentorship program in place that you could sign up for (and Together takes a look at mentor matching so you could find out what the process of getting matched with a mentor may entail). As you grow in skills and knowledge, be a mentor to others. Mentoring others is a great encounter that will give you the opportunity to go over what you have learnt in the past and more opportunities to learn and grow. You will also get that sense of satisfaction knowing that you helped someone jumpstart their career.
As a cyber-security expert, you can have a rewarding career knowing that you are helping companies keep their info and systems safe and away from hackers. It is also one of those jobs that never gets boring and has lots of opportunities for growth and learning. Also, you can find jobs in so many different fields. Finally, you will get to take home a good pay check every month. However, note that salary should not be the only determining factor when it comes to choosing a job. You have to check whether you are up to the task first, otherwise you will be shifting careers sooner than later. Cyber security professionals earn roughly between $45 and $55 an hour.