Tips for Finding Your Cybersecurity Dream Job
With so much personal and business data stored digitally today, resilient cybersecurity is more critical than ever. It’s why cybersecurity has soared to the top of executive agendas. And why businesses, universities, and governments are all struggling with a cyber talent gap.
According to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report, global demand is anticipated to reach 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide by 2021. At the same time, cybersecurity unemployment currently sits at zero percent, as the demand for skilled cyber professionals far outweighs the available talent pool.
But before you celebrate your smarts for choosing a life of fighting cybercriminals, you may want to take heed of what IT and talent executives say they are most looking for in the cybersecurity pros they hire. From here, you will be better equipped to fulfill your dream of becoming a cybercrime-fighter.
Know Your Cybersecurity Basics Inside and Out
For any student looking to break into the cybersecurity field or any new entrant, having an understanding of the fundamentals of networks should be a priority. How servers work, how firewalls work, the basics of cloud services, intrusion detection, and how exploits work are just a few areas in which to gain exposure. Although qualifications for a newbie can vary, foundational knowledge in these areas will be of interest to most employers.
Pursue Internships and Certifications
Since many top cybersecurity companies and independent businesses want employees who can be contributors on day one, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of bringing hands-on skills to the table. Gone are the days of getting on-the-job experience. You need to come in the door with a basic level of knowledge and technical proficiency in at least some of the areas mentioned above. How do you get this? Think internships.
Many universities provide postings of internship opportunities, along with career coaching, and can help facilitate connections. Any work you can do to establish your credibility as a threat analyst or security engineer will be time well spent. It’s also smart to pursue advanced certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). CISSP certification is globally recognized in the field of IT security. Certifications and internship experiences will only make you more desirable to potential employers.
Follow the Leaders
Develop a list of cyber thought-leaders and follow them on social media channels. Pay attention to what they are talking about, along with news and analysis on breaking cyberthreats. Get in the habit of reading, reading, and reading some more.
You can learn a lot from the pros about things like how hackers gain access to networks, how threats are detected and mitigated, and what global hacker groups are of greatest concern in the threat landscape. This insight can help spur conversations that may carry you far during the interview process.
Find Your Niche
If you are a young cybersecurity expert-in-training, specialization can be very important to your career success. Some in-demand areas that are worth consideration if you are still finding your way in the field include:
- Security engineering or defensive security with skills in such areas as mitigating DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks, Web content filtering, and firewalls
- Security auditing through penetration testing, forensics, ethical hacking, and other know-how
- Incident response / security information and event management (SIEM), which includes developing security policies, performing log analyses, managing data loss prevention tactics, and more
- Application security / software architecture review
Possess a “Hero” Mentality
A big part of working in cybersecurity is having high ethical and moral standards. You have to want to be on the frontline of fighting cybercrimes and keeping networks, systems, and people safe. To do this, you must stay on top of the most recent threats, and know protocols, operational systems, and policies like the back of your hand. You’ve got this!