Cybersecurity pillar blog

Curious About the World of Cybersecurity? Read to Know Everything About This Career Path!

According to a recent report, cybercrimes have increased by over 600% since the pandemic. And the global annual cost of cybercrime is estimated to be $6 trillion per year. The average cost of a single data breach was a record-breaking $4.24 million in 2021, a 10% increase from 2019. Such alarming numbers call for efficient cybersecurity professionals. As cybersecurity careers rise in popularity, professionals looking to enter this industry have been exploring various cybersecurity courses. However, before we dive into this, let us first get the basics right. 

What is Cybersecurity? 

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer systems from theft or damage to their hardware or software and from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. Also, cybersecurity ensures information is not leaked into the public sphere by error. It also includes identifying unlawful activities and criminalizing them. Cybersecurity professionals protect networks and computers against hackers and other cybercriminals. Also, they help companies develop strategies to protect themselves against potential threats.

Experts in cybersecurity play an essential role in protecting our privacy, security, and financial transactions on the internet. They’re also concerned with protecting our national interests and those of private companies worldwide.

Cybersecurity is both a business challenge and a career opportunity. As businesses rely more on tech to run their companies, they also become more vulnerable to security breaches from hackers looking for weakness in their networks. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated. Fortunately, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing along with the threats that businesses face. Moreover, if you’re interested in pursuing a cybersecurity career, consider how the field has changed over time, which skills employers look for when hiring new talent, and what it takes to succeed in this industry.

Cybersecurity protects information systems from theft or damage to the hardware, software, or processed data. However, cybersecurity is a broad term encompassing many different types of threats and attacks. It is a growing field with many job opportunities for professionals who want to help protect networks, systems, and data from malicious actors.

What does a cybersecurity professional do?

Cybersecurity is not just a job — it’s an important service that keeps our world safe and our data secure. As a cybersecurity professional, you’ll help protect your organization from cyber threats by analyzing potential risks, designing policy and procedures, installing systems and software, monitoring security devices and networks, and responding appropriately to cyber incidents.

What are the different types of jobs in cybersecurity?

#1: Security analysts investigate network security breaches; they monitor systems for signs of malicious activity or unauthorized access.

#2: Security engineers design and implement security systems for organizations using different technologies like firewalls and antivirus software.

#3: Information security analysts review data for risk before sharing it with customers or employees. Also, they develop policies to protect sensitive data from being stolen or destroyed by hackers or other criminals online.

A quick round-up of the tasks of a cybersecurity professional:

  • Protects the network from external threats
  • Monitors the network for suspicious activity
  • Blocks malicious activity
  • Identifies and responds to security incidents
  • Recovers from security incidents

Types of Cyber Attacks

There are three main types of cyberattacks:cybersecurity

#1: Theft of Data: This is when a hacker gains unauthorized access to your system, usually through remote access or a phishing attack. They may extract information that has been stored in databases. Also, they could modify the database itself by inserting malicious code into it. 

#2: Disruption of Service: This is when an attacker uses a denial-of-service (DoS) attack to bring down an entire network until the server crashes and shuts down all services provided by that particular network. 

#3: Destruction of Data: This type involves disrupting equipment used for processing information so that it can no longer function properly.

Did you know that, compared to 2020, businesses suffered 50% more cyberattack attempts per week in 2021? Moreover, new data shows that the rise — partly due to Log4j — helped boost cyberattack attempts to an all-time high in Q4 2021. The education/research sector sustained the most attacks in 2021, followed by government/military and communications. 

What cybersecurity jobs are in demand?

If you are interested in the field of cybersecurity, now’s a good time to enter and shine! The field of cybersecurity is growing exponentially as businesses and governments have become more concerned about protecting their data from hackers.

The following sectors were heavily targeted by hackers worldwide in 2021:

  • Education/Research sector up by 75%   
  • Healthcare sector up by 71%
  • Internet service provider (ISP)/managed service provider (MSP) up by 67%
  • Communications up by 51%
  • Government/Military sector up by 47%

Which cybersecurity skills do employers value?

Cybersecurity skills and knowledge will be in demand for the foreseeable future with the growth and advancement of technology. Here are some of the most sought-after skills:

#1: Coding, programming, and coding languages

The ability to write code is valuable in every cybersecurity domain. However, it’s crucial if you want to work in reverse engineering or penetration testing. Most employers prefer candidates who know one or more popular programming languages such as 

  • Python
  • Java (or another object-oriented language) 
  • JavaScript (the backbone of web applications)

#2: Hacking and penetration testing

This talent makes up for what you may lack in technical education by showing that you can think like an attacker and spot vulnerabilities before cybercriminals can exploit them. You’ll also need to know how to automate tasks using specialized tools such as 

  • Metasploit
  • Wireshark (a packet analyzer), and 
  • Kismet Wi-Fi scanner/sniffer/monitoring tool

Next promotion is a course away

How to kickstart your cybersecurity career?

Here is what you’ll need to get started

  • A bachelor’s degree in information technology (IT) or computer science can be a sure first step toward a career in cybersecurity.
  • Familiarity with various computing services or operating systems can be helpful as you enhance your skills in cybersecurity.
  • Access to online cybersecurity courses to acquaint you with cybersecurity basics at your convenience.
  • A knack for problem-solving, analytical thinking and a keenness to utilize digital solutions for security can be critical factors for a successful cybersecurity career.

The demand for workers with these skills has been steadily increasing as organizations find it harder to find employees who have the necessary qualifications. Also, cybersecurity jobs also tend to offer higher salaries than other positions that require similar skill sets and experience levels. In addition, many cybersecurity jobs are flexible in terms of working hours and location, therefore you could have an entirely remote career too. 

Cybersecurity salary: What’s in the bank?

Cybersecurity Career

The U.S. has a total employed cybersecurity workforce of more than one million people. However, according to CyberSeek, there are nearly 600,000 unfilled positions. Also, there are projects supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) program in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Cybersecurity professionals solve problems with computers (and people) all day long—which means they need both technical skills, good problem-solving abilities, and communication skills. The world needs more cybersecurity professionals for a more secure future, and more roles are opening up. And companies are willing to pay top dollar for the skills necessary to protect their businesses. So if you are passionate about computer science, security, and teamwork, then a career in cybersecurity might be the right move for you.

Cybersecurity job titles and their average salaries, according to CyberSeek:

  • Cybersecurity analyst: $100,603
  • Cybersecurity consultant: $87,753
  • Cybersecurity manager/administrator: $101,802
  • Software developer/engineer: $110,140*
  • Systems engineer: $90,920
  • Network engineer/architect: $83,510*
  • Vulnerability analyst/penetration tester: $101,231
  • Cybersecurity specialist/technician: $99,652
  • Incident analyst/responder: $86,959
*indicates data from EMSI.

Busting Some Cybersecurity Myths 

#1: Myth: You need to be able to code to be a good cybersecurity professional. 

Fact: Anyone interested in cybersecurity can learn how to do it as long as they have the proper training and certifications.

#2: Myth: Cybersecurity isn’t something you can do at home. You need to be working full-time at a multinational company to make a difference. 

Fact: Anyone can learn how to protect themselves and those around them by taking cybersecurity courses online. Many cybersecurity roles are remote too.

#3: Myth: Cybersecurity doesn’t apply to me

Fact: Cybercrime affects everyone—from individuals who have their identities stolen and their bank accounts raided to corporations that lose millions of dollars in intellectual property or proprietary information due to hacking attacks against their systems. Therefore, everyone (including non-technical people) needs to learn how they can protect themselves from these threats!

#4: Myth: Cybersecurity isn’t an issue until someone gets hacked

Fact: Cyberattacks happen all the time—and they’re usually started by people stealing someone’s login credentials or installing malicious software on their devices without their knowledge. Prevention is always better than cure!

#5: Myth: I’m too old to learn new things/I don’t understand the terminology, so I can’t understand this stuff. 

Fact: Anyone can learn and grow in cybersecurity with the right cybersecurity courses. Also, you can start with the basics and gradually grow. 

#6: Myth: This is a field only for men!

Fact: Did you know that women held 25 percent of cybersecurity jobs globally in 2021? Also, this number is fast growing. 

Cybersecurity courses: Learn to defend, learn to grow

Cybersecurity courses are the best way to learn about cybersecurity and can help you prepare for a career in this field. There are many different types of cybersecurity courses, including:

#1: Courses that teach you how to hack into computers and networks. Also, these courses can help you gain an understanding of how hackers work, as well as give you the skills necessary to defend against them.

#2: Courses that focus on specific areas of cybersecurity, like web development or mobile app development and user experience design (UX).

Emeritus offers a wide range of cybersecurity courses for professionals. Also, the courses range from beginner to advanced levels, brought to you from top global universities in partnership with Emeritus. Check out our portfolio of cybersecurity courses here.

Frequently asked questions about cybersecurity

#1: Can cybersecurity professionals work from home?

Yes, absolutely. Cybersecurity is one of the most remote-friendly jobs out there.

#2: Why is this field in demand?

More avenues are open for breaches with the growth of technology. However, with constant cybersecurity breaches, the need for cybersecurity professionals is only going to increase.

#3: Is analytics or coding necessary for a career in this field?

While technical knowledge is appreciated, coding itself is not mandatory. Most courses offer coding modules too.

#4: What are the common misconceptions about cybersecurity professionals?

A common misconception is that cybersecurity professionals are geeks, and mostly men, in their 20s and 30s. On the contrary, cybersecurity is a gender-balanced field, with men and women holding equal positions and across all ages. 

By Annabel George

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