Are you considering a career in cybersecurity? This is one of the best career paths to follow moving forward; it is an industry that will be in great demand with cybercrime on the rise and a huge threat to individuals and businesses of sizes and all industries.
Cybersecurity is going to be incredibly important moving forward, so there is a chance for a successful, rewarding, and lucrative career. Still, it is also a fast-changing and incredibly competitive industry which means that you will need to know how to succeed. Read on for a few career tips which should help you to get ahead.
Immerse Yourself In Cybersecurity
First, you need to immerse yourself in cybersecurity and see this as more of a passion than a career. This is because it is an incredibly complex, technical, and fast-changing industry which means that you need to stay current if you are to find success, so you need to know all of the latest news, trends, challenges, technologies, and practices. A few ways in which you can do this include:
- Online communities
- Industry publications
- Blogs, newsletters, and podcasts
- Social media
- Industry events
Do Not Just Focus On Cybersecurity
While you certainly need to immerse yourself in cybersecurity and earn a suitable cybersecurity degree, it is also true that you are well-rounded in tech in general. Those that have a solid understanding of modern technology and IT tend to absorb cyber issues better and can see the big picture, plus this could also help to open up more career opportunities that are useful for finding work and gaining experience (more on this below).
Work On Your Communication Skills
Indeed, this is primarily a technical profession, but you will need good communication skills to get ahead here. This is because you will be working as part of a team a lot of the time, but also you will need to engage with businesses and individuals, and if you want to move into a management position then you will need great communication skills.
Of course, this involves you being able to vocalize your thoughts clearly but also being a good listener – one of the most underrated skills in any profession. Being able to listen to exactly is what is needed of you is important for building trust, accomplishing the necessary goals, and addressing any key concerns. It might seem difficult, but it is possible to improve communication skills, and this can help you in many areas of your life, so it is certainly worthwhile.
Earn A Cyber Security Degree
It might seem obvious, but you need to earn a reputable cybersecurity degree to get your foot in the door but also to progress to the next level. A Master’s cyber security degree is certainly a cybersecurity degree that will come in useful and teach you all that you need to know to protect businesses and individuals from the latest digital threats, plus you also will learn the key soft skills and professional skills required to thrive in a business setting.
Keep in mind that around 1 in 4 employers seeking cybersecurity professionals require a master’s cybersecurity degree and this is expected to rise with more and more people entering this in-demand industry in the coming years.
Be A Self-Starter
While it is true that you need to be a great communicator and have a cybersecurity degree to succeed in this industry, it is also true that you need to have a self-starter attitude and able to work independently. Employers will want to know that you will be capable of working to a high standard unsupervised and have a strong work ethic to make their own work easier.
If you can show that you have a very strong work ethic and you can follow orders, this could even help you to get a foot in the door without prior experience or without skills/knowledge that could be taught through training.
It is important to understand that in this industry, being trustworthy is everything. Businesses will be putting their sensitive data in your hands, and your protection is critical to success, which means that you need to be trustworthy. This is obviously achieved through communication, but you must also respect your profession, and your colleagues, and be committed to a code of ethics. It is also helpful to maintain a professional image at all times.
Gain As Much Experience As Possible
Much like many other industries, many people struggle to get their foot in the door in cybersecurity because they lack experience. This means that you need to gain as much experience as you can whether this is voluntary work, being part of an IT team, or through an internship. Being able to prove that you know how to work in an office environment and in this industry will help you to stand out and prepare you for life in a fast-paced industry like this, particularly if you also have a cybersecurity degree to show that you have the technical knowledge too.
Find A Mentor
A mentor can be useful if you can find one either through work, networking or a mentorship program as they will be able to provide invaluable advice and guidance as you progress your career. It is easy to make mistakes when it comes to fast-changing industries like this, but when you have someone with experience supporting you, it will help you to make the right decisions and could even open doors for you.
Understand The Importance Of Security & Business
Being able to see the big picture is essential if you want to progress your career and reach management levels. It is easy to see cybersecurity through a small lens. Still, when you can look at the overall importance of security and the role that it plays for a modern-day business it will give you a much clearer view and help you to communicate with business owners on a better level.
Develop Leadership Skills
Following on from this, those that want to progress their career must also develop leadership skills. Leadership skills will demonstrate that you are capable of moving up the ladder and able to lead a team as well as see the big picture. You will likely be asked to take the lead on a project at some point, and this is the perfect opportunity. Still, you can demonstrate your leadership skills through supporting co-workers, taking on additional responsibilities, going the extra mile, being an industry expert, and by showing an interest in the company outside of your own position.
Establish Your Career Goals
Much like with any other career path, it is a good idea to establish what your career goals are and then work out what steps need to be taken to achieve these goals. This is important not only for ensuring that you are kept on the right path at all times, but also so that you can motivate yourself and have something to work towards. People often plateau and tread water for a long time in their careers and usually, this is because they do not have a goal to work toward, so goal setting is a great way to keep moving forward.
Communicate Your Career Goals
You also need to communicate with your employer and make your career goals clear. They may assume that you are happy in your position otherwise, so making them aware is helpful because they will be able to offer advice and find ways to help you progress. Not only this but making them aware also communicates that you could look to move to another business if you are not achieving your goals within the company.
Keep A Lookout For External Opportunities
Leading on from this, to progress a career in this industry, you may sometimes have to move to another company (much like any other industry). It can be hard moving from a business that you are happy at, but sometimes they can only take you so far, so you need to look out for new opportunities and be willing to make the change. This may even involve having to move to a new location, such as to a major city where there is likely to be more work (and higher salaries).
Build A Professional Network
Opportunities will arise a lot more frequently when you have built a large professional network over the years. Networking is essential for career progression as it is how you meet people that you may be able to help/may be able to help you and improve your professional reputation.
As you might expect with an industry like this, networking online is popular, and there are lots of ways to do this like social media and online communities, but you also need to make an effort to network in person too. Networking in person allows you to make a much stronger impression, build relationships, and enjoy socializing with others.
Build Your Online Presence
It is helpful to have an online professional presence that will come in useful for employers and networking. This will involve having a professionally designed website which acts as an online CV with information such as:
- Cyber security degree information
- Work experience
- Skill set
- Portfolio/case studies
- Testimonials from clients and employers
- Contact information
You may also want to create professional social media profiles and to clean up any personal social media profiles that you have as employers will check here, especially in this industry. You should also use digital marketing to increase the visibility of your professional website. It is also worthwhile registering with various job boards to get job alerts emailed directly to you – this will help you to respond quickly to job adverts and make you easier to find by those that are currently recruiting.
Improve Your Interview Technique
For those interested in a career in cyber security, you need to understand that it is getting incredibly competitive, and you will need more than a cybersecurity degree and some experience to land a role. This is why you need to work on your interview technique to make sure that you are coming across well in interviews and standing out as a candidate.
You can’t beat practice and experience as a teacher, but you can learn a lot online and it is always worth asking for feedback – while it is sometimes tough to hear, those that succeed are the ones that are willing to look in the mirror and improve on their weaknesses.
Look After Yourself
Finally, you need to make sure that you look after yourself. Cybersecurity is an industry where it is very easy to burnout because the work never stops, there can be a lot of pressure, and it is very technical. This is why you need to prioritize your own wellbeing and make sure that you do not overwork, you find ways to relax after work, lead an active and healthy lifestyle and enjoy life away from work.
Looking after yourself will not only help you to come in each day feeling fresh and ready to perform to a high standard (this will help you to stand out from the crowd), but it will also make sure that you are happy in both your life and career.
The cybersecurity industry is one that will play a huge role in the near future in today’s increasingly internet and tech-driven world. As you would imagine, this means that it is a career path which many young people are now taking but this does mean that it is highly competitive and you will need much more than a cybersecurity degree to find work and progress your career. Hopefully, these tips will come in useful and help you to stand out from the crowd in this industry.
If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.