If you’re technically minded and enjoy a challenge, cybersecurity is a great career to consider. With digital transformation to the cloud spreading like wildfire and never-ending architectural innovation being implemented by businesses, the specter of cyber-attack is never far away. Now, more than ever, businesses are needing to put strong cybersecurity defenses in place and the demand for skilled professionals is exploding.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that cybersecurity jobs will grow a massive 31% by 2029, which is seven times faster than the national average job growth. And if you add that to the fact that, according to CyberEdge in their CyberThreat Defense Report, 85% of organizations were affected by successful cyberattacks in 2022, you can see just how much potential a cybersecurity career could have.
But what does this mean for talented professionals starting out in cybersecurity? Put simply, the potential for a rewarding and well-paid career is huge. Organizations are offering competitive salaries, job security, additional perks, and generous allowances to attract and keep skilled professionals. And most importantly, given the current skills shortage, these organizations are no longer looking for a traditional college degree; rather, they are seeking out professionals with proven tech skills, strong soft skills, and the right attitude to skill up.
So, how do you get started?
How to Choose the Right Course for Your Career Goals
To begin your career in cybersecurity, you, of course, need to take an approach that not only aligns with your interests but also caters to your career goals. But how do you do this? Given the variety of options available, it’s a challenge to pin down the right course, so the best thing to do is go back to basics.
What experience and skills do you have already? What experience and skills do you need? What are you genuinely interested in? Cybersecurity is fast-paced, so if you’re already fascinated by the challenges it poses, and naturally want to get one step ahead of cybercriminals, you could really enjoy your work.
Once you’ve answered those questions, the next step is to work out what job roles you want to go for. For instance, if you love working with data, the perfect cybersecurity role would be to become a security analyst. However, if you are keen to get hands-on installing, administering, and troubleshooting security issues, then you’ll want to head more in the direction of becoming a security administrator.
Then, once you’ve made your decision, you’ll want to assess what skills and certifications employers are looking for you and start pinning down a shortlist of courses.
To do this, and depending on your background, you should consider if there are some standard prerequisites for introductory courses. For example, if you want to go platform-specific, what do you need to be eligible for security training for your chosen platform? Moving into Microsoft security requires learners to already have the basics of Azure, Office 365, and cloud computing under their belt. And if they don’t, they have to train up in those first.
Cybersecurity Career Advancement Through Courses and Certifications
Cybersecurity offers a variety of career possibilities, not just because it is a broad field but also because there is a shortage of skilled professionals. In fact, the US Bureau of Statistics says that nearly 80% of organizations are struggling to hire cybersecurity professionals, which speaks volumes about the possibilities cybersecurity offers to those willing to skill up.
With that said, that’s not the only benefit of focusing on this domain for a career, though. In this fast-moving tech world, up-to-date skills often trump tech knowledge learned a few years ago. Additionally, professionals can keep their skills up to date via certifications, so you don’t necessarily need a college degree to get started. Far from it. Recruiters now actually prefer candidates with verified skills and experience and are no longer viewing a college degree as a measure of an applicant’s caliber.
What Kind of Courses Do You Take for Cybersecurity?
Depending on what you have set as your career goal, be that an incident response specialist or a security network analyst, you’ll be asking yourself what kind of courses do you take for cybersecurity to get going.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to get a good grasp of the basics, so a self-paced online learning course such as a Foundations for Cybersecurity Program will set you up with some useful hands-on security skills in key technologies.
However, if you’re already familiar with aspects of the industry, you may want to focus on learning how to set up a critical incident response team and follow this up with understanding enterprise-level threats and how to mitigate them.
Or, you can go platform-specific. Let’s take Microsoft as an example. To become a Microsoft security management expert, you can get started with SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst certification, where you build skills in defending against threats with Microsoft 365 Defender, Azure Defender, and Azure Sentinel. You could then follow this by getting SC-300: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator certification, which verifies that you know how to mitigate security threats using Microsoft SCI solutions. Then finally, once you’ve got these under your belt, you could shoot for the AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies exam, which enables you to become a Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer Associate, where you’ll know how to implement security control and maintain an organization’s security posture.
What Are SkillUp Online’s Top Tips for Beginning a Career in Cybersecurity?
Well, as you can see, cybersecurity offers great opportunities for individuals who have a knack for a dynamic work environment and are keen to solve real-time problems. And even if you don’t have prior experience or a degree, you can still kickstart your career in cybersecurity by acquiring the right skills and experience. So, what do you need to do?
- Carry out an honest appraisal of your current experience, skills, and knowledge. You’ll then have a thorough understanding of your baseline.
- Explore different job roles and career paths within cybersecurity and pin down what route interests you most.
- Consider specializing in a particular platform, such as Microsoft, Google, or AWS, and find out about platform-specific courses if that’s the route you want to take.
- Pick your training partner carefully and ensure the courses they offer provide you with the specific skills, practical experience opportunities, and certifications you need to impress an employer.
- Get yourself enrolled in a series of courses and start adding competencies to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Don’t forget, courses that train using hands-on labs and real-world projects will give you a chance to build up some practical experience you can talk about in interviews.
- Join cybersecurity network groups on LinkedIn and start networking – a little tip we’ve dropped in here because it’s not just what you know… but who you know.
- Update your resume and begin applying for your dream job!
If you want to know more about how to get cybersecurity certification or which cybersecurity certification is best for you, contact our Learner Support Team at [email protected]. They will be more than happy to guide you on your next steps.