Start Your Cyber Security Career

How to Start Your Cyber Security Career Journey: Five Easy Steps

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    What is Cyber Security?

    Cyber security, or information security, protects electronic information and systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.

    Cybersecurity is like having a lock on your door for your digital stuff. It’s the practice of protecting your computers, networks, and information from unauthorized access, damage, or theft.

    The Cyber Workforce Gap is Widening, and Demand Will Remain High

    The cybersecurity landscape faced unprecedented challenges in 2023, marked by a staggering shortage of skilled professionals to combat emerging threats. Reports from industry leaders ISC2 and ISACA revealed a record workforce gap of four million individuals globally, despite a notable increase in cybersecurity personnel, reaching 5.5 million worldwide. High demand for cybersecurity professionals will continue until 2031, and the workforce gap will persist in 2025.

    Rising ransomware attacks further intensified the demand for cybersecurity experts, with 62% of cybersecurity teams reported understaffed. This shortage and the ever-evolving threat landscape present a daunting challenge for organizations worldwide.

    Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2025. Additionally, the cost of damages from cybercrime is expected to skyrocket to $10.5 trillion by the same year. Download the report.

    AI Revolution: Will It Replace Cybersecurity Jobs?

    Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity has sparked discussion about its impact on job roles. While AI offers the potential to automate tasks and alleviate the skills crisis, its immediate effect may exacerbate the problem due to the need for more expertise in many organizations. Generative AI shows promise for enhancing security operations, but its practical implementation requires deep understanding. 

    Despite these advancements, there is no significant evidence of AI replacing cybersecurity jobs; instead, there is anticipation for increased demand for professionals skilled in AI and machine learning. 

    AI is expected to reshape certain aspects of cybersecurity roles, but it will likely create new opportunities for skilled individuals to contribute to innovative solutions against evolving threats.

    Despite advancements, there’s no strong evidence that AI will replace cybersecurity jobs. Instead, demand for AI and machine learning skills is expected to rise.

    Cybersecurity Job Salaries

    Job TitlePayScaleSalary.comGlassdoor
    Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)$174,127$241,861$187,358
    Network Security Architect$137,962$127,873$152,905
    Cybersecurity Engineer$101,584$150,430$119,021
    Cloud Security Engineer$136,485$102,723$118,317
    Security Sales Engineer$114,323$94,081$106,529
    Application Security Engineer$97,684$108,499$136,313
    Penetration Tester$92,759$88,341$112,070
    Malware Analyst$92,880$100,225$100,089
    Cybersecurity Administrator$71,071$93,584$89,193
    Information Security Analyst (Tier 1, 2, 3)$73,664$93,584$74,315

     10 Cybersecurity Jobs: Entry-Level and Mid-Level

    Job Title LevelAverage SalaryResponsibilities 
    cybersecurity security analystEntry$107,3431. Developing strategies to help their organization remain secure.
    2. Helping computer users with security products and procedures.
    3. Monitoring networks for security breaches.
    4. Investigating, documenting, and reporting security breaches.
    5. Researching IT security trends.
    Digital forensic examinerEntry$102,3751. Gather, preserve, and analyze digital evidence.
    2. Restore data from erased or damaged hard drives.Document data retrieval procedures and ensure chain of custody.
    3. Aid law enforcement in criminal inquiries.Offer expert testimony in court hearings.
    Information security specialistEntry$140,1081. Conducting regular testing and maintenance of firewalls and antivirus software to ensure robust protection against cyber threats.
    2. Implementing comprehensive security training programs for employees to enhance awareness and adherence to security protocols.
    3. Researching and analyzing emerging security risks to proactively identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities.
    4. Identifying security weaknesses within existing systems and processes and recommending improvements to enhance overall security posture.
    IT auditorEntry$90,2521. Plan and execute audits.Record and present audit discoveries.
    2. Offer advice on required security measures.
    3. Develop strategies to address security vulnerabilities.
    4. Spot opportunities for enhanced efficiency.
    Penetration testerMid$114,8561. Strategizing, designing, and executing penetration tests.
    2. Generating comprehensive reports on test outcomes and providing actionable suggestions to security leaders.
    3. Crafting scripts to automate segments of the testing procedure.
    4. Performing social engineering exercises to elicit confidential information from company personnel.
    5. Offering technical assistance throughout incident response procedures.
    Security systems administratorMid$68,2641 Monitor systems and conduct routine backups.Administer individual user accounts.
    2. Formulate and document security protocols for the organization.
    3. Coordinate with security teams to address unauthorized intrusions.
    4. Engage in organization-wide security assessments.
    Security engineerMid$142,7631. Establishing and refining security standards and best practices.
    2. Advising management on security improvements.
    3. Verifying proper installation and configuration of new security systems.
    4. Assessing the effectiveness of security solutions through testing.
    5. Directing incident response teams during security breaches.
    6. Creating initiatives for automated vulnerability detection programs.
    Security architectMid$245,3031. Constructing and upholding secure networks and systems.
    2. Developing budgets and managing security expenditures.
    3. Orchestrating security operations between IT and engineering departments.
    4. Enhancing systems to address security incidents or vulnerabilities.
    5. Performing security breach simulations to assess readiness.
    Cryptography engineerMid$128,2841. Creating novel cryptographic algorithms.
    2. Evaluating current algorithms for weaknesses.
    3. Installing encryption solutions.
    4. Experimenting with and evaluating newly developed encryption methods and tools.
    Cybersecurity managerMid$96,9861. Supervising both human and technological resources.
    2. Monitoring updates to internal and external security policies.
    3. Guaranteeing adherence to security regulations and protocols.
    4. Procuring cybersecurity tools for organizational use.Spearheading initiatives to mitigate risks.

    Five Mistakes to Avoid

    1.  Mistake number one is waiting too long to apply for cyber security jobs. You can never be fully ready for any job as a beginner. People often wait until they feel prepared before applying, but this is a mistake. You should start applying as soon as you have completed a cyber security training course, even if you have yet to gain experience.
    2. Mistake number two: trying to qualify for all the jobs worldwide. You don’t need to apply to every single job that you see. Instead, it would be best to focus on the jobs you are qualified for and in your area.
    3. Mistake number three: the IT Foundation fallacy. Some people believe they need to learn IT and networking before learning cyber security, but this is not the case. You can learn cyber security without any prior IT experience.
    4. Mistake number four is not attending cybersecurity events. Attending events is a great way to network with other professionals and learn about the industry, and it can help you land your first cybersecurity job.
    5. Mistake number five: obsessing over which cyber security specialization to choose. You don’t need to worry about choosing the perfect specialization right away. You can change your specialization later on in your career.
     

    How to Start a Career in CyberSecurity?

    To carve a successful path in cybersecurity, it’s essential to take proactive steps and immerse yourself fully into the field. Here’s how you should go about it:

    1. Master the Basics and Domains: You must dive deep into the core concepts of cybersecurity, exploring domains like network security, application security, and information security. Leverage the plethora of online resources, courses, and communities available at your fingertips. This foundational knowledge is non-negotiable, as it forms the bedrock of all your future endeavors in cybersecurity.

    2. Pursue Certifications: Certifications are your arsenal for proving your skills and knowledge. While a formal degree can be beneficial, it isn’t a strict requirement. Focus on earning industry-recognized certifications such as CompTIA Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). These are not just credentials but powerful tools that amplify your employability and distinguish you in the competitive job market.

    3. Accumulate Practical Experience: Theoretical knowledge alone won’t cut it; practical experience is key. You should actively participate in cybersecurity competitions, contribute to open-source projects, or seek internships. These experiences are crucial for applying your knowledge to real-world problems and demonstrating your prowess to potential employers.

    4. Network Relentlessly: Networking isn’t optional; it’s a must. Engage actively within the cybersecurity community through conferences, events, and platforms like LinkedIn. Networking keeps you abreast of the latest trends, threats, and opportunities in cybersecurity, opening doors to invaluable insights and potential job leads.

    5. Apply with Confidence: Armed with solid knowledge, certifications, and hands-on experience, it’s time to step into the job market. Target entry-level positions such as Cybersecurity Analyst, Penetration Tester, or Security Consultant. Craft your applications to highlight your skills, experiences, and certifications compellingly, demonstrating why you’re the right fit for the role.

    In essence, forging a career in cybersecurity requires a blend of learning, certification, practical experience, networking, and strategic job application. By following these steps with determination and focus, you’ll not only prepare yourself for the challenges ahead but also set the stage for a rewarding career in this dynamic field.

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