Cybersecurity is a very large field, filled with many specialized jobs that require a large variety of skills. Though it seems silly to point this out, it is sadly necessary to state that “cybersecurity expert” is not an actual job title. The hardest part of getting a cybersecurity career is knowing how each individual component works. For example, if you want to be a security analyst, you might have to understand coding, cybersecurity law, binary exploration, and reverse engineering. So how is one to start delving into all these facets?
Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag games are ethical hacking challenges that put people in high-pressure hacking situations. These simulations usually consist of a person having to defend their computer systems against a hacker by patching vulnerabilities, changing passwords, etc. These challenges are fun, light, and easy ways to dip your toes into Cybersecurity. Additionally, they help you understand the different aspects of cybersecurity, which in turn helps you choose a cybersecurity career.
Research the Field and Lock Down a Career
Once you have gotten comfortable with the basics and have found enjoyment in the process, the next step is pinpointing what specific field you want a career in. It is essential to research the different sectors within cybersecurity and familiarize yourself with what each sector entails. It’s important to also take stock of your own strengths and weaknesses. Do you have specific skills that are useful in something like pen-testing? Are there things about programming that you think you wouldn’t enjoy?
Maybe you enjoy the translation and coding aspect of cybersecurity and want to hone in on cryptography. Or perhaps you enjoy taking apart a system and finding the weak spots. In that case, you would focus on reverse engineering. Find your niche and focus on honing your craft.
Get a Degree.
It is very well known that employers are more likely to hire people who possess formal education within the field. Being self-taught is admirable. However, many programs will go above and beyond to help foster your talents and help you become more versatile and skilled in your cybersecurity career.
The University of San Diego, for example, has a Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering program. Programs like these provide skills in a wide variety of cybersecurity facets, such as architecting, network fielding, solution development, and more. Colleges are where you can get experience and practice in the field you’ve chosen. The University of San Diego works to cover all bases of cybersecurity, such as testing student’s technical knowledge, foundation engineering skills, security assessment abilities, and system design skills.
Becoming comfortable in cybersecurity is a process. Nobody gets good at it overnight. It takes hard work, practice, a ton of research, and a willingness to both learn and innovate. But there are always steps you must take to kick-starting your career. Fortunately, there are many support systems you can access.