How to Get Into Cyber Security: Your Education and Career Requirements
Cyberattacks will only become more common, which means a cyber security career is profitable. Here’s how to get into cyber security with career requirements.
Keyword(s): how to get into cyber security
Most people still don’t trust the internet. This fact is unfortunate with our economy benefiting from the success of eCommerce giants like Amazon.
A consumer trust survey showed that most people believe they’ll fall victim to fraud this year. The cyber security industry is quickly picking up pace to help protect companies and consumers from these anticipated threats.
Now is a great time to make a career move into cyber security. Check out this quick guide on how to get into cyber security including education requirements.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security is the protection of networks from cyberattacks. Cyber security professionals use processes that help recover or prevent device, network or data breaches from unauthorized people.
As with most aspects of Information Technology, no one thinks of cyber security until something goes wrong. A strong cyber security team keeps information protected so that clients and colleagues never need their help.
The industry will continue to grow as everything continues to become more cloud-based. Most people and businesses rely on computers to store every aspect of their lives.
Commerce, bill payments, password storage, financial management, and medical data are all stored online. With recent high profile data breaches in the news, organizations are starting to pay more attention to their vulnerability to attacks.
IT governance is required for any public company that sells financial products. This means they have to have a system in place for protecting sensitive data.
These protections also help against auditing fraud as seen with Enron and WorldCom. Cyber security professionals help keep the economy moving by ensuring the flow of information and money meets federal regulations.
How to Get Into Cyber Security
The path to a cyber security career varies based on your current experience. If you’re already in IT, focus on continuing education to learn the latest network security laws.
Master a specific IT skill as a selling point to potential employers. Showing prowess in scripting languages, like Python and Bash, is also helpful.
If you’re not in IT yet, it’s important to get the fundamentals before pursuing your career. Cyber security is one part of a larger Information Technology whole.
Consider taking online IT classes or going to night school to get the basics. The added education not only helps you on the job but proves to employers that you are serious about the career choice.
Most career changers have no related experience to add to a resume. Including new educational experience gives you relevant information to include on your resume.
Do I Need a Degree?
There are entry-level cyber security careers that allow an Associate’s degree. Most positions require a four-year degree usually related to Information Technology.
On-the-job experience can replace the need for a degree especially if you come with high recommendations. Network with other IT professionals to improve your credibility.
Recruiters may be willing to look beyond your education level if you come highly recommended by credible professionals. Volunteer with local industry associations if you prefer less direct contact.
Volunteering allows you to show your work ethic. Networking events are best if you’re outgoing and do well with selling yourself.
What About Certifications?
Certifications won’t replace a degree but it can make you more competitive as a job candidate. Certifications help you remain up to date on the latest requirements in the cyber security field.
With technology constantly changing, cyber security professionals need refreshers to help them provide quality services. This is why certifications can expire but a degree does not.
A college degree is based on an ability to complete coursework but doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the most knowledgeable expert. This is especially true with the Information Technology field that has to adapt to new devices being released on a constant basis.
Getting certified will provide you with the tools you need to respond to the latest threats in the market. There’s not one specific cyber security certification that covers all bases.
Choose the certification that best matches your intended career path within the field of cyber security. Here’s a list of cyber security certifications to consider:
- CRISC (Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control)
- CISM (Certified Information Systems Manager)
- CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)
- CISSO (Certified Information Systems Officer)
- CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
The CIRSC, CISM AND CISA certifications are for beginners. CISSO and CISSP are advanced certifications.
Certification vs Degree
The path to a cyber security career will be different for everyone. Getting a four-year degree isn’t possible for everyone.
Bachelor’s degrees require a large investment. If you choose a student loan, the debt can take decades to repay.
A certification is a great option for professionals already in the workplace. The cost is much more affordable than pursuing a computer science degree.
The certification process is also much faster. A combination between a four-year degree and a certification offers the widest range of job opportunities in cyber security.
The key is getting started where it makes the most sense for your lifestyle and budget.
As one of the fastest-growing careers, cyber security professionals earn a higher salary per year compared to other industries. Entry-level salaries start around $55,000 per year while more senior cyber security professionals make more than $100,000.
The current job growth rate is at around 28 percent with more positions available than there are qualified professionals. This gives an advantage to anyone committed to becoming the best in cyber security.
You have the opportunity to advance quickly as you add value to an organization.
The Road to Success
The key to anything is always to get started. Learning how to get into cyber security is a good first step.
Preparing yourself by reviewing continuing education options is the next step. No matter where you are in your career, you can always take things a step further.
For more information on cyber security certifications, check our blog for updates.
Are you ready to start your cybersecurity journey?