For those with a passion for tech, a career in cybersecurity could be a rewarding way to make a living and potentially a very lucrative one too. Cybersecurity is rapidly growing as an industry to combat the rise of cybersecurity, and it is now something that every business and individual requires. Cybersecurity is now in the mainstream and an important part of life, so you can get great job satisfaction knowing that you are doing good in the world and helping people to stay safe and protect their sensitive data. So, how can you get started on this career path and develop your career? Keep reading for the key steps to take, including studying for a masters in cybersecurity.
Research Different Career Paths
First, it is important to realize just how broad cybersecurity is these days. There are all kinds of different jobs and paths that you can follow, and the demand for specialists is high, so it is worth spending some time researching what the different options are and what might appeal to you. Cybersecurity professionals can work in practically any industry. You can work as part of a large cybersecurity firm, provide cybersecurity for an individual business, or even work as a self-employed specialist. A few career options that could open up after completing a masters in cybersecurity include:
- Network engineer
- Chief information security officer
- Solutions architect
- Application developer
- Security manager
- Information security analyst
Build Basic Skills
You will then want to start working on basic skills before embarking on a degree. Self-direct learning can involve teaching yourself to code (you can do this online), building your own PC, creating an open-source project, and joining online communities to learn more and to start building a network. When you have an idea of what career path you want to follow, this will also give you an idea of the technical and soft skills required, so you should look into developing these at this stage.
When you have basic skills and knowledge, you will want to start applying this, and you might find that there are volunteer opportunities that could be invaluable when it comes to putting what you have learned into practice, gaining experience, and building a network. There might be cybersecurity projects at work or school, non-profits and charities looking for help with cybersecurity, or even conferences and other industry events that are looking for volunteers to help run the event.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Next, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, information technology, computer science, or a similar field. You might be able to find work without a bachelor’s degree, but it will be much harder, and the degree will help develop key industry skills and knowledge that will help you stand out. With cybersecurity growing year on year, there are always new degrees to consider, and often these can be taken entirely online, including a bachelor’s and masters in cybersecurity. Make sure that you really focus on your studies in these early stages so that you can gain a strong understand and stand out in what is likely to become a competitive field in the years to come with so many people looking to switch to a career in cybersecurity.
Develop Your Communication Skills
At the same time as developing the necessary technical skills to excel in cybersecurity, you should also develop your communication skills, particularly if this is an area that you struggle with. Having strong communication skills is important in all lines of work, but particularly with a field like cybersecurity where you will be working closely with people, explaining what you are doing, and building trust. This means that you must have strong verbal, listening, and presentational skills as well as know-how to project confidence and build trust. Communication skills can be developed with research and practice, which could improve many other areas of your life.
Gain Relevant Experience
At this stage, you will want to gain some relevant experience to start your career path. A bachelor’s degree should help you to get your foot in the door in some capacity, such as working as part of an IT team for a large business or an entry role/internship at a cybersecurity firm. You will want to learn as much as possible from your early experience and use this as a chance to start building your professional network too.
Find a Mentor
Following this point, it is also hugely helpful if you can find a mentor at this early stage in your career. Mentors can be a real game-changer when it comes to relatively new industries such as this as they can help you to avoid common mistakes, provide support and guidance and even introduce you to their network to open up new opportunities. You might be able to find a mentor at your place of work, through attending an industry event or through a mentoring program.
Communicate Your Career Goals
It is very hard to progress your career if you do not let your career goals be known to your employer. They should then be able to advise you on what you need to do to reach the next stage, plus this will also show that you are driven and could start to look elsewhere if an opportunity does not arise within the business.
Cast a Wide Net
The good news is that cybersecurity is rapidly growing, and you can find work just about anywhere and in any industry. Hopefully, this will allow you to find some work and build experience where you are located, but you might also want to cast a wider net when the time comes for new opportunities. These days, a lot of the work can be carried out remotely, but you will find more opportunities in major cities, so you should keep this in mind if you have plans to climb the ladder and reach the top.
Get a Masters in Cyber Security
With 1 in 4 cybersecurity employers seeking those with a masters in cyber security, you will want to earn a masters in cyber security relatively early on in your career progression. A masters in cyber security will develop the skills and knowledge that will be required for more senior and leadership roles, including proficiency in machine learning and AI, score software design, penetration testing, and more.
A masters in cyber security can also help prepare you for further qualifications. The fact that you can take the masters in cyber security entirely online can also make it much easier to work into a busy schedule.
Build a Strong Resume
You will need to have a strong resume in order to find work in cybersecurity, particular when you consider how competitive it will be in the years to come. You should find ways to make your resume stand out from the crowd and ensure that it has all of the important information that employers will be looking for, which will include:
- Masters in cyber security
- Relevant job experience
- Hard IT skills
- IT and cyber achievements
- Professional IT certifications
Create a Professional Website
A resume is obviously important, but you should also have a professional website that you can direct people to these days. This is a chance for you to expand and include information on your education, background, and experience and a portfolio of any work that you have done to date. You should also obtain quotes/testimonials from those that you have worked with to show that you have experience and that you are reliable.
Network Online and Offline
You should also be constantly looking to expand your professional network, which could be key when it comes to finding new opportunities and advancing your career. You can network in person at industry events, and you should always carry a business card that contains a link to your password and try to maintain these relationships in person too. Online networking is also an effective way to build your professional network, and you can do this on Linkedin, social media, and online communities. Cybersecurity is a global industry, and often you can work remotely, so you can cast a wide net when looking for new jobs, and the internet can certainly help you to build and maintain a large, global professional reputation.
Work With Recruiters
While cybersecurity is growing and there is a strong demand for professionals, you might also find it difficult to find new opportunities, particularly if you are working and/or studying. This is why you should work with recruiters that specialize in cybersecurity, which could help to uncover opportunities that you might have struggled to find as well as save you a huge amount of time. Recruiters that specialize in cybersecurity will also be able to offer personalized advice to help you to prepare and find success with your job search.
Improve Your Interview Skills
Following on from this, you will also find it helpful to improve your interview skills, particularly if you have not had one for a long time and/or this is an area that you struggle with. This is the key step in progressing your career, but it is an area where many fall down, which is often due to nerves/stress and being unprepared. Being prepared can solve both of these issues, so you need to think about how to answer the questions you are likely to face, list your accomplishments (more on this below), think of questions to ask, and practice beforehand.
Stay Current With Tech and Trends
It is important to recognize that cybersecurity is constantly going through change due to the fact that cybercrime is evolving and new threats are constantly being developed, plus there are new technologies that are changing the landscape and can create new vulnerabilities. A masters in cyber security will teach you the key skills and knowledge to excel, but you must also commit to staying current with the latest tech developments and trends. Currently, a few types of technology that you need to know about include:
- The cloud
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Encryption technology
- Deep learning
Track Your Accomplishments
Once you start your career in cybersecurity, it is a good idea to track your accomplishments so that you can provide clear evidence when the time comes to progress. Much like any industry, you will need to put in the work and wait until you can start to climb the ladder, and you need to make sure that you are in a strong position once the time comes. This should include tracking your accomplishments, learning as much as you can, and develop any new skills that will be required in order for you to reach the next level in your career.
Work on Your Weaknesses
Everyone has weaknesses in their profession, but those that go on to achieve great things are the ones that identify what these are and turn them into strengths. This is why it is important to spend time reflecting on your performance at work as well as to ask for feedback from your employer, colleagues, and even those that you work with. It can be hard to hear constructive criticism, but this is often the best way to identify your weaknesses as there may be something that you were unaware of. You can then spend time working on this weakness, such as improving your self-confidence, working on your presentational skills, or developing a technical skill that has been holding you back. No matter how good you are at your job, there’s always some way of being able to improve further.
Many people are looking to embark on a career in cybersecurity, whether they are starting their first career path or switching from a different field. It is easy to see why because cybersecurity is growing and such an important part of life, plus there is the chance to earn very good money for those that progress their career. These are the main steps that you will need to take to get started and progress your career and hopefully set you on the path to success, such as gaining a masters in cybersecurity.