350% growth in open cybersecurity positions from 2013 to 2021
The New York Times reports that a stunning statistic is reverberating in cyber security: Cyber security Ventures’ prediction that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs globally by 2021, up from one million positions in 2014.
If you plan to build a career in Cyber Security or shift your current career to Cyber Security, the time could not be better. If you are from an IT background or non-IT background, there is a place for everyone in this career with no age limitation or regardless of your academic study/degree. You just need to have a good and effective plan to get yourself ready for this rapidly growing career and to invest time, effort and maybe a small budget to get yourself ready in a short period of time, but from where should you start?
Today’s world is different than before with everything connected online from your mobile devices, smart TV, cars to power grids and water pumps; everything is being attacked beside the importance of information, which becomes the main asset of any business.
WHAT IS CYBER SECURITY?
Cyber security refers to the technologies and techniques used to protect information and systems from being stolen, compromised or attacked. This includes unauthorized or criminal use of electronic data, attacks on networks and computers, and viruses and malicious codes. Cyber security is a national priority and critical to the well-being of all organizations.
Accordantly many organizations start to look for cyber security professionals to protect their business and comply with law and regulation that enforce all organizations to protect all their information (i.e. HIPAA, SOX, and GDPR.)
The good news about a cyber-security career is that it requires different types of skills; both technical and non-technical. If any organization needs to protect their systems/information, they need to have technical control in place such as Antivirus, Firewall but they also need to have non-technical controls such as policy/ procedures, business continuity planning and information security awareness.
Now I think you are convinced that this could be the right path for you. But the main challenge is, from where to start? Should you start by taking a cyber security training course? Ok, but which course will be suitable for you? Or read a book. What is the right approach?
First Step – To identify your objective based on your qualifications and background.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, based on your technical background, you should decide your path. In this article, we will discuss the cyber security career path for IT staff coming from Network, Development and support background. However, in the next article, we will discuss the career path for candidates who do not have a technical background.
Second Step: Build your Skill Matrix.
This Matrix is an Excel sheet that includes the most common cyber security jobs and the skills you need to have in order to apply for this job. You can download a free skill matrix template and the good news is that you will find many common skills between different cyber security jobs (i.e. Vulnerability assessment, Risk assessment…). You will need to learn those skills, know how to perform them, understand which tools are used and what is their output. It’s important for you to practice everything in a virtual environment.
Third Step: Create your own checklist.
This Checklist will help you track your progress and map it to the skills matrix.
Fourth Step: Select the right resources
Selecting the right resources for the study is very essential; you can use online courses, instructor-led classroom, books or free resources such as YouTube, Blogs, and Forums. We suggest you go for online courses due to their reasonable prices, particular demonstration and clear course goals. This list will show you the available courses mapped to the Skill Matrix.
Fifth Step: Getting Certified
Holding a professional cyber security certificate such as CISSP, CEH, is also very important to demonstrate your skills. It is considered as a replacement for the academic degree if it’s not a cyber security degree. In the table below, you will find an average salary survey for cyber security professional certificate holder according to Forbes :-
Sixth Step: Getting real-life experiences
Apart from taking courses and professional certificates, you need to get a significant real life experience.
Some platforms will give you an opportunity to join a real cyber security project, this is a golden chance and will save you a lot of time and effort. Please check this link.
Seven Step: Update your CV and LinkedIn profile
Finally, you will need to update your CV and LinkedIn profile to update the new skills you learned.