5 Cybersecurity Career Paths and How to Get Started

Cybersecurity specialists serve as the first line of defense against attempts to steal sensitive or private information. While cybersecurity job descriptions vary, they all hinge on a deep understanding of complex technology and procedures for ensuring an organization’s information is never compromised. Both the systems and the protocols are constantly evolving to keep up with changing risks and the bad actors who aim to exploit them.

We’ll also discuss how to get started in cybersecurity and what your career path might look like. Many of the most coveted certifications require (or at least recommend) some previous experience in cybersecurity or IT. If your career goals include a job in this in-demand industry, there are some steps you can take now to start gaining the experience you need. CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level security certification https://deveducation.com/ that validates the core skills needed in any cybersecurity role. If you’re interested in starting a career in cybersecurity, consider the Microsoft Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate on Coursera. This program is designed ​​to help individuals with no previous experience learn in-demand skills, and prepare for Microsoft’s SC-900 exam and a first job in cybersecurity, all at their own pace.

Cybersecurity Analyst

These three-year, full-time, paid roles help participants build their skills or switch to a new career. You’ll find more than 300 different certifications, and the quality isn’t always the same. Earning a certification in cybersecurity can validate your hard-earned skills and help you advance your career. Here are some things to consider when choosing which certification is right for you. Earning the GCIH validates your understanding of offensive operations, including common attack techniques and vectors and your ability to detect, respond, and defend against attacks. The certification exam covers incident handling, computer crime investigation, hacker exploits, and hacker tools.

  • These articles take an inside look at the roles related to CompTIA certifications.
  • For example, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 35% projected employment growth rate for information security analysts from 2021 to 2031.
  • Second, the growing sophistication of cyberattacks means that organizations need more skilled cybersecurity professionals to protect themselves.
  • To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers.
  • “Security has just gotten more and more important every single year and there is so much work to be done,” says Kunal Anand, CTO of Imperva, a cybersecurity company.

Threats to online security closely shadow the history and development of the internet itself. Starting as early as the 1990s, simple antivirus software like the Reaper, created by Ray Tomlinson, became necessary to protect user’s online activity. One useful guide is the Cybersecurity Workforce Framework developed by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This framework categorizes various specialty areas and can be for learning more about various specialty areas within cybersecurity. Even for vendor-specific certifications, many skillsets are transferable, so don’t worry about getting pigeonholed. A good hold over the working of firewalls and network load balancers is critical.

How to Become a Security Specialist

However, cybersecurity focuses exclusively on protecting digital assets, while information security covers digital and physical information across all mediums. Our goal is to attract and retain a diverse group of talented employees to support our mission. The eight examples above are a modification from a Tech Republic article that rings true to this day. You must understand you are part of a larger cybersecurity team – a team that may not put your interests first. Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocating for mental health, empowering women, and educating youth. Monali’s goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skill set, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.

cybersecurity specialist

A strong foundation of education, combined with internships and professional experience, set candidates up for success. Security specialists take responsibility for their organizations’ computer-related security, protecting company data against cyberattacks. Companies hire these professionals to prevent security breaches by analyzing current systems, researching ever-evolving risks, suggesting improvements, and implementing changes.

In fact, some cybersecurity roles don’t require a background in computer science—and can still help drive meaningful business decisions. According to Zippia, the average cybersecurity specialist salary in the U.S. revolves around $88,100 per year (or $42.35 per hour) as of January 2022. Also, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York are the U.S. states that offer the highest salaries to cybersecurity specialists. Cybersecurity specialists employ investigative analysis and engineering skills to track and diagnose security events and tackle vulnerability issues. They also recommend potential solutions such as hardware and software programs that can minimize the impact of breaches.

With these credentials, security professionals validate and even improve their ability to implement best practices as security specialists, paving the way to more expertise and job opportunities. Many employers require cybersecurity specialists to obtain prior work experience in information security or a related field. Experience in a particular industry, such as banking, may give aspiring security specialists a leg up on other applicants aiming to work in that specific field. A cybersecurity specialist’s role provides exciting opportunities to handle critical cyber threats and, in turn, safeguard a company’s information systems and infrastructure.

cybersecurity specialist

A security specialist’s exact duties may vary by company, but they can expect to complete the following tasks in the course of their work. Security analysts, in particular, spend their days studying the devices in use, analyzing network structure, and testing security measures like firewalls and software permissions. This is among the most common roles on a cybersecurity team and an excellent entry point into the world of information security.

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