How to get into cybersecurity – Forbes Advisor

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Cybersecurity is a multi-faceted industry, so it’s common for there to be confusion about how to enter the field. In this article, we’ll demystify cybersecurity, explore industry job prospects, and detail how to get into cybersecurity (even if you don’t have any experience).

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity involves protecting digital assets and their owners from malicious actors. “Digital Asset” is a generic term for anything that exists in digital form and has significant value. A digital asset can include personal data, documents, websites, servers and networks.

To be a great cybersecurity expert, you need technical skills such as risk assessment, intrusion detection, proficiency in programming languages, and familiarity with the Linux operating system.

Cybersecurity Job Outlook

Despite being rightfully known as a lucrative field, the cybersecurity industry is teeming with talent. There simply aren’t enough cybersecurity professionals to make the rounds in the job market.

In 2021, the United States had more than one million cybersecurity experts, but there were still 715,000 jobs open. As of April 2022, that skills gap hadn’t closed much, according to Cyberseek. The high demand for qualified professionals in this industry indicates strong job prospects for new cybersecurity specialists.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts job growth of 35% for information security analysts from 2021 to 2031. This growth is about four times faster than the average growth rate forecast for all jobs nationwide, making information security analyst the 14th fastest growing. occupation in the country.

In 2021, Cybercrime Magazine predicted that there would be 3.5 million open jobs in cybersecurity by 2025.

cybersecurity salaries

One factor that sets cybersecurity apart from other fields is its high earning potential, available even to entry-level workers. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for information security analysts was $102,600 in May 2021. This is more than double the national median annual salary for all occupations.

According to Cyberseek, the average salary range for entry-level cybersecurity workers is between $88,230 and $110,000 per year. Note that cybersecurity salaries can vary by position and location.

How to get into cybersecurity

earn a degree

About 90% of job postings in this field require a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, computer science, or a related field. A traditional degree remains the most popular route to launch a career in cybersecurity.

You can earn a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity online or in person. If you can’t commit to a four-year degree, even an associate’s degree in cybersecurity or computer science can get your foot in the door in most cases.

Gain experience

You might be wondering how to gain experience in cybersecurity without first landing a job in the field. For starters, consider internships. An internship gives you the practical skills and experience that employers are looking for. It also gives you a competitive edge over other candidates when you finally start looking for a job.

Cybersecurity internship opportunities can be paid or unpaid, depending on the company.

Other ways to gain relevant experience include working on solo cybersecurity projects and contributing to open source projects.

Whichever path you take, be sure to document your progress and experience. Include these details in your coding portfolio to improve your chances of getting a job.

Get certified

Cybersecurity certifications prove that your cybersecurity knowledge and experience meets strict industry standards. These credentials can improve your marketing and earning potential as an employee.

There are many certifications available for cybersecurity professionals. Below are some of the most common options.

CISSP: The Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification is issued by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)². This title is ideal for cybersecurity professionals with at least five years of experience. This designation is a ticket to the primary role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

CISA: The Certified Information Systems Auditor® certification, administered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)®, demonstrates your ability to audit, monitor, and control an organization’s information systems. Only professionals who have five years of experience and score high on the test are eligible for this designation.

CISM: The Certified Information Systems Manager® certification is reserved for experienced cybersecurity professionals who want to advance to management positions. This degree indicates expertise in information security governance and incident and risk management. ISACA also administers this certification program.

Cybersecurity Bootcamps

If you want to kick-start your career as soon as possible, consider attending a cybersecurity bootcamp.

A bootcamp is an intensive study program that equips students with the hard skills and soft skills needed to land jobs and excel in specific technology areas. Most bootcamps take around four to 20 weeks. For part-time students, these programs can last up to one year.

A cybersecurity bootcamp is a viable alternative to a traditional degree program because it allows you to learn the necessary skills in less time and at a lower cost. Bootcamps cost around $11,900 on average. Some even offer financial aid and job guarantees.

Another advantage of cybersecurity bootcamps is the availability of customized programs. You can choose a bootcamp based on your current skill level and availability. Once you complete a cybersecurity bootcamp, you become eligible for entry-level positions such as penetration tester, IT auditor, information security analyst, and system administrator.

Popular cybersecurity bootcamps

The right cybersecurity bootcamp depends on your price range, timeframe, and location. We highlight some of the most popular cybersecurity bootcamps below to give you an idea of ​​what to expect.

Springboard Cybersecurity Career Path

The Springboard bootcamp is a 100% online bootcamp that lasts 380 hours. It teaches students the fundamentals of cybersecurity, including system and network security, security operations, and vulnerability assessments. With 15 to 20 hours of weekly study, students can complete this program and achieve Security+ certification in six months.

This program costs between $9,900 and $11,340.

Cybersecurity Analytics Bootcamp by Fullstack Academy

This program promises to take students from zero to employment in 13 weeks (or 26 weeks for part-time students). Students can learn practical cybersecurity skills through various workshops and labs that mimic real-life scenarios.

Full-time and part-time students pay a fixed tuition fee of $15,980. New York residents, women, and veterans are eligible for financial assistance.

ASU Cybersecurity Bootcamp

Arizona State University offers a 24-week in-person bootcamp for beginners. Students receive in-depth training in networks, web technologies, and defensive and offensive cybersecurity. This bootcamp is ideal for part-time students who are working or still attending college.

Cybersecurity Frequently Asked Questions

How to start a career in cybersecurity?

You can start a career in cybersecurity by enrolling in college, attending boot camp, or pursuing self-study. The combination of the three learning models can form a solid foundation in the field.

How easy is it to get into cybersecurity?

Getting into cybersecurity is relatively easy once you get the training and experience. You can gain significant experience in this field through internships and by contributing to open-source projects.

How to start in cybersecurity without experience?

The first step is to get an education through a reputable college or bootcamp. You can then apply for paid or unpaid internship positions to gain practical knowledge from seasoned cybersecurity specialists.


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