Getting Started in Cybersecurity as a Career

The thought of starting a career in Cybersecurity can be exciting for some, especially those who are just about to graduate or have an avid interest in hacking or computer security. At the same time, it can be daunting to think of someone who has already spent many years pursuing a career in an alternate field and has reached a point to give thought to diversifying and switching to a career in the booming industry and world of Cybersecurity.

For both of these categories of candidates, there is a plethora of information available on the internet, social media, and institutions that provide education in Cybersecurity. According to research by the international non-profit membership association for information security, known as ISC2, it is estimated that there is a shortage of at least 3 million when it comes to the cybersecurity professionals and skillsets required globally.

But with the demand for Cybersecurity continuing to upswing into rising numbers and with the plenty of choices available, it’s pretty natural to get a professional break into Cybersecurity while having lingering confusion and wondering about where to go or where, to begin with.

Here’s some helpful information for just that, and it can help you figure out the right direction that you can pursue and begin with the starting steps to enter into a new career move!

Cybersecurity as a subject deals with the techniques, tools, people, processes, and technology involved in managing the security of Computers and Information Technology.

Types of job roles in cybersecurity: A quick breakdown to choose a discipline based on aptitude

From a professional standpoint, these concepts are focused upon while taking a structured approach to protect businesses from cyber threats. So the first set of job practices involves being on the defensive side of an enterprise or business organization and playing a role that contributes to strengthening the overall Cybersecurity Posture.

  • Within that realm, there are various professional specializations and skill sets required to play specific roles that together operate in synchronization to achieve the different objectives that have to do with securing the businesses against threats. Amongst these roles, there exist process-centric roles and ones that are technical and hands-on. These different roles are often seen in line with the nature or function that such roles play in the Cybersecurity landscape of an organization.
  • Various roles can interest new candidates in this field. Positions range from that of a Security Analyst, Engineer, Consultant, Manager, Architect, Auditor, and Assessor, to senior roles such as Chief Information Security Officer, Director, Compliance Officer, and so on. Each organization can have its unique job roles carved out for a Cybersecurity professional depending upon the skillsets.
  • However, what’s important to know when you begin is first to try and understand where your aptitude lies. Suppose you like programming, developing applications, and reviewing source code. In that case, you might be able to make a great start as an Application Security Consultant. This role involves assessing the security posture and vulnerabilities in an application and recommending how those can be fixed.
  • However, suppose you’re not a person who likes developing applications but would rather be more comfortable in quantitative analysis of reports, alerts, and advisories and are comfortable with some scripting to get around regular tasks. In that case, you may find your fit in the role of Security Operations Analyst.
  • If you’re someone who enjoys a treasure hunt and likes to put puzzles together, you can find your calling in the role of an Incident Response and Forensics specialist. You can accordingly choose to pursue a specialization in that stream as this discipline involves keeping a vigilant eye to identify threats and respond to incidents on the go, and this includes sieving through heavy volumes of event information with the knack and skillsets to identify anomalies by digesting information from various source systems and charting out immediate steps based on strategic and tactical playbooks to take next to respond to potential breaches! It also requires some demanding collaboration with multiple teams that may be involved to act fast and act in time before it’s too late.
  • Suppose you’re not comfortable with either of these options but have a reasonable understanding of how they operate and at the same time find it rewarding to go through lots of reading material and refer them to provide direction to comply with best practices and address gaps. In that case, you will likely find the role of an Information Security Compliance Analyst or Consultant a good fit.
  • But if you are someone who always likes to be on the move, get things done, and want to respond to frequent requirements and challenges every day, the role of a Security Operations Analyst could add wings to your fervour and allow you to feel right in the middle of where the action happens.

Coming from an IT background?

  • For those who already have reasonable experience in related fields such as IT operations, a managerial role can be on the cards where you can leverage your experience and bridge it with the subject matter expertise to deliver significant value.
  • Suppose you like to configure systems, integrate applications, and make things function with hands-on work. In that case, you might find the role of a Security Engineer very interesting as you will get to work on some exciting technologies in the world of cybersecurity.

If you have the finesse to find flaws that can go unnoticed…

  • If you have an eye for detail and the knack to find blind spots where things can be improved, you can consider a career as a Cybersecurity auditor. However, it might be a good idea to start with implementing things first and getting experience of how they function before getting to a stage where you can audit the implementations independently.
  • But if breaking into systems interests you, you can make all the money by doing it ethically as a Vulnerability Assessor and Penetration Testing consultant.

If you come from a non-technical background

  • For those of you who may have experience in an entirely different field and are thinking of a career switch to Cybersecurity, it’s advisable to read the above roles and the fundamental aptitude required for those roles to see if you find a fit, else, you can get started by acquiring professional education in Cybersecurity by enrolling yourself in various programs and certification training.
  • However, it’s essential to have some background in computers and networks before pursuing your education in Cybersecurity as that will make the transition smoother and more comprehensive.

If you’re an existing cybersecurity professional

  • In some cases, you might probably be a Cybersecurity professional and looking ahead to diversify and move to other roles. In such a scenario, it’s worth exploring what your fundamental aptitude is so that you can plan and aspire to move in a direction where you will end up doing a job that you love to do every day instead of making it a standard set of operations which might put you at risk of losing out on the drive and interest to continue in the long run.
  • There are many lucrative options in this field, but how will your interest make the benefits stick for a long time to come? You must be motivated to keep consistently working while also continuing to grow in knowledge and evolve as a professionals
  • Once you figure out where you want to get to, the following steps would be to plan and prepare to acquire the required skillsets through specialized training and certifications. Suppose you get the option of participating in live bootcamps or testing out your hands-on skills in online labs. In that case, it can accelerate your learning and solidify your understanding as a professional.

Here’s the key to deciding your direction

So where should you go? The best path is where you find a blend in your aspiration, aptitude, purpose, and motivation. Sometimes it can make sense to learn and then choose what works best for you.

Although this is an exhaustive exercise, it can equip one with complete end-to-end knowledge and help gain clarity on essential concepts that can ultimately benefit one to pursue a managerial track to specialize in this field.

~Arun Ramakrishnan, Former IS Compliance Officer and Cybersecurity Manager at Reserve Bank Information Technology Pvt Ltd (ReBIT) 

 

Gartner predicts that the worldwide information security market is forecast to reach $170.4 billion in 2022. As organisations ramp up their security measures, it is of utmost importance to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest trends in this realm. What security measures are needed? How do you identify a threat when you are faced with it? How do you translate the learnings to the entire workforce? Get answers to these questions and more, when you enrol in a cybersecurity course at Emeritus India. Get hands-on learning from industry leaders who take you through real-world case studies of companies that faced these challenges. Check out the courses in cybersecurity and take the first step to protect your organisation. 

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