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Are you interested in a career in cyber security? If so, you’re not alone. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global cybersecurity market is one of the fastest-growing industries, with a projected annual growth of 13.4 percent through 2029. This means there are plenty of opportunities for those wanting to get into the business. Below are our top tips on increasing your chances of success in a cybersecurity job. 

Cybersecurity is Not an Entry-Level Job

Just a heads up to anyone coming into the industry: It’s not entry-level. 

Many people — especially new graduates — mistakenly apply for cybersecurity jobs, only to realize that almost all companies expect at least three to five years of experience in Information Technology or a similar field.  

This lengthy pre-requirement for a cybersecurity job is one factor that contributes to the cybersecurity skills shortage. The traditional pathway into cybersecurity often expects professionals to have a decade of doing general IT before companies hire them. 

While there will always be exceptions (you might be one of the lucky few to get in with only a few years of experience), expect most companies to demand years of work experience and sometimes, even a master’s degree for the role. 

The bottom line is when a company needs a cybersecurity professional; they likely need an expert who can be immediately effective. They neither want nor have the resources to train someone with little experience. 

Acquire Technical Skills and Cybersecurity Certifications 

Make sure you have the necessary skills before applying for cybersecurity jobs. This includes strong technical skills and experience in network security and system administration. You should also be familiar with various hacking techniques and how to protect against them. 

You should get certified. Employers put a premium on cybersecurity certificates. The most popular certification is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification from the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2).  

Suppose you’re new to cybersecurity and lack the necessary experience. In that case, you can still take the test to become an Associate of (ISC)². After passing the exam, you’ll have six years to build the required experience for full CISSP certification.  

Other popular cybersecurity certifications to consider are: 

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) 
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) 
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) 
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) 
  • CompTIA Security+ 
  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) 
  • GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) 
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) 
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) 

While some certificates are essential for the role, the reality is work experience will always trump certifications.  

So, why bother even studying for certifications then?  

It is because upper management and hiring managers use them as a baseline for evaluating a potential candidate. Certificates help validate a candidate’s particular skill set. 

You don’t need to hoard certificates like some people, but having a few cybersecurity certifications under your belt will help get your foot in the door. 

Find the Right Niche

Cybersecurity is a broad discipline that includes everything from risk assessment to policy writing, code reviews, and database analysis. Find a niche that interests you.  

A specialist is considered more valuable than a generalist in the tech sector. Specializing in one field of cybersecurity and becoming a true expert at it is the quickest path to a successful and profitable career. 

The CISSP handbook is a great resource for finding a cybersecurity niche. You can also look at various forums and organizations such as SANS org. 

Look at existing job openings and follow the cybersecurity trends. With your specialization in mind, research what it takes to become an expert in that subject, paying close attention to people’s backgrounds and career paths that led them there. 

Once you’ve nailed down your specialty, it’s important to remember that cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field. Just because you think it’s your niche today doesn’t mean it will still be in the next years. Be prepared to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances when needed. 

Network with Other Cybersecurity Professionals 

Networking with others in the industry is one of the most important things you can do for your career.  

Start by talking to people you know in the field and reach out to professionals who work in roles you’d like to have someday. Tell them you’re looking for guidance and advice as you enter the cybersecurity industry and would like to speak with them. 

Utilize social media as a networking tool. Create and update your social media pages, including your LinkedIn profile.  

You should also attend cybersecurity events, hackathons, and industry conferences and connect with the cybersecurity professionals you meet on social media. 

Remember: It takes time to develop professional ties in the industry, but it is frequently one of the most effective ways to get a cybersecurity job. 

Position Yourself as a Leader

If you’ve already begun a career in cybersecurity, you’re most likely eyeing a promotion or looking to advance in the field. Positioning yourself as a leader is critical if you want to move up the career ladder.  

Keep up with industry trends and share them with your colleagues. Offer to speak at the upcoming cybersecurity conference. Proactively approach your work and hone your leadership skills, including having good business acumen.  

It’s important to note that since leadership roles often need extensive business knowledge, you may need to get business certifications or an MBA. Thankfully, there are business programs designed for cybersecurity professionals looking to advance their careers. 

Final Thoughts

A career in cybersecurity is an exciting and lucrative opportunity within the tech industry. By following the advice above, you can increase your chances of success and be on your way to a rewarding career in this field. 

If you need help taking your cybersecurity career to the next level, Jarvis Rose can help! 

Jarvis Rose is a global leader in cybersecurity recruitment services. From security engineering to cybersecurity sales, leading IT and cybersecurity companies work with us to help them find the best talent. We have successfully helped thousands of cybersecurity professionals get their dream jobs.   

Ready to make your cybersecurity career goals a reality? 

Get in touch today.