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How can I develop a career in Cybersecurity?

How can I develop a career in Cybersecurity?

Currently, IT jobs and careers are very competitive, and the better individuals get the best career offers.  However, there is still ample space for anyone interested in moulding a career in the digital sector.  There are enough opportunities for those entering the IT career and those already in the IT sector but would like to change their job role.

The financial payload in cybercrime goes into trillions of euros, and the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing exponentially, perhaps even higher than in other areas. The only areas to compete with Cybersecurity are the areas in Software Development and Data Science.  It is estimated that by 2022, there will be a global shortage of between 1.8 to 2 million cybersecurity professionals.  Other studies make this even much higher.​

Cybersecurity is a highly interesting subject and has the potential of attracting many prospective IT professionals. The roles within Cybersecurity are wide, and therefore the career development will always depend on the role. To mention a few, we can include Cybersecurity Analyst, Cybersecurity Architect, Cybersecurity Engineer, Cybersecurity Researcher, Cybersecurity Instructor, Cybersecurity Technician, Forensic Computer Analyst, Penetration Tester, and the list goes on. 

But to make it simple, let’s focus on the Cybersecurity Analyst career.

If one is embarking on an IT career in Cybersecurity, then at a minimum, one should have basic knowledge about operating system (e.g., Windows, Linux, etc.) security.  After this, one should learn about network technology to acquire a good knowledge of the network basics. Having access to hardware would be essential to get the right experience. In the meantime, one should take up basic industry certifications. 

I would suggest CompTIA Fundamentals, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Network+. This will give me enough knowledge breath to jumpstart a career in Cybersecurity. As a foundation, one would need to have 1-2 years of experience.

Going one step up to the intermediate level, one should consider CompTIA CySA+. 

Additionally, I would recommend the CREST Practitioner Threat Intelligence Analyst certification. Supplemented by CompTIA Cloud+ and CompTIA Server+, and with 2-3 years experience, one would make an excellent Cybersecurity Analyst. 

Carrying on with up to 5 years of experience and getting certified even further with something like the CREST Registered Threat Intelligence Analyst would get you at an advanced position.  And if you would like to be called an expert, I would suggest going in for the (ISC)2 CISSP and CREST Registered Threat Intelligence Manager.

In my view, developing a career through industry certifications would make a professional complete in meeting the industry requirements.  Of course, there is an academic route by going in for a Computer Science degree that emphasises Cybersecurity or for a Computer Science Degree and Masters in Cybersecurity.  This is another career door one can open. One can then complement the career with some of the above industry certifications.