Cyber security IT engineer working showing cyber security career

Navigating Your Path to a Career in Cyber Security: Practical Steps and Insights

I regularly get asked, ‘How should I go about getting a job in cyber security,’ so I thought I would put some of my ideas on paper. These ideas come from my experience in the IT and Security industry, but I think they apply to any industry you want to work in. I don’t believe any of them are new, and I certainly don’t believe this is an all-encompassing list, but hopefully, they are helpful.

Identify Your Interests: Start by exploring the various domains within cybersecurity and identifying areas that align with your interests. There are many fields within the Cybersecurity sector, including network security, application security, incident response, risk management, and more. The cybersecurity world can be a difficult place to work, so as you begin looking for jobs, determine which aspects of cybersecurity you find most intriguing and want to pursue. This exercise will ensure you remain engaged, even during the most challenging times.

Research Job Roles and Requirements: Once you know the areas you’re interested in, research different job roles within those areas. This may be pointing out the obvious, but it’s important to understand the responsibilities, required skills, and qualifications for each role, as this will help you narrow down your focus and create a target job profile.

Evaluate Your Existing Skills and Knowledge: This element may also be obvious, but assess your current skill set and knowledge base to identify any existing skills gaps. You should determine the skills and qualifications required for the roles you’re interested in and compare them with your capabilities. This evaluation will help you understand which areas to focus on and improve.

Pursue Relevant Education and Certifications: Depending on your current qualifications, consider pursuing training or certifications to enhance your knowledge and credentials to close the gaps you identified. This training can come in the form of online courses (there are many free ones) or certification programs. Some highly regarded certifications in the industry include CISSP, CEH, CISM, CompTIA Security+, and GIAC certifications. There are many resources available online that can assist you.

Gain Practical Experience: For me, this is a critical element. Practical experience is critical in the field of cyber security. Seek opportunities to apply your knowledge and gain hands-on experience as often as you can. I recommend looking for internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer positions that allow you to work on real-world projects and develop practical skills. I cannot stress how important it is to understand the fundamentals.

Build a Professional Network: This area has become easier over the last few years since the birth of networking tools such as LinkedIn. Networking is essential for finding job opportunities in any field, including cybersecurity. You should attend industry events and conferences (there are plenty of free ones) and try to meet as many professionals already working in the field as possible. Their insights will go a long way in your journey to finding the right role. There are also many online communities and forums you can join where cyber security experts gather to discuss trends, share knowledge, and explore job opportunities. Networking will help you gain insights, discover job openings, and even receive recommendations from industry professionals.

Create an Impressive Resume and Online Presence: You should tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills and experiences. Include all of the cyber security projects, certifications, internships, or volunteer work you have completed. Additionally, it’s worthwhile creating a solid online presence by building a professional profile on platforms like LinkedIn, where you can showcase your expertise, connect with professionals, and follow industry leaders.

Apply for Relevant Jobs: Regularly search for job openings and internships in your desired area of cyber security. Utilize online job boards, company websites, professional networks, and cyber security-specific job portals to find suitable opportunities. Next, tailor your application materials to each position, emphasizing how your skills and experiences align with the job requirements. Being put forward for roles by people in your network is a great way to start the interview process.

Prepare for Interviews and Assessments: Once you start receiving interview invitations, it’s time to prepare. Research the organization and the role you’re applying for and reach out to people already working there for advice on the best approach.  Practice answering common interview questions and be prepared to demonstrate your technical knowledge and problem-solving skills. Some interviews may also include technical assessments or simulations, so be ready to showcase your abilities. There are tools online that can help you with this.

Continuously Learn and Adapt: Lastly, but importantly, cyber security is an ever-evolving field, so be prepared to continuously learn and adapt to new technologies, threats, and trends. Stay updated with industry news, follow reputable blogs, and engage in ongoing professional development to expand your knowledge and stay relevant.

Landing a job in #cybersecurity may require persistence and continuous learning, so it's important to keep refining your skills, networking, and seeking new opportunities. #respectdataClick to Post

Remember, landing a job in cyber security may require persistence and continuous learning, so it’s important to keep refining your skills, networking, and seeking new opportunities. In time, you’ll increase your chances of finding a rewarding role in the field. I hope you found this useful, and please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.