How to Become a Cybersecurity Specialist A Career Guide

The field of cybersecurity is blessed with lots of alternative qualification options, namely certifications. Because of certifications, you and I in the cybersecurity field aren’t stuck in a situation where only a degree can serve as an option to prove our knowledge. This fact has helped thousands of technology professionals over the years build a career without the college commitment. However, there are many reasons to study in person at a university if possible.

But regardless of the range, a cyber security engineer can earn some serious pay. In the case of a standard software or web developer, not much is at stake if they make a mistake; you may need to push back a deadline, a client might become unhappy, but nothing more than that. However, when your main task is to develop and implement security systems, an error might lead to severe data loss and potentially even financial ruin. A college degree will also provide an advantage when it is time to move to a higher position. Some companies might make a distinction between standard and online degrees, but it usually doesn’t matter in what way the degree was obtained.

Cyber Security Degree

Earning a degree or certificate in cyber security can help demonstrate to future employers that you have learned vital skills related to this industry. However, a degree program dedicated to security can provide you with invaluable experience and knowledge that can make you competitive in this field. As cyber security becomes a more common area of study, these jobs may become more difficult to enter without the requisite years of study. There is a multitude of cybersecurity certifications that cover different IT and security aspects. Candidates with multiple security certifications are more valued to an employer than a candidate with only a degree. Certifications exhibit that a candidate is skilled in a variety of security disciplines and is more qualified to handle today’s wide range of complex security issues. In a nutshell, even if you do not have a degree, you can still get a satisfying job in cybersecurity if you achieve multiple industry-demanded security certifications.

  • They may require employees to change their work passwords frequently or to report any unusual activity on their work computers.
  • Security analysts working in high-ranking government offices will earn more than those working for small private companies.
  • As an IAM analyst, you will be charged with ensuring that only people with certain clearance levels can view important data and tech resources at a given organization.
  • Medical, manufacturing, and avionics companies rely on this infrastructure.

Generally, a bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Once a professional has determined their career track, they need to specialize in a subset of skills. These might include complex areas like cyberlaw or power systems protection. They could be more rudimentary, such as skills in penetration testing or Unix I. Although individual job titles can vary, most cybersecurity experts engage in some similar day-to-day activities and need comparable skills.

Breaking Into Cybersecurity With No Previous Experience

Internships are also a good option – they will offer you a chance to learn from more experienced specialists and may lead to permanent employment later on. Don’t forget to list both the hard and soft skills you excel at on your resume. Even if you don’t have a relevant college degree or a certification, clearly showcasing what you’re good at might be enough to land you an entry-level position at a cybersecurity firm. Cybersecurity professionals with bachelor’s degrees earn more than those without.

how to become a cyber security specialist without a degree

If you find college expensive or stifling, you can study by yourself and gain the requisite skills to start a cyber security career. Books, blogs, and trade magazines should be your constant companions. Assembly language is a low-level language that speaks almost directly to computer hardware. It is a vital tool to have in a cyber security professional’s toolbelt.

What Skills Do You Need to Land a Cyber Security Job?

Enrolling in college also provides the benefit of networking and being around other people who are trying to learn the field as well. The value of being in a positive environment like a college classroom cannot be understated.

Computer forensics has to do with digging through computer systems to find digital data that can be used as evidence in criminal cases. Cyber security analysts should have at least some computer forensic skills. This is one of the best technical fields to enter if you’re interested in intrusion detection and solving problems. Companies how to become a security specialist employ ethical hackers to hack into their fully protected systems. If they are able to hack the system, the cyber security analyst or ethical hacker will give the company a report on their network security vulnerabilities. On the other hand, experienced professionals in the top one percent of cyber security jobs make up to $304,500.

Types of Cybersecurity

Additionally, banks, financial institutions, and healthcare institutions will need to increase their immunity against cybercriminals. As such, they’ll employ more security analysts to create innovative methods to stop cybercrime in its tracks. For every year between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects that there will be around 16,300 job openings for information security analysts. The BLS estimates that the employment rate for information security analysts would grow by a whopping 33 percent from 2020 to 2030. Security specialists with solid leadership traits tend to embrace more responsibilities.

how to become a cyber security specialist without a degree

Ask intelligent questions – In many interviews, the interviewer will invite you to ask him or her any questions. So don’t be caught off guard; ask something that shows an understanding of and a curiosity about the role for which you’re applying. Protect and Defend — Identifies, analyzes, and mitigates threats to internal IT systems and/or networks. In a further breakdown, entry-level professionals earned less than $60,060, which is still higher than the national average wage—those in the top 10% made above $163,300 annually. Cybersecurity professionals often work in the utility sector, such as electricity, power, and water. This is because hackers can cut off utility supplies, causing the country to lose vast sums of money.

AI can also be used to detect threats and other potentially malicious activities. Cybersecurity companies are teaching AI systems to detect viruses and malware by using complex algorithms so AI can then run pattern recognition in software.

What qualifications do you need for cyber security?

  • IT.
  • Cyber security.
  • Computer science.
  • Forensic computing.
  • Network engineering.
  • Networks and security.
  • Mathematics, physics or other STEM subjects.

Being passionate about one area will show hiring managers you can have an impact there. And more than a degree itself, recruiters want to see that applicants for cybersecurity roles have gotten some hands-on experience along the way—either in school or a prior job. Additionally, security specialists often work under tremendous pressure. If a cyberattack, infiltration, or breach is detected, no matter the time of day or week, they need to be present to deflect it, find the perpetrators, and perform damage control. Critical thinking and clear reasoning in high-stress situations are a must-have for someone holding this job position.

Determine Your Ideal Job Role and Career Path

The strategies security analysts may use include implementing firewalls and other protective software to keep digital data safe. Apart from identifying security risks, a network security engineer also comes up with recommendations that will keep each part of an organization’s network safe. Knowledge of computer forensics, threat detection, and threat response is required for this role.

how to become a cyber security specialist without a degree

Some students create their own learning experiences with books, trade magazines, podcasts, and other resources. While this approach can be helpful, students may struggle to present their knowledge and skills in a way employers can evaluate quickly. A doctorate in cybersecurity can prepare students for careers as research scientists, university professors, or chief information security officers. Students may focus their dissertations or culminating research projects on their areas of specialization.

Some cybersecurity professionals work by themselves, but more often than not, they are a part of an IT security team in an organization. This requires communication and active listening skills to be able to work within a team. The US News report states that an information security analyst’s title is number five on the best technology jobs list. Analysts of this type develop and implement security policies and strategies, ensure they are regularly updated, monitor these policies’ results, and adjust them if necessary. A security analyst might also be tasked with organizing security training for other employees. Different positions within the IT security sector will have different responsibilities.

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