It is hard to imagine anyone not understanding the importance of cybersecurity these days. From experts in the field to anyone with a bank account, almost everyone of us is touched by technology. We all have passwords and probably most of us have had to replace a card or two because of a data breach. The news is filled with reports of cyber interference and hacking in everything from elections to compromising celebrity photos, to say nothing of the threat of terrorism and espionage. These threats are real and everywhere.
Growth of Cybersecurity Demand
It should come as no surprise then that cybersecurity is an area of tremendous growth and corresponding career opportunity. There is so much opportunity it is certainly a worthwhile area to move in to whether you are considering a change or looking to move into the technology industry to begin with. Current openings are estimated at 300,000 and growth is projected to be near 35% over the next five years. It’s really an understatement to say that there is plenty of opportunity for a stable and lucrative long-term career.
What does this mean for you? What does this mean if you’re a security professional? Should you become one? How do you break in?
Current Cybersecurity Professionals
Well, if you’re already a cybersecurity professional, it’s great news. If you don’t already appreciate your desirability, you’re not paying close enough attention. Start reading up. Check job listings and salaries and compare. There are great positions available to those with experience and knowledge. There simply aren’t enough of you!
That doesn’t mean that planning and effort aren’t necessary for a truly successful career in cybersecurity. Some jobs and money will fall into your lap but you’ll do even better if you have a strategy. Build upon your current skills and expertise. Become deeply expert in a security niche or broaden your knowledge, depending on your goals. You may be able to move up in terms of title, salary and responsibility or you may be able to transfer your experience to an industry or sector that is newly focused on security and where competition is still scarce.
Current Technology Professionals
If you’re already in a technology position, then get ready to learn more about security. Start with what you know – learn everything you can about your department or company’s security challenges and solutions. Network. Talk to friends, colleagues, and mentors to tap into their knowledge or get suggestions from people already working in security that you can talk to and learn from. Consider taking classes or picking up certifications. Join an industry group.
Your current experience is a boon – it makes you a better security professional when you’ve been something else already. Seriously! Understanding how to analyze data and spot trends is an important component of security, making data analysts and other data professionals great candidates to move into cybersecurity. And that’s just one example. Moving from within the industry to the security sector may be one of the more beneficial inter-industry moves.
Professionals Outside Technology
If you’re coming from outside technology, the above advice applies to you as well. Even more so! Learn the basics of IT and then start specializing in security. A certification, associate’s or master’s degree may be the best route to success and necessary to establish credentials for someone coming from a non-tech background. Again, build upon your existing knowledge. If you’ve worked in finance, then look at getting into banking or financial security. If you’ve been part of a pharma company, build upon that industry experience. If you understand supply chain management, ditto. Look for a program designed for this kind of transition or get advice from a current professional about how to pull together the numerous educational offerings in a way that is meaningful and useful to you.
The real point here is that it will be worth the time and effort you put in no matter where you are coming from. The opportunity is real and every indicator is that it will last. Our world is becoming more interconnected, and therefore more at risk, every day. This trend will only increase. The need for security will continue to fuel a need for security professionals. Salary and benefits for these jobs are averaging higher and higher each year and will continue to climb as demand outpaces supply. If you’re considering becoming part of the “supply” we certainly encourage that. Send us your resume – we’re looking for cyber security professionals too!
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