I would be a millionaire right now if I got paid every time someone asked me, “Do I need a degree to get into Cybersecurity”?
You do not need a degree to get into cybersecurity, and the reasoning for this is most degree programs do not set you up to be successful in a cybersecurity role. If you’re around my age or a little younger, college was forced on us during grade school. We were taught that you must go to college to be “successful.” Even though I have two degrees, they were not the deciding factor that got me into cybersecurity. What helped me get into cybersecurity was the IT experience and the desire to learn more skills in cybersecurity.The biggest challenge that most people face getting into cybersecurity is experience and skills, not if they have a degree or not. We’ll touch on a good way to get experience and skills later, but there are clearly many as I have worked with many people over the years that did not have a college degree but were one of the best at their position.
I will say even though you don’t need a college degree to get into cybersecurity, there are some benefits from going to school and getting an undergraduate cybersecurity degree: One of the first benefits of going to college is the ability to land internships easier than people who did not attend school. College also gives you access to a diverse network of future professionals. As you start your career, you realize the importance of having a strong network. One of the last pros I would add to having a degree is it can help you speed up your path to a leadership role in an organization.
I know for a fact, the one thing that no one is talking about in cybersecurity is that it’s more of a highly skilled trade than anything else. In the last 4 or 5 years, getting into cybersecurity has been much easier because of alternative education methods and that we don’t have the number of skilled workers to meet the cybersecurity demands. There are so many types of roles that fall under the umbrella of cybersecurity. You can go from the blue team all the way to GRC. There is a place for everyone and treating cybersecurity as a trade solves the current skills demand.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that less than 50% of people working in information security do not have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Companies don’t care if you have a piece of paper tied to your name. What they want to know is “can this person we hired do the job correctly”. Unlike medical professions, going to school for cybersecurity does not mandate that you have an internship for a certain amount of months. When people come to me about getting into cybersecurity, I tell them to research the skills needed to land the job. The hard part about that is not everyone learns the same, some people can self-study and others need a more structured approach. That is where bootcamps come in.
A bootcamp is typically a program set for x amount of weeks or months. That’s structured to show you the skills needed to land a cybersecurity position. This method has not been around as long as traditional schooling, but often more effective than the college route. This is because unlike traditional college learning, bootcamps focus on things you need to know for your day-to-day task as work.
Bootcamps can be beneficial for many individuals, whether you are a beginner or you’re advanced. It’s structured to help you get more confident about your skill set. This isn’t to take anything away from your experience if you have already been to college, as you have learned a lot of valuable skills. If you are not in cybersecurity and want to be in the field, you might leverage your college experience and enrolling in a bootcamp will be a very strong and efficient path to a cybersecurity job with a very healthy salary. Bootcamps typically cover an array of skills for multiple cybersecurity positions. If you are looking at a bootcamp to join then look no further than, CyberWarrior. They have many video testimonials on their website. They have helped out people from many backgrounds and they provide multiple payment options to ensure you get the training you need to start your career off strong.