Why Should You Want to Get Into Cyber Security?
In today’s society, the network connectivity of organizations and companies is growing and shows no signs of slowing down. Cybercrime is on the rise-- phishing attacks grew by 61% last year alone. Organizations have to ensure the safety of the increasing amount of data stored digitally and be on guard against cyber attacks. Regardless of their size, any organization that is part of this digitized world cannot afford to ignore the importance of cyber security. Which is why they are looking to grow their cybersecurity teams.
Cyber security professionals are therefore expected to be very much in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average growth rate of 4% for all occupations. The BLS also notes that the median annual salary for information security analysts was $99,730 in May 2019. This was much higher than the $39,810 median annual salary for all workers.
Not only that, cybersecurity is becoming a hot topic on social media. For example, videos about cybersecurity have over 1.2 billion views on TikTok.
Other than the employment opportunities and the high salary, there are other factors that draw people to work in cyber security including:
- You get to be a hero sometimes. As Candy Alexander, a cyber security consultant, says, “I think it’s the morality of the work that attracts a lot of us who are in it. A lot of us just want to save the company and to do the right thing. We’re looking to save the world.”
- Increasing specialization within cyber security. There are a couple of main specialization areas within cyber security. The first is computer forensics, which involves identifying and fixing software vulnerabilities. The other is governance, risk, and compliance, which involves setting policies and overseeing cyber security programs. Increasing specialties within cyber security give cyber security professionals more options to develop a deep skill set in specific areas.
- Ever-changing technology. If you’re someone with a passion for technology and a passion for learning, you won’t get bored working in cyber security. As Alexander puts it, “I ... like the ever-changing technology. There’s always something new. I’m learning, learning, learning”.
How to Get a Job in Cyber Security With No Experience?
It can be difficult to get an entry level cyber security job because many cyber security jobs require one to three years of working experience.
Given these obstacles, you’re probably wondering how to get into cyber security with no experience. Here are our top 4 tips to help you improve your chances of getting an entry-level cyber security job:
- Step 1: Undertake cyber security training
- Step 2: Enhance your soft skills
- Step 3: Network with cyber security professionals
- Step 4: Do an internship in cyber security
By taking these steps, you will have a better chance of getting into cyber security with no experience. You can take these steps in any order and even simultaneously.
Step 1. Undertake Cyber Security Training
The good news is that there isn’t only one expected educational path to get into cyber security.
There are advantages to getting a bachelor’s degree - a computer science degree provides you with the foundation for a career in cyber security. However, there are professionals who get into cyber security with associate’s degrees in IT that focus on security, networking, programming or systems management. There are also some who study for their college degrees while working and gaining experience in the field.
Obtaining IT and cyber security certifications is one way to prove that you have the required fundamentals in IT and a foundation in cyber security. This will definitely help your chances of getting into cyber security with no experience. This is because it shows that you have a passion for cyber security and the requisite knowledge to work in the field.
Cybersecurity Bootcamps, intensive programs designed to teach key skills in the field of cybersecurity, are one way to get a credential or certification quickly.
There are various IT and cyber security certifications that cyber security professionals hold. Among the most popular ones are:
The key thing is to realize that technology changes quickly and that you need to stay on top of the changes in the cyber security field. As Alexander says, “Technology changes so quickly. Get online, talk to people, and figure out what you need to learn - and then dive in.”
Step 2. Enhance Your Soft Skills
Cyber security professionals often have to solve complex technical problems and would therefore need soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills.
Hence, in addition to obtaining the technical knowledge that you can gain from IT and cyber security courses, you should also develop your soft skills. This is because recruiters will be looking for candidates who have the necessary soft skills to work in cyber security.
Taking soft skills courses is one way to prove to hiring managers that you have the necessary skills to succeed at an entry-level cyber security job.
Step 3. Network with Cyber Security Professionals
Start networking to meet cyber security professionals. You can join professional associations, LinkedIn groups, go to virtual and in-person meet-ups to meet people who work in the field. Do reach out through your existing network to get in touch with people (including your contacts’ contacts) who work in cyber security.
Talk to people and you’ll be amazed to see how many people are willing to help - including giving you tips and even answering your questions about how to get into cyber security with no experience.
You can tap into your network of contacts in the cyber security field to learn more about the latest technological developments in cyber security and how you can update your knowledge.
Start getting your name out there and let people know that you are looking to get an entry-level cyber security job. Your contacts who are working in the field will know which companies are hiring and who might be leaving for another position.
Who knows? A good contact with the knowledge of the right job opening could lead to you getting your entry-level cyber security job!
Step 4. Do an Internship in Cyber Security
Doing an internship is a great opportunity to gain work experience in cyber security. Although internships usually do not pay very well, if at all, you would be able to get the experience you need to take another step towards getting an entry-level cyber security job.
You will be able to apply the technical knowledge that you gain from cyber security courses to real-world settings in an internship. You will then be able to show future employers that you have gained hands-on experience in an internship.
The experience you gain from an internship, combined with your education in IT and cyber security fundamentals as well as your up-to-date cyber security certifications and proven soft skills - will all help improve your chances of getting into cyber security with no experience.