How to get a first job in cybersecurity
If you’ve set your sights on a career in cybersecurity, 2022 could be the best year ever. Cybersecurity and IT Security Certifications and Training | (ISC)² estimates that there will likely be 1.8 million job openings in this sector in 2022. Starting salaries can be around $40,000 per year, with experienced professionals commanding $90,000 or more in wages. Aside from drive and determination to stop cybercriminals, you need to have keen analytical skills and the ability to think one step ahead of hackers. If this job description seems right up your alley, read ahead for directions on how to get into this dynamic, rapidly evolving industry.
The entry-level bar is higher than in most other fields
Unlike most other career options in the IT sector, the bar for entry-level cybersecurity job openings is significantly higher. Most recruiters expect to see at least 3 to 5 years’ experience aside from the standard certifications you’ll acquire. To be a junior cybersecurity specialist, you’ll need to have:
- Associate’s Degree in addition to 5 years experience in a position that is directly related to the job you’re applying for
- Bachelor’s Degree, in addition to 3 years experience in a related sphere
- Master’s Degree in addition to 1-year experience in a related sphere
- Doctoral degree
Getting qualifications to work in the cybersecurity sector
If you wish to start a career in cybersecurity, you’ll need to take the CompTIA Security + Training Course, an excellent foundation course that awards you with certification on completion. Alternatively, you can go for the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Training Course or CompTIA CySA+ Training Course. When studying, you can use apps like the CompTIA Security exam prep. This tool helps you prepare for the qualification exam by providing you with a series of mock questions. You’ll practice answering them and test your grasp of the coursework. Typical subjects include:
- Architecture and design
- Governance, risk, and compliance
- Attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities
- Operations and incident response
Entry-level positions you can get
The most critical aspect of getting positions in cybersecurity is experience. You could start interning with senior-level professionals and gain hands-on experience before applying for junior-level jobs or getting a promotion. Scout around platforms like Higher Hire, Upwork, LinkedIn, and various others for companies looking for qualified personnel. Here are some of the positions you can hope to get:
- Cybersecurity specialist/technician
- Information security analyst
- Cyber crime analyst/investigator
- Systems administrator
- Junior penetration tester
- Security technician
- Incident analyst/responder
Keep in mind that cybersecurity is a fast-advancing field, and continuing your education with more advanced degrees will help you add to your skillset. You can grow your resume and advance your career quickly by taking these courses:
- Python Fundamentals Training Course
- Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) Training Course in Security
- CompTIA Linux+ Training Course
Interviewing for jobs? How to impress recruiters
Preparing for your interview will raise your chances of impressing recruiters and snagging the job. Here are some tips you might find helpful:
- Expand your IT network by seeking out and interacting with people working in cybersecurity. Joining communities and meetups and conversing with members in person or virtually will advance your practical knowledge.
- Showcase your past experiences in the sector by creating a robust resume. List all the tasks you’ve performed related to cybersecurity and the results you helped achieve.
- Invest in a personal website to demonstrate your creativity and online presence. An innovative, professional webpage listing your qualifications helps prove your skills.
- Familiarize yourself with the industry jargon, terminology, and acronyms typically used in the sector. Using the correct language when conversing with the interviewer indicates your expertise.
- As with all other jobs, take the time to research the company and job you’re applying for. You’ll prepare answers to questions about the strategies you’ll use when working the position.
- Expect the interviewer to ask if you have questions about the position and your job description. Asking for detailed information about your role will score points. You’ll indicate a genuine interest in the position.
If you think you can be successful in a career in cybersecurity, get the necessary qualifications and go for it.