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How to Launch Your Career in Cybersecurity

It’s no secret that cybersecurity is a hot topic these days. Every day there are headlines about security breaches. Every day we are asked multiple times for passwords and two-factor authentications. This is why companies are searching for entry-level technical professionals to fill cybersecurity jobs. In fact, the demand is much greater than the supply. That translates to opportunity for candidates who want to enter this growing field.

If you’re looking for a change in your technical career or have just graduated with a technical education, cybersecurity offers many career options. Compensation is good (median salary for an analyst is $100,000/year), and perks and bonuses are common.

But you might say, I don’t have experience in cybersecurity, or a degree or certification. Although experience is always a plus, these jobs are so in demand that employers are willing to train new employees. Companies are looking for professionals with any technical work experience or education.

Find the career path that interests you

If you want to get into cybersecurity, the first step is to learn about the field and decide what most interests you. 

There are different cybersecurity career paths and a multitude of jobs within each of those career paths. For example, engineering is one such direction. Some job titles include software engineers, security engineers and system architects. You might start as an information security analyst and then work up to an engineer role. Leadership operations is another cybersecurity career path. Chief information security officer or chief data officer might be position titles in this area of cybersecurity.

Some other entry-level cybersecurity job titles are IT auditor, incident responder, entry-level cybersecurity engineer, penetration tester and GRC (governance, risk, compliance) analyst. GRC analysts make sure that the organization is compliant with government regulations. For instance, the healthcare industry must closely control confidential patient information so GRC analysts might work to analyze any risk from third party vendors.

Take the initiative to learn

Because it’s such a growing and new field, many cybersecurity professionals begin their career with self-teaching. Fortunately, the internet is full of cybersecurity educational opportunities – online courses, YouTube videos, bootcamps, podcasts, webinars and certification programs. With a small investment of time and money, you can explore the options and see what excites you. That’s important because employers want to see that passion. They want to see that you’ve taken the initiative to learn and grow. They want to see a potential employee worth investing in.

In addition to online education, reach out to people in the field on LinkedIn and in trade groups. Security professionals can tell you which positions are most in demand and the requirements necessary for those roles. Or search for different job titles on LinkedIn and learn how other tech professionals grew into their cybersecurity roles.

Use your recruiter as a resource

Recruiters who specialize in cybersecurity jobs are a great source of information. They know the market. They speak to employers every day and hear what they need. They have relationships with leaders in the cybersecurity field. Recruiters can provide inside knowledge of what’s happening in the industry, the best verticals and best practices for creating a cybersecurity resume. Reach out to them and ask for a meeting to learn more about cybersecurity careers.

Employers are going the extra mile to find cybersecurity candidates today. They are offering good wages, bonuses and perks, as well as training. If you think this could be the field for you, do research and discover what interests you most. There are so many positive things going on in the cybersecurity world for a candidate at this time. It all depends on your background and how passionate you are about getting into this new industry.

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