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How to become a cybersecurity expert

Apr 12, 2019, 5:55 am

As a large number of organizations deal with frequent cybersecurity threats, the demand for professional cybersecurity experts is growing at a rapid pace. A cybersecurity expert is trained to monitor website data and analyze security threats on a regular basis to prevent any sort of security breaches. At present, there is a noticeable demand for professionals in this field and the requirement is going to hit 2 million by the end of this year. Companies are ready to shell out a huge amount of money on cybersecurity experts to help them stay safe from all kinds of security breaches.

A cybersecurity professional can specialize in various departments like ethical hacking, penetration testing, computer forensic analysis, etc. This article will try to provide a clear picture of the cybersecurity job roles and responsibilities and will also try to guide people on how to pursue it. But before venturing out to those parts, first, you need to ask yourself whether you genuinely want to take up this profession.

Skills required for Cybersecurity Professionals

Like every other profession, cybersecurity specialists need to possess certain skills like:

  • Stay up to date with security updates and improvements
  • Constantly monitor the security administration of the organization
  • Protect the system against any damage or illegal access
  • Ensure a smooth running of all security tools
  • Ensure that all the security software and tools are updated and working fine
  • Implement training to colleagues and juniors
  • Conduct security audits from time to time
  • Respond to immediate security incidents and provide post-incident analysis
  • Research and recommend security upgrades
  • Maintaining standard information security policy, procedure, and services

How to start a career in Cybersecurity?

If you want to start from the very beginning, a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology is favorable for this profession since someone with a non-CS/non-IT background will lack the basic technical knowledge about cybersecurity. However, it is not impossible for people from non-CS/non-IT backgrounds to pursue this profession. There are a number of professional cybersecurity courses available in the market today, like CEH Certification, CISA Certification, CISSP Certification, and CompTIA Security+ Certification that can successfully train people interested in this field.

Cybersecurity Master Program

Once you gain some professional knowledge about cybersecurity and earn a certificate, you next need to decide the area of specialization. If you are someone who enjoys going deep into a website’s security system and fiddle with it, the role of a Penetration Tester is likely to suit you the most, if you like tracking industry specific news, emails and advisories to prevent the possibility of future cyber-attacks, then you are well off in a Threat Management role. There are a number of different specializations like these within the cybersecurity domain that you can choose according to your interest.

After successfully completing your formal cybersecurity course, you can join an internship program to understand how cybersecurity professionals work. The internship experience will give you the necessary platform to understand and adapt to the professional environment before being appointed as a full-time employee. Once you are on the job, you can showcase your potential by maintaining round the clock tight security for the organization you will be working for.

A cybersecurity job is very challenging and often requires you to move out of your comfort zone and designated hours of work to get your job done. You might need to work over the weekends or address emergency situations anytime. So, be prepared to take sudden challenges and workload. You can check out other important details related to the role of a cybersecurity expert below.

Job Roles & Responsibilities of Cybersecurity Professionals

  • Stay up to date with security updates and improvements
  • Constantly monitor the security administration of the organization
  • Protect the system against any damage or illegal access
  • Ensure a smooth running of all security tools
  • Ensure that all the security software and tools are updated and working fine
  • Implement training to colleagues and juniors
  • Conduct security audits from time to time
  • Respond to immediate security incidents and provide post-incident analysis
  • Research and recommend security upgrades
  • Maintaining standard information security policy, procedure, and services

Working Condition

As a cybersecurity expert, you have to work area will be indoor only, often in coordination with your team or even alone. Maximum work time is usually 40 hours/week but it may increase depending on the need. If you are working as a consultant, you need to travel frequently. Deadlines are often strict and the level of competition varies from moderate to high.

Salary Scope for Cybersecurity Professionals

In the United States, the average salary of Cybersecurity experts varies from $92,500 to $ 148.000 depending on the organization, your level of expertise and years of experience. This salary range is expected to shoot up higher in the coming years as the need for cybersecurity professionals keeps increasing at a rapid pace.

Career Scope for Cybersecurity Professionals

You can start your early career as a System/Security/Network Administrator and develop advanced skills and knowledge before getting promoted to roles like IT/Security Manager or Consultants. Depending on your further experience and performance in your organization, you can retire as a Security Director or Chief Information Security Officer.

Conclusion

Don’t get worried if you are not good at technical stuff and find it hard to code programs. There are other jobs such as activity regulators and auditors that require very less technical skills, which means you can still be a part of cybersecurity field. Try to explore and build relations with the people in the cybersecurity niche and volunteer yourself to help them. Also, try to get an internship from the local security-related organizations. This is a great way to have hands-on experience. Due to the increasing crimes in the cyber niche, there is high demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals.

However, as with many other jobs, advancing to higher echelon needs more than just technical skills. An information security institute SANS says that ‘Employers in the cybersecurity field don’t just seek for knack in the technical skills. They look for the people who love enhancing their personality to keep the job they love. Thus, the soft skills are quite critical for it.’ So, apart from mastering the art of becoming a cybersecurity expert, it’s your onus to develop interpersonal skills, leadership skills, communication skills, and industry involvement. The professionals with these traits find a path which is going to bring a lot of positive difference in their lives.

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