How to Choose the Right IT Career for You: Cybersecurity
Updated: Apr 11
Cybersecurity is rapidly growing at an exponential rate with no signs of slowing down. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Information Security Analyst's Outlook, Cybersecurity jobs are amongst the fastest-growing career areas nationally and BLS predicts cybersecurity jobs will grow by 35% through 2031. As the world becomes increasingly connected, there is an ever-growing need for professionals to protect networks, systems, and data from malicious threats. The Cybersecurity field is indeed an exciting career path that offers a plethora of opportunities for those looking for entry level roles or seeking a career change. Cybersecurity professionals can choose from a board range of job titles and responsibilities within different industries from government to private companies, no matter your choice, you will definitely be able to find the perfect career that caters to your needs as a working professional and as an individual.
What You Should Know to Get Started
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity encompasses protecting an organization and its employee's assets against malicious attacks.
Is a career in cybersecurity worth it?
Yes absolutely, however there is more to know about cybersecurity than great pay, flexibility and being a part of a team protecting an organization's technology so having an understanding and ensuring you have the foundational knowledge to get you on your way is very important. Just like any other field in IT, Cybersecurity is no different as it is competitive and many employers often time will look for individuals that have some form of experience compared to those that may not.
What do I need to get started to learn about this career path?
You can learn anything you'll need and gain the real-world experience at your fingertips with the help of courses on Udemy, Coursera, Cybrary, NextGenT, university courses, bootcamps, LinkedIn and of course, YouTube.
Here is some foundational knowledge on what I believe can help you choose the right IT career specifically in Cybersecurity.
Types of Cybersecurity:
Network Security - help identify and block network attacks
Cloud Security - help identify attacks and secure cloud computing systems such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud
Endpoint Security - help secure end user devices such as desktops, laptops and mobile devices
Mobile Security - protecting sensitive information stored on mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and any wearable devices
Internet of Things (IoT) Security - securing devices and networks that are connected to the internet i.e. security cameras
Application Security - protecting applications and application codes from unauthorized access and modifications
Data Security - protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of an organization's data
Certifications you should seek:
Security + - validates your knowledge of security and its components
Network + - validates your knowledge of networking and its components
Cybersecurity Analyst - (CYSA+) - validates your knowledge of security monitoring of the behavioral analytics of networks and devices to prevent, detect and combat cybersecurity threats
*A+ is optional; however, it provides you the foundational knowledge of computing and security
Network Administrator - Oversee an organization’s computer systems or database networks to ensure proper maintenance and security
System Administrator - maintains, monitors and configures computer systems
Cybersecurity Analyst - monitor to computer networks identifying security incidents or issues.
SOC Analyst - As part of a team, you'll provide technical support to end users by assist with monitoring security threats and preventing unauthorized access and assist with making improvements to systems
NOC Analyst - As part of a team, you'll provide technical support to end users, monitor and troubleshoot any network issues and/or devices connected to the network.
Information Security Analyst - help investigate and install security measures to protect organization's users and assets
I took the time to go through a few Cybersecurity related roles and compiled the most common terms used and a brief description of the meaning this will help those that are looking to transfer their related skills. So, ask yourself, if there was any role you had in the past in which you were responsible for similar actions or learned any skills that at the time, you didn't utilize that may be important now.
security audits - assess overall security posture
risk analysis - identify any adverse conditions that could negatively impact an organization
security incident handling - threat to an organization's security policy "Can you recognize any security policy violations?"
networking - what is a network? How is data transmitted? routers, gateways, firewalls block incoming/outgoing traffic
Operating Systems - Windows, Linux, MacOS and Unix (depending)
Intrusion detection systems - monitors network traffic and searches for suspicious activity
Malware - designed to cause disruption in a computer system i.e. virus
Phishing - often times fake emails attempting to obtain sensitive information
Denial of Service (DOS) attacks - when a network is overloaded with traffic and a system becomes inaccessible
With the right qualifications and experience, cybersecurity professionals can find rewarding careers in various industries; staying update on the latest threats and working on new, innovative technology to help companies keep user information safe and secure. As an IT professional, myself, I spent a few years working within the Information Security sector at the time, it wasn't called, "Cybersecurity" and its far more advance now than it was 20 years ago but learning about the importance of safeguarding information and technology assets has been foundational in my professional career and so will it be for yours.