This article is sponsored by NTT.
The word “cybersecurity” is undeniably a little intimidating. To many, this probably conjures up a scene from an early 2000s movie in which a few monstrous desktop computers get a huge “ERROR” sign. Or, it might call to mind that iconic advertisement of yesteryear.
But what does cybersecurity actually entail? And how hard is it to get into the industry if you’re not a seasoned hacker (using your powers for good, of course)?
According to John Karabin, Senior Director of Cybersecurity at NTT (a global technology and business solutions provider), it is one of the fastest growing facets of the digital world. However, there is currently a severe skills shortage in space, and those with experience in various fields are both needed and sought after at this time.
Here’s a more in-depth look at what a job in cybersecurity looks like.
Gizmodo: What is cybersecurity?
John Karabine: Cybersecurity is such a broad field that there are many ways to define it. The best definition is an all-encompassing definition – cybersecurity is the process and technologies whose mission is to protect a digital environment from malicious actors.
Is it difficult to pursue a career in cybersecurity?
It is not difficult to get into it as jobs are abundant in the industry. Our industry is currently suffering from a skills shortage, which may be a combination of the growing need for cyber roles and people’s reluctance to pursue careers in cyber. It may be a problem with the perception that a cybersecurity job is highly focused or highly specialized, but it is not. You’re basically at the forefront of threats, like a first answering machine – so it might not be for everyone, but there are a wide variety of jobs you can do depending on your skills and ambition.
Last year, women made up just 25% of the global cybersecurity workforce. We can never have enough cybersecurity experts as the industry is constantly changing and developing. It is therefore important to encourage diversity and avoid a homogeneous workforce in order to encourage the innovation and creativity needed to work in this industry.
What types of jobs are available in cybersecurity?
There is the human side, like lawyers with their cyber divisions. Then there are the deep coders, also known as DecSecOps pros, who uncover weaknesses in firmware and software. Finally, there are incident responders and ethical hackers who perform vulnerability testing and penetration testing where they attempt to break into systems to test the strength of an organization’s cyber protection.
You also have those who work in governance, risk and compliance – people who help set up the structure of an organization at the architectural level.
What skills are essential for working in cybersecurity?
Being a force of nature and having energy will be a powerful driver of your success as a cybersecurity professional, especially if you are just starting out. It’s a dynamic and active career with many high points, especially when something like a breach occurs.
It is essential to be curious and to want to see the big picture. Cybersecurity can be interesting for people interested in understanding how the dots connect.
The classic stereotype of a cyber professional is an introvert. However, outgoing characteristics are just as important due to the need to communicate effectively with non-cybersecurity people within the company.
What steps should someone wishing to enter the industry take to get there?
The industry is highly mission-driven, so it’s important to understand that your role is to protect yourself from threat actors. You’ll need to be curious and tech-savvy, but don’t let the technical side scare you off. Do office research on the different roles available and what each offers.
Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door and expose yourself to the cyber world. NTT offers one with Deakin University, and more recently, NTT was ranked #1 Best Internship Programs 2022.
It’s a great way to better understand the scope of what you can do in a cyber career. Additionally, more and more universities and TAFE are offering courses that will help boost your qualifications and also provide networking opportunities.