For those that are thinking about a career in cybersecurity or those early along a career path in this field, there is a lot to know as this is a relatively new industry and one that is going through extraordinary growth.
There are many perks to a career in cybersecurity, and you can certainly earn a lot of money, but it is also one of the most demanding areas to work in and will become highly competitive in the years to come.
With this in mind, here are a few career tips for cybersecurity professionals that will hopefully help you along the path to success and help you to enjoy your work.
Work on Your Soft Skills
Technical skills and knowledge are obviously essential in this field, and you will need to develop these (more on this to come), but you must also make sure that you have excellent soft skills.
A lot of your work will involve engaging with other people, whether this is clients or colleagues, and you will often have to present your work in a clear and succinct manner. On top of this, you also need to be able to manage your time effectively, be well-organized and be able to work as part of a team.
If you feel that any of these soft skills are lacking, you should look into developing them as best you can. Often, this can be achieved by research (including online reading), classes/training courses, and practice (the best way to develop any soft skill).
Become a Tech All-Rounder
You will need to have expertise in cybersecurity to find any level of success in this field, but you should not limit yourself. It is also worthwhile developing strong knowledge and skills when it comes to all types of tech and IT, which should help you to better understand many of the cyber issues that arise and could also be helpful for gaining work experience and getting your foot in the door.
Gain as Much Experience as Possible
Leading on from this, cybersecurity can be a tricky industry to penetrate as you have the catch-22 situation of needing to have the experience to find work.
This is why you need to gain as much relevant experience as possible, including working as part of an IT support team, taking an internship/volunteering, or even starting out as a freelancer and offering your services to those who need them. Gaining relevant experience will also help you develop your professional network, which is hugely important in a field like this (more on this to come).
Figure Out Your Career Path
Much like in many different industries, it is helpful if you map out your career path as there are many different roles and areas that you can expand into. The journey along these paths is often similar, such as with a masters in cybersecurity, but there may be experiences and training that you need, and it is helpful to know what you need to achieve as early on as possible.
Once you have an idea of what path you want to follow, you will need to communicate this with your boss and determine what steps need to be taken to achieve your goals. Keep in mind that sometimes this might mean that you have to move to a new business or even move to an entirely new area. There are hundreds of different job titles to look into, with a few of the main examples including:
- Security analyst
- Security engineer
- Security architect
- Security software developer
- Ethical hacker
- Security consultant
Engage With the Industry
Those who excel in cybersecurity usually make cybersecurity an important part of their life – you must keep in mind that this work is incredibly important and an ongoing battle. This means that you need to engage with the industry and immerse yourself, and this will help you to stay current, stay motivated and engage with the community. There are lots of different ways that you can do this, such as:
- Online communities
- Industry publications
- Industry events
- Social media
Develop Business Knowledge
The best cybersecurity professionals are the ones that also have sound business knowledge, and this could help you to rise to leadership positions as well as improve your communication with clients.
From a business standpoint, you must keep in mind that they simply want cybersecurity to run in the background and offer strong protection against the latest threats. Therefore, you need to be able to see from their point of view and deliver solutions that will enable them to find success and achieve their business goals without having to worry about cybercrime.
Earn a Masters in Cyber Security
A masters in cyber security is an essential degree if you want to reach the top. A masters in cybersecurity will develop all of the key skills and knowledge that is required to protect both businesses and individuals from the latest digital threats and data theft with a cutting-edge curriculum and interactive learning experiences.
You can also earn a masters in cybersecurity entirely online, which should make it easier to fit into your busy schedule, and you can start applying what you learn on the masters in cybersecurity straight away.
The masters in cybersecurity will also prepare you for roles in managerial and senior leadership positions, which will allow you to make a bigger difference with your work and reach higher levels of success.
These days, nearly 1 in 4 seeking cyber professionals are looking for someone with a masters in cybersecurity, so this is certainly a qualification that you will want to have on your resume.
Be an Independent Worker
While you certainly need to be a strong communicator and work as part of a team, you will also find that you need to be a self-starter and work independently with a career in cybersecurity.
You will often be working by yourself, and during antisocial hours, so it is important that you are able to get the work done by yourself and be able to work without supervision.
For many people, this way of working can be a perk of the job as you are often not tied to an office desk 9-5, but it can also interfere with your personal life.
Show Leadership Potential
You also need to be able to show leadership potential if you plan on climbing the ladder. As mentioned, the masters in cybersecurity can develop some of these skills, but you also need to show this in your work by showing initiative, taking the reins at the right moments, developing strong relationships, and supporting your colleagues.
It is true that some people seem to be better leaders than others naturally, but you can also learn and develop these skills, and this will be worthwhile if you want to reach the top. You can learn about leadership from leaders throughout history and online research, training courses, and practice.
When you work in cybersecurity, you will be dealing with sensitive data and information with your clients, which means that you need to be someone that people can trust.
You need to abide by a code of ethics, maintain professionalism at all times and form strong relationships with your clients in order for them to feel that you are trustworthy so that they can feel confident in putting their sensitive data in your hands.
Build a Large Professional Network
As with any other industry, you also need to put in the effort to build a large professional network in cybersecurity, and you should start doing this as early as possible.
Having a large professional network will help to improve your professional reputation, but it could also increase the chances of new opportunities arising – it is always helpful to have connections in a competitive industry like this, and this could make all the difference to how quickly you can progress along your career path.
It is worth networking both online and offline when it comes to this industry, but keep in mind that relationships need to be maintained over time, so you will need to keep in communication with people and be willing to do them the occasional favour.
Create an Online Presence
Following this point, you will also find that it is useful to have an online presence so that people can look you up. It is worthwhile having a professional website created which will act as an online resume and detail your background, experience, skillset, qualifications, and contact information.
You should also have a portfolio of your work along with quotes from previous employers and clients that you have worked with.
Maintain Professionalism at all Times
As a relatively modern area and one centred in tech, there is sometimes a misconception that professionalism is not important when it comes to cybersecurity. This is not the case due to the importance of the work that you are carrying out, so you must always make sure that you are acting professionally at all times.
On top of this, you should also take pride in your appearance and dress smartly for work to project professionals and to build trust. If you struggle, you might also want to research and practice how to project confidence and make strong first impressions with people.
Work on Your Interview Skills
Leading on from this, you will also need to know how to excel in an interview if you are to succeed. This is obviously true for any field of work, but cybersecurity can be competitive, so it is important that you can interview well along with having qualifications such as a masters in cybersecurity.
You might find it helpful to formulate answers to expected questions, to list your accomplishments along with the challenges in your career to date, and to practice interviews beforehand.
On top of this, always make sure that you receive feedback from an interview if you were not successful – this can be tough, but this is the best way to improve for next time and will hopefully help you to find success.
Look Out for New Opportunities
Even with a large professional network and a masters in cybersecurity, it is rare that opportunity falls on your lap, so it is important to keep an eye out for yourself when looking for a change.
You should scour job boards, ask around and approach businesses to see if there are any opportunities available that you would be well suited to. As mentioned earlier, sometimes this will mean making a big change, but if you have plans to excel with a career in cybersecurity, then this will need to be something that you are willing to do.
Look After Your Health
Finally, it is important that you are looking after your health. Cybersecurity can be a stressful and demanding job and one that involves spending a lot of time inside and looking at screens, so it can be very easy to neglect your health with a career in this field.
This is why you need to make your health a priority, including both your physical and mental health. There are many ways to do this, including:
- Making sure that you are taking regular breaks
- Taking time off
- Limiting screen time
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting enough exercise
- Knowing the signs of burnout
- Communicating if you are struggling
Hopefully, these career tips will come in useful for anyone working or planning to work in cybersecurity and help you to achieve your goals.
There are many perks to a career in cybersecurity, but it is also incredibly demanding and can be competitive, so you will need to know how to stand out, excel and enjoy your work.
The sky is the limit with a career in cybersecurity, but it will not be easy to progress, and you will want to keep the above tips in mind in order to take the right steps.