For all of you out there who are considering a career switch to cybersecurity but are afraid to do it, you might want to consider these timeless words of advice:
It’s never too late!
We are not just saying this, we’ve helped many transition into a new cybersecurity career, and their successful careers prove that with passion, dedication, and the right mindset you can switch to cybersecurity at any age.
There are many reasons to consider cybersecurity as your next career. Cybersecurity has had a 0% unemployment rate since 2010 so there are tremendous opportunities and job security, and the COVID era and remote working has increased the immediate and increased need for businesses and organizations to hire engineers and analysts in the field and keep their assets safe from any cyber-attack.
Do you want a job in a relatively secure field? Do you want a job that gives you the reward of knowing you protected the data of millions of people or government secrets? Do you want a job that is growing rapidly with endless career growth opportunities? Do you want a salary that is among the highest to be found?
You might want to say “yes”. But before you do, you might want to consider the following.
The “Ugly” Truth About Cybersecurity
What you are about to read is not intended to discourage you from starting a journey into the cybersecurity field. Rather it is to present you with real-world facts that will help you understand what you are getting into and if you have the skills (soft and hard) to dedicate your professional life to it.
1- Cybersecurity Offers Many Career Paths so Choose Wisely
Choosing a career pathway in cybersecurity can be overwhelming. There are a lot of cybersecurity career tracks and each one requires specific knowledge, training, and experience.
For example, if you are interested in networking as your area of experience you could start your career working as a Cybersecurity Specialist, a role that requires skills such as information security, information systems, information assurance, and network security. From there you could become either a Cybersecurity Analyst or a Penetration Tester. A Cyber Analyst will ideally have specific training and experience in network security, threat analysis, security operations, and vulnerability assessment. If you choose a role as a Penetration Tester you would need to learn about Pen Testing, Java, Python, and software development.
So before you decide to jump into the field, make sure you take time to review the most common career pathways, the transition opportunities they offer, salaries, and most importantly the skills, certifications, knowledge, and experience associated with each role.
2- You Can’t Avoid it. There is a lot of Dull Office Work.
Movies have made everyone believe that cybersecurity is all about catching the bad guy who tried hacking into a government or corporate system. Truth is, cybersecurity professionals are spending most of their time doing office work: meetings, paperwork, professional training, working on different projects, and so on. The adrenaline rush happens from time to time when a vulnerability is detected and requires your attention and skills, but that is not the day to day. And by the way, if it is the day-to-day, your defense systems are a real problem.
3- Cybersecurity Professionals Are Always Learning Something New
Anyone who works in this field has to be willing to be constantly learning. Getting certified in different areas is just one step to make your resume more attractive. The truth is every day there is a new attack, a new vulnerability, and a new way to solve things. Cybercriminals could be compared to an evil machine that is constantly working to create different ways to achieve its mission of a cyber-attack. So, cybersecurity professionals need to keep pace and develop new ways to detect, prevent, and tackle those attacks. This requires constant monitoring, training, and acting as the ”bad guy” to test the controls and defense systems in place.
4- The Job Is Never Truly Done
There is no such thing as a completely secure system. As we mentioned before, attackers are always developing new ways to break into systems. People interested in cybersecurity work need to understand that their work schedule is not usually limited to office hours and that there is always something that needs to be done, tested, patched, or created.
Cybersecurity professionals report a high level of satisfaction with their job, and the career offers attractive compensation packages, but before you make this career decision, we encourage you to research what cybersecurity actually means, the different roles you could get into, and how to start your career.
But we hope you do finally act. The industry needs you!