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Is a Career in Cybersecurity Hard? Explore Opportunities, Salaries and More
In a digitally-connected world, data breaches and cyber crimes such as identity theft, phishing scams, and hacking are growing at an alarming rate. This is perhaps why cybersecurity has become one of the fastest-growing career fields. According to reports, nearly 3.5 million cybersecurity positions are known to be open across the world today. However, this begs the question: is cybersecurity hard to get into? So let’s begin with the basics.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a system of data protection practices that includes a wide range of security measures to manage the confidentiality of digital assets from cyber threats.
Cybercriminals or hackers usually seek to gain unauthorized access to confidential information. They practice data theft, extort money, indulge in ransomware attacks, or disrupt business operations. In fact, with the rate at which digitization is accelerating, no individual or organization is fully immune to cyber attacks. To minimize any risks associated with such potential threats, it is absolutely essential to have strong cybersecurity measures in place.
Cybersecurity systems are like superheroes who fight the bad guys to ensure that people are safe and protected. So, cybersecurity is hard to ignore in a world that is becoming completely digital.
Keep reading: What is Cyber Security?
Is Cybersecurity Hard to Learn?
As a promising career path with ample room for growth, it is obvious to wonder if the technical skills that cybersecurity positions demand is actually not challenging to learn. But, as with any other career path, if you have a real passion for the subject and are willing to work hard, cybersecurity can be a great space to thrive in.
Is cybersecurity hard to learn? It is challenging but not as challenging as many other research-based or lab-intensive fields of study. Still, it is a constantly changing space, courtesy of new technologies. A security measure that works today may be completely obsolete a few months from now due to digital advances. Cybersecurity is so fast-paced that one must constantly upskill to keep up with the latest industry trends. In short, is cybersecurity hard to learn? Maybe not but it is certainly tough to keep up with.
Moreover, if you aim to be a cybersecurity professional, you will need to equip yourself with both hard and soft skills. Apart from technical skills, you may need to improve your skills in report writing, presentation, customer negotiation, and analytical thinking to maintain consistent growth in the field.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Cybersecurity?
Learning about cybersecurity fundamentals from scratch can take anywhere between one to two years. Resources include online training courses, videos, as well as degree and certificate programs. However, your learning timeline will differ based on the branch of cybersecurity you choose and whether you have prior experience.
Suppose your aim is to become a cybersecurity expert. In that case, a combination of education, certifications, and experience in the field will help you learn about the right cybersecurity tools. A Bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity will take you three to four years. In contrast, a Master’s degree can be between one and two years. Pursuing a cybersecurity degree requires dedication, time, and resources. Still, it ensures that you learn about the scope of the field in detail.
For a certification course, the duration will depend on the institution it is accredited by. Generally, it ranges between one month to six months. Whereas a coding bootcamp, a technical training program, usually takes about four months to one year to complete.
Is cybersecurity hard to learn on your own? That depends on your capacity for self-study. It can take about two years to understand the basic cybersecurity concepts for those who want to take the self-learning route using free online resources.
You can explore cybersecurity courses from the best universities in the world hosted by Emeritus.
What are the Job Prospects in Cybersecurity?
As a constantly evolving industry, the prospects of cybersecurity positions will likely increase in the foreseeable future. Based on your skills and interest, there are multiple paths you can pursue. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, the rate for Information Security related jobs alone is likely to grow by 35% between 2021-31, which is much quicker than other occupations.
Since cybersecurity is just an umbrella term that hosts multiple branches, there are many facets to this career path that, by default, enhance job prospects in the field. In fact, you may have heard of something known as the cybersecurity talent gap. In simple terms, think of this as a growing gap that denotes a significant mismatch between the number of trained cybersecurity experts and their global demand. In 2021, only 17% of Fortune 500 companies had board members with a cybersecurity background. However, this number is predicted to rise to 35% by 2025 and 50% by 2031. So, is cybersecurity hard to get into as a career? Not if you have the right credentials and skills.
As there has been an ongoing growth in the rate of cybercrimes, it directly points to the dire need for skilled personnel in the industry. Most organizations focus on finding candidates who have an understanding of technical skills as well as the right soft skills for the job. However, a strong flair for technology will obviously give you an edge over other applicants.
What are Some Ways to Simplify Cybersecurity?
Step 1: Take Small Learning Steps
Before you start, it is not mandatory to be absolutely thorough with the concepts of cybersecurity. Since it is a vast field, the best way to approach it is to learn something new daily and be consistent with your learning. Make an effort to keep yourself updated on recent trends and work on improving your skills daily.
Step 2: Develop a Passion for It
If you are not passionate about what you do, you are likely to find it difficult and monotonous. However, developing a strong interest in technology will help you find even the challenging aspects of cybersecurity enjoyable.
Step 3: Focus on Soft Skills
Technical skills are an integral part of cybersecurity. However, don’t forget about soft skills. Developing soft skills will help you break into the industry and be more efficient. Whereas working only on technical skills may restrict your growth in the cybersecurity industry.
Step 4: Practice What You Learn
As a constantly evolving field, there is always something new to learn about cybersecurity. Therefore, it is essential to practice what you learn every day to help you understand better, clarify concepts, and keep up with the pace of the industry.
How to Kickstart A Career in Cybersecurity
There is a wide range of educational paths for learning cybersecurity. Investing in education is a huge part of getting the proper foundational training in cybersecurity. But before you make this decision, you must analyze your future goals. Second, choose and customize your cybersecurity branch to study to be more attuned to your individual needs.
These are some prospective learning routes to building a career in cybersecurity:
1. A Formal Education
An academic institution that offers a Bachelor’s, Master’s, Diploma, or an online degree program is a common learning choice for many. A BTech or BSc degree in computer science, Information Technology (IT), or other IT-related domains will help you cover the foundations of cybersecurity. Moreover, getting a widely accepted formal qualification is a great way to kickstart a cybersecurity career.
2. Cybersecurity Certifications
For those who are sure about the domain of cybersecurity they would like to specialize in, an IT certification is a well-suited option. For example, if you want to learn more about ethical hacking, asset security, access management, or other specific branches, an IT certification can offer a precise learning path. You can also choose your domain based on the job roles you are looking to target in the future.
3. Online Courses
Many online learning platforms provide beginner to advanced-level courses in cybersecurity. At Emeritus, you will find a wide range of certificate & online courses in cybersecurity. These online courses are intensive and offered in partnership with top global universities. Explore our portfolio of cybersecurity courses here.
4. Cybersecurity Bootcamps
An online or offline coding bootcamp is a great way to learn about cybersecurity tools and skills within a short duration. These bootcamps are usually structured around real-world scenarios. They are designed to offer hands-on experience by industry experts. It is also a great way to develop a portfolio of work before entering the industry.
So, if you are keen on being part of a rapidly-evolving industry with high growth and learning prospects, cybersecurity is ideal for you. Moreover, compared to other technical fields, cybersecurity does not require complex mathematics or intense practicals, which makes this career field a lot easier to learn.
By Priya Iyer Vyas
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