How to start a career in Cyber Security in 2021
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As COVID-19 spread across the world, many organizations had to undergo cyber threats more than ever before. There are also concerns over ransomware attacks that weaponize cloud resources that make networks even more vulnerable. As a result, there is an open job opportunity for those who have the right skill sets.

In 2021, security professionals will need to collaborate more than ever with their business due to a lack of security.

A recent study by the ISC² found that, despite COVID-19 and economic pressures, organizations plan to increase cybersecurity staffing over the next 12 months. So “How to start a career in cyber security”? 

Here’s some of the most prominent ways to start your cybersecurity career: 

What is Cybersecurity?

  • Cybersecurity is a practice of protecting the systems, networks from digital attacks. 
  • Now that many of the companies, financial sectors, government organizations are looking forward to protecting their data from hackers or cybercriminals. These attacks must be handled by engineers, pen testers, security testers and other professionals to prevent the attack. 

Why Cybersecurity is important? 

  • Cybersecurity is important across different sectors such as government organizations, startups, mid and large enterprises and even for personal use. But why do think security is very important?
  • Gone are the days of simple firewalls and antivirus software being your sole security measures. Cyber threats can come at any level of your organization So, educating your employees about simple scams like phishing, ransomware attacks or other malware designed to steal intellectual property or personal data.
  • Cybersecurity risk is increasing and without its help, your organization cannot defend itself against data breach campaigns.

    So, all these factors are directly related to an increase in job opportunities. Before moving to the actual topic, let’s see some of the common questions that cybersecurity aspirants have in their mind.

Let’s get started! 

What is the difference between Information security Vs Cybersecurity?

Cyber SecurityInformation Security
Focuses on online threatsTakes a view of the security landscape
Cyber professional learns to think like a hackerInformation security deals with the protection of data
Should understand malicious software in deptOversees unauthorized access
Acts as the first line of defenceMakes strategy to recover from a breach

What is the difference between Network security Vs Cybersecurity?  

Network SecurityCyber Security
Network security protects the data flowing over the network.Cybersecurity protects the data residing in the devices and servers.
A subset of cybersecurity.A subset of information security.
Protects in the network realm.Protects in the cyber realm.
Protection from DOS attacks.Protection from cyber-attacks.
Network Security strikes against trojans.Cyber Security strikes against cyber crimes
Viruses and worms.Phishing and pre-texting.
Network security protects the transit data only.Cybersecurity protects entire digital data.
It secures the data travelling across the network by terminals.It deals with the protection of the data resting.

Also Read: Guide To Network Security

Is Cyber Security Right for Me?

Before Starting a Career in Cybersecurity

Ask the below questions yourself…
  • Do I have any certifications related to the cybersecurity field?
  • How to get started with cybersecurity?
  • What skills would I need for a career in computer security?
  • How will I get experience in this field?
  • Is there a lot of travelling involved in IT security roles?
  • Are there entry-level/internship opportunities available?
  • How are the career advancement opportunities?

I’ll try to answer most of the above question in the article, like how to get started with cybersecurity, skills, job outlooks — but others will be dependent on your goals and the demand from employers where you live.

How to start a career in cybersecurity?

To get started with cybersecurity, one must understand Cyber Security prerequisites: 

In general, Cyber Security  prerequisites are: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, or a similar field.
  • Knowledge of firewalls and various forms of endpoint security.
  • Knowledge of languages/tools such as C++, Java, Node, Python, Ruby, Go, or Power Shell is an added advantage. 
  • The ability to often work under pressure and in a fast-paced environment.
  • Possess the right eye for detail and outstanding problem-solving skills.
  • Up to date knowledge of the latest Cyber Security trends and hacker tactics.

Note: Different organizations may have different pre-requisites.

The Top Skills Required for Cybersecurity Jobs

  • Problem-Solving Skills
  • Technical Aptitude
  • Knowledge of Security Across Various Platforms
  • Attention to Detail
  • Fundamental Computer Forensics Skills
  • A Desire to Learn
  • An Understanding of Hacking
  • The ability to make decisions with confidence and show initiative
  • To be able to work effectively under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • To be well organised and able to manage their own time
  • The ability to work creatively and think outside of the box
  • Strong communication skills, as well as the ability to adapt communication styles to suit different audiences
  • To have a clear understanding of confidentiality issues and relating laws
  • Inquisitive nature and a keen interest in the IT sector

Get started with a cybersecurity courses: 

Dip your toes in some of the free/paid cybersecurity course listed below: 

  1. Great Learning Academy: FREE 

They offer many free courses related to cybersecurity, some of the popular courses are :

  • Introduction to cybersecurity 
  • Introduction to information security 
  • Introduction to ethical hacking 
  • Advanced Cybersecurity – Threats and Governance 
  • Ethical Hacking – Mobile platforms and networks

2. Stanford Advanced Cyber Security Program: PAID

Accelerate your career in Cybersecurity and get a Globally Recognised Certificate from Stanford. This online cybersecurity course can help aspiring professionals to  enhance their skills and learn from the world-class leaders in Cybersecurity

3. Coursera: PAID

They offer cybersecurity courses for beginners to advanced individuals who are already in the field. You can access Coursera’s courses for between $39/month and $49/month.

4. Udemy: PAID
Udemy has tons of cybersecurity courses. Courses range in price from $9 to $300.

Cybersecurity Books for Beginners

  • Cybersecurity For Dummies: This helps you to understand the basics of cybersecurity, including different cybersecurity threats, ethical hacking, and many more.
  • Cybersecurity for Beginners: This is a bible for those who are from a non-technical background as the authors have simplified cyber terms into plain text and in non-technical English. 
  • Hacking: A Beginners’ Guide: This book is all about hacking, types of hacking, hacking methods.
    Also Read: How to start an Ethical hacking career?
  • Practical Malware Analysis: This is a guide to all kind of malware and helps you to analyse, debug malicious software.

Cybersecurity Careers

Since cybersecurity is a huge field, one can take many different paths in cybersecurity. Keep in mind that cybersecurity job titles may vary from company to company, but in general, here are some common roles:

  • Cybersecurity generalist: Jack of all trades for smaller organization. 
  • Network security engineer: These people are involved in managing the network security of their company, from firewalls to routers to VPNs. They are usually found in bigger companies. 
  • Cloud security engineer: This role is mainly involved in providing security for cloud-based platforms. 
  • Application security specialist: These are the people who are involved in protecting applications from threats using a mix of hardware and software skills. 
  • Identity and Access Management engineer: A sub-field of cybersecurity that mainly focuses on digital identities within an organization to ensure correct levels of system and prevent unauthorized use.
  • Security architect: These are the people who are involved in designing, building and managing the implementation of network and computer security for a company.
  • Penetration tester: Penetration testers are those who get paid to legally hack into software systems to identify vulnerabilities. 
  • Malware/forensics analyst: These are the people who are involved in digging the malware.
  • Incident response analyst: These are the people who responded to any type of security breach and limit the damage.
  • Cryptographer: Here people are involved in encrypting sensitive information to ensure corporate privacy.
  • Security trainer: Trains employees in security practices.
  • Cybersecurity engineer: Designs, develops and implements network solutions to defend against cyber-threats.

And there are more! Nearly all of these positions require at least one or more cybersecurity certification.

What industries can cybersecurity professional can work in?

As a cybersecurity professional, you could work in industries, such as:

  • Banking Sector – The banking sector always operates in a highly regulatory environment, they usually face threats from cybercriminals.
  • Federal Government – The United States government spends about $28B per year on cybersecurity. In the USA all security personal must complete cybersecurity certification courses that are approved for DoD 8570/8140.
  • Cybersecurity Law – Lawyers can specialize in information security to handle liability resulting from breaches.
  • Utilities – A cybersecurity professional is necessary for utilities such as our nation’s water, electricity, and power utilities as a hacker could cut off power to a water plant or a gas refinery.

Salary 

Last but not least, the salaries is something to smile about as cybersecurity has a good play scale! Below we’ve provided average salaries for several countries: 

  • Average annual salary in the UK: £50,000-80,000 
  • Average annual salary in the US: $75,000-120,000 
  • Average annual salary in Canada: C$80,000-150,000 
  • Average annual salary in Australia: $A75,000-135,000
  • Average annual salary in India : ₹ 608,750

Start Cybersecurity Career Today

Almost every company requires a security professional in today’s digital era! There has never been a better time to start a career in cybersecurity. If you are skilled in security practises, and have relevant experience, there are several cybersecurity job opportunities across all sector and industries.

Standford University in collaboration with great Learning has created cybersecurity programs for those interested in the most common cybersecurity paths — the Stanford Advanced Cyber Security Program(online) and the PG Program in Cyber Security (online) from Great Learning. Both programs are focused entirely on modern cybersecurity mitigation with an emphasis on teaching students how to become effective lifelong learners.

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