How to Start a Career in Cyber Security

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Cyber Security is the emerging field of interest and value in most industries. The demand for professionals and experts with experience, talent, and deep knowledge has never been this high. The past cyberattacks on institutions, firms, individuals, governments, etc. have only led to an increase in the existing threat. Security professionals can not only strategize avoidance of an attack but also counter it and methodize that retaliation in order to mitigate potential losses.

However, the existing curriculum in most countries doesn’t recognize cybersecurity as an individual course for training and learning. Aspirants are often unaware of the relevant platforms and certifications that they can attain in order to proceed in this field.

Here we chart a trajectory that traces the steps that can be followed by the uninitiated. Students can follow this cybersecurity career path to start making a career in cybersecurity.

Bachelor’s Degree in Security

Computer Sciences and STEM field subjects for school and graduation is the ideal way to begin your cybersecurity career path. A bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security would be most suitable should it be availed. The course would train students with practical engagement. It involves training in statistics, forensics, ethics programming. Some relevant degrees that could be obtained are as follows:

  • Computer Science
  • IT
  • Forensic Computing
  • Mathematics, Physics or any other STEM degree
  • Network Engineering
  • Networks and Security.

These courses could also be pursued at the post-graduation level to account for eligibility in the field.

A Master’s degree in cybersecurity specifically trains students in cryptography, digital forensics, and biometrics.

Associate degree in Cybersecurity

The associate degree in cybersecurity is an entry-level degree that would be a useful additional qualification for those already in the field. A computer support technician position is one that can be achieved by entering the field through this degree.

This course would include skills such as intrusion detection, network technologies, hardware and software systems, and some crucial conceptual knowledge.

IT background for entry

It is also recommended that to begin a career in this field one could acquire a position in the IT field. A cybersecurity career path involving the first few years of experience in Information Technology would be beneficial too. At present, transitioning into security from a general IT field is a general trend. Any training, certification, an internship in an IT field is most recommended.

There are certain entry-level IT jobs and positions that can be helpful for developing a base for entering security. From these particular positions, the transition is smoother.

  • The entry to the position of system administrator can be of use for those who want to transition to the mid-level security engineer or analyst. From this point, they can further become security architects. This is also true if one enters a Security administrator or network administrator.
  • System administrators, security administrators, security engineers can also go for the relevant certification for a specialized ethical hacker. The certifications an IT background can land one in the job for a penetration tester or ethical hacker.
  • Programmers or analysts should look for promotions as security analysts, auditors, engineers or consultants.
  • From any general IT position, one can go on to assume the position of security analyst, administrator, auditor & security engineer. From any of these positions, one can go on to become a security consultant.
  • Those in the position of web developers can go on to get into the web security and position of security software developers.


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There are certain entry-level certifications that can be achieved for additional skills in cybersecurity to transition or start in the field.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Among the most desired security certification, The CEH is the first part of a 3 part EC-Council Information Security Track imparting hacking technologies. Ideal for the ones with no to minimal experience aspiring to start a career in Cybersecurity. Also ideal for those who have some experience in the IT field.

Free Mock Test on Certified Ethical Hacker

Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)

Involves the detection of the attack, auditing into the cause and extraction of evidence from the attack.

SSCP – System Security Certified Practitioner

This is an entry-level certification that can be of use to those with minimal experience in the IT field.

Free Mock Test on SSCP Certification exam is available here

Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Certification Exam imparts advanced knowledge in Access Control Systems, Cryptography, and Security Management Practices. Candidates who take this exam typically network security professionals & system administrators having an experience of at least 4 years in two or more of the ten test domains.

Free Mock Test on CISSP Certification exam is available here

CompTIA Security +

The certification covers the necessary information for risk management and network security. Validates skills in installing & configuring systems to secure applications, networks, and devices; performing threat analysis and responding with appropriate mitigation techniques; participating in risk mitigation activities.

Free Mock Test on CompTIA Security+ Certification exam is available here

Certified Information System Auditor (CISA)

CISA- Certified Information System AuditorThe certification deals with surveilling, auditing, assessing, monitoring and regulating information systems.? Training on auditing, monitoring, assessing information systems and controlling.

Free Mock Test on CISA

Global Information Assurance Certification ( GIAC)

Certification is pertinent to forensics and investigation. If one is to attain this certification one can also pass security clearances. These security clearances are particularly relevant to those whose work would involve engagement with classified information. Personnel and facility security clearances are provided by defenses of the governments.

Security Specialty & subdomains

Entry into security is not enough. There are interrelated subdomains and positions that can be pursued once a particular field of specialty has been mastered.

Networking, Software Development, System Engineering, Financial and Risk Analysis, and Security Intelligence are the primary positions for entry into the main domain of security jobs.

From these particular positions one can go on to become a Cybersecurity specialist, technician and cybercrime analyst and investigator, Incident Analyst and Incident Responder, IT auditor.

All of these positions are interrelated in terms of the skills they involve and the practical tasks that emerge on the field.

To create your cybersecurity career path, the choice of the primary position would be crucial as it will determine the domains that could further be pursued at an advanced level.

Hands-on Experience

Attaining hands-on experience in the field helps one to decide the specialty that interests them. Also, such practical engagement exposes one to the particulars of a position. For instance, one can determine whether their interest lies in security device deployment or into breaching networks and applications that are a specific task in pen-testing.

There are various online projects that can be accessed for learning and practicing.

Skills to develop

  • Programming Skills: Certain programming skills assist in designing of security programs. Programming Skills can also be of essential use for the analysis of security breaches and threats.
  • Principles of Security: For the avoidance of security lapses, vulnerabilities and breaches it is necessary to be able to maintain a sense of confidentiality, control, privacy, authentication etc. in every action.
  • Malicious Codes: The development and perpetuation of malicious codes must be understood.
  • Intrusions: Intrusions should be studied. A recognition of intrusion techniques, new developing intrusion techniques their effects must be in the knowledge of the security officer.
  • Risk Analysis and Management: Understanding a client’s specifics such as confidential dealings, public interaction, services, threats etc. channelizes the risk assessment of the firm i, e in case an attack occurs how much would the damage cost. Management of these particulars is expected of the security professional.
  • Network Protocols: The uses, differences, and functions of the various network protocols should be known by the security personnel.
  • Communication Skills and Discretion: It is essential that security personnel are capable to deliver their ideas and plans to the technical and nontechnical experts with clarity. It is also necessary that they are conscious of the vulnerabilities of a firm and able to manifest trust.

The high demand for security jobs and the insufficient workforce has caused the salaries for security professionals to be really high. It is the ideal time for those in the IT-sphere to ascend to a cybersecurity job. Students who are still in school or college can choose a cybersecurity career path for them to follow and start preparing for a lucrative career

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