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FAQ: Is a Career in Cyber Security Right For Me?

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In today’s fast-paced world of technology and innovation, building a career in the IT field has never been more enticing — or achievable. One of the most in-demand technology jobs in 2020 is a cybersecurity expert. With a little elbow grease, a penchant for learning, and true dedication to the craft, you can build a fulfilling career in cybersecurity. Education & Training Jobs offers a look at some common questions you might ask when deciding whether a career in cybersecurity is right for you.

What kinds of cybersecurity jobs are there?

Information security is still a relatively new field, but you can find job titles like: Information security analyst (or cybersecurity analyst), security consultant, network engineer, application security administrator, or vulnerability analyst. Leadership positions include chief information security officer (CISO) or chief security officer (CSO).

The cybersecurity employment market is booming. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2019 that the median pay for an information security analyst was close to $100,000 per year, with a job outlook from 2019 to 2029 of 31 percent, meaning that the field will grow much faster than the average job market. Demand for these kinds of professionals is already staggering, and the next ten years will be no different.

SecureWorld reported in April 2020 that despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, LinkedIn had posted more than 250,000 cybersecurity jobs in a 30-day period. In other words, you can be sure that the employment landscape would be in your favor.

What skills do you need?

Information security professionals need a mixture of soft and technical skills. Soft skills, like leadership and adaptability, are critical for any business professional, For instance, you need to be able to communicate complex ideas (verbally and written) and have a knack for instruction (because you will spend a lot of your time educating co-workers and management about how to avoid common cyber threats). An effective computer science professional should also be curious.

Technical skills, on the other hand, are more specific. Malware analysis, intrusion detection, and programming basics are all necessary traits. Programming skills, for example, can help cybersecurity experts gauge the possibility of attacks and develop plans for defending against these attacks. A solid grasp of languages like C, C++, PHP, and Java would be crucial.

Security incident handling and response is another key area you will need to become familiar with. “Security incident” describes a threat to an organization’s network or data, and some common examples of this type of event include: malware, ransomware, phishing, or denial-of-service attacks. A cybersecurity professional needs to be able to accurately assess, review, and contain security incidents so that the organization’s data is protected. This requires a detailed understanding of the current threat landscape — again going back to being able to quickly pick up new information.

How can you get these skills?

Now that you know what kinds of jobs you can get and what technical skills you need, you should look for an effective way to learn those skills while maximizing your time. Educational programs aimed at providing the foundation for a career in information security can be effective at teaching you what you need to know to be successful. Most jobs require at least a four-year degree in cybersecurity or a related area (such as computer science).

An online master’s program in computer science with a focus on cybersecurity is one way to achieve this goal. Going back to school to sharpen your IT skills is rewarding, and it can lead to opening doors down the line. In addition, an online degree program can give you the flexibility of earning degrees and certifications while working.

Why wait?

Building a fulfilling career in cybersecurity is an effective way to improve your quality of life and enrich your professional experience. Now, the only question left to ask yourself is: When do I start?