As more and more organizations and governmental institutions are getting digitalized the threat of the cybersecurity breaches is immense. The result of this is obvious – the need for experts in this work area grows significantly day by day and more people choose cybersecurity careers as their path in life.
In short, cybersecurity is exactly what it sounds like. It is the practice of protecting sensitive data from hackers, thieves, and other people who are interested in illegal actions. Cyberattacks are an evolving threat to everyone, from the organizations’ chief managers to their employees and customers.
The long term for cybersecurity would be the practice of defending digital devices like computers, mobile devices, networks, servers, systems, and data from malicious attacks. The synonym of the cybersecurity would be informational technologies security.
A strong cybersecurity system must consist of multiple layers of protection that are spread throughout the whole computer network. But that is not the only important thing in this work area. To operate to the maximum safety, informational technologies security requires people that are capable of making the right choices to secure the data. The good news is that everyone can aim for cybersecurity careers and learn how to recognize and avoid cybersecurity threats.
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Why It Is Cybersecurity So Important?
A quote from Josh Feinblum, the CSO of DigitalOcean organization says: “We live in a world of unprecedented connectedness”. Every year, there are more and more devices that are connected to the internet. With each of those devices, we submit more data about ourselves, our daily lives, and our activity. Although with all these actions we are trying to improve the quality of life, it also exposes us to more risks than ever before.
The personal data is spread through so many places in the network, it might seem overwhelming trying to control it. Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, states in its’ report that worldwide information security costs around 124 billion dollars. This includes cloud, data, identity access, application, and many more security services.
Cyberattacks have the potential to cripple many business companies, and most of them recognize the importance of their network safety. Cybersecurity careers have been enhanced over the past years. The statistic that leads to the growth of jobs in informational technology security is undeniable: over six million data records are stolen or lost worldwide every single day.
Other than business companies, there are many more institutions that can be harmed harshly by cyberattacks. Governmental institutions, politics, diplomats and social wellness of the society can be affected even more. Scandals like Cambridge Analytica happen with the help of cybersecurity breaches and in result, they influence nations’ elections, divide the people and lead to the rise of propaganda.
With all these factors it is clear that cybersecurity became one of the most important security measures in the modern-day world. The question is, what do you need to get started?
Before Getting Started
For those who are considering taking on the path of cybersecurity careers, it is important to evaluate some of the current skills. Although there are no crucial requirements to begin learning about the possibilities in the cybersecurity, some are still vital to do so:
- Basic computer knowledge. The whole informational technology security thing mainly revolves around the computer. If you don’t know how to operate it successfully, it will be extremely challenging learning about cybersecurity and how it works. On the other hand, if you are interested in jobs in cybersecurity, means you should already have a decent understanding of how computers work and their peculiarities.
- Understanding basic cybersecurity measures. Although this may seem like an overkill before starting the digital security courses or training but having a basic understanding of how cybersecurity measures work can make the learning process a lot easier.
- Simple cybersecurity knowledge. Same as already mentioned above, it might be helpful to do some additional research about your future career and its’ peculiarities. Get to know about simple informational technology security terms like a virus, Trojan, phishing, ransomware, etc. This kind of knowledge will be useful to understand the purpose of cybersecurity careers and jobs.
While these are only simple steps that will help you along the to become an expert in this work area, there is one that will help you the most. It is motivation and eagerness to learn. Cybersecurity is a complex field to master but it’s not rocket science. If you are willing to put in the hours in learning and working hard, you’re halfway there.
When starting to pursue a career in cybersecurity it is important to understand that this field is similar to engineering or even healthcare. There are many branches of the work area that you can work on, and each of them requires a different skillset.
Following the story of Akshay Sharma, a computer science expert, after working as a developer for years he decided to start working in the cybersecurity area. Prior to his experience, he thought that it would take no time to become an expert in this field. To his disappointment, it wasn’t so easy. Cybersecurity careers most of the time are a new, clean-slate experience, even for the advanced IT experts.
Everyone needs time to adapt, so give yourself time and don’t worry about the path you’ll take at first. To get started, these are the recommendations to get a good overview of cybersecurity basics:
- Operating systems. The most common computer systems in cybersecurity are Linux and Windows. If you have the possibility, start by using the Linux one and learn how to administer it using the Command Line Interface. This skill will be extremely useful no matter what path you are going to choose in informational technology security. CLI is opposed to the Graphical User Interface (GUI).
- Applications. Pursuing cybersecurity careers requires the skill to maintain, configure, and run common computer applications such as a database, web server, or DNS server.
Don’t give yourself a harsh time by trying to learn everything at once. Start by learning the basics and try to grow your skills over time. Continuous research, learning from your mistakes and having a critical mind will be the key parts of your entire career.
Working in Cybersecurity
Jobs in cybersecurity are versatile and welcome people from both, technical and non-technical backgrounds. When you think first about a job as an information technology expert, your first thought is that you need to be professional in computer science. That is not entirely true. Having a non-technical background in cybersecurity is not a disadvantage but an opportunity. Let’s take some time to separate the paths of cybersecurity careers:
Technical Background Possibilities:
Having experience in development, programming, and computer science is surely a benefit. It enables the person to decode certain computer-related issues at a faster pace. All these skills are easily transferable to a cybersecurity role. Programming experience helps a lot when it comes to detecting malicious code and how to defend it. Web developing knowledge turns out useful when it comes to cross-site scripting. Software engineers can do a great job mitigating vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows. Some of the jobs that can be acquired in cybersecurity with a technical background are:
- Virus technician. This job requires knowledge about the latest viruses on the ‘market’. A virus technician is a person that develops software to fight off the viruses and protect the network.
- Security engineer. The person that works as a security engineer monitors the network for security breaches, looks for vulnerabilities that can be abused by hackers, and develops security plans.
- Cryptographer. The main goal of a cryptographer is to create encryption algorithms to secure data. The reason for this is simple – if the hacker steals the data, he won’t be able to open it and abuse it. Additionally, cryptographers also analyze and decipher the algorithms.
- Penetration tester. This is quite the opposite of the other cybersecurity careers. To put it simply – it is a hacker that is hired by an organization to test its’ defensive systems. Penetration testers follow ethical rules that are agreed with the client company and look for possible breaches that could be found in their systems.
Non-technical Background Possibilities:
While having experience is considered an advantage, it is not the only way to work in cybersecurity. Having a non-technical background does not always put you at a disadvantage. Coding and development are not the only activities in this field of work. Some positions can be obtained with whatever skills that you have. For example:
- Technical writer. If you’re an avid writer that has a good grasp for grammar, you might find yourself writing technical articles for cybersecurity companies. These articles aim to spread the information, guides, and tutorials on how to achieve certain goals or learn something related to the information technology security field.
- Network administrator. The goal of this job is to secure the network and provide access only to the people that have the permission to do so. The network administrator monitors the activity and ins and outs of the network. The experience that comes from this position comes in useful when seeking higher cybersecurity careers.
- Security operations center analyst. This person, within a team, works 24/7 and reports every incident that threatens the safety of the government. A SOC analyst reports vulnerability analysis and offers recommendations that deny possible cyberattacks.
- Vulnerability analyst. Similarly, as SOC analyst, vulnerability analysts’ goal is to find critical flaws in the network, system or applications. This specialty requires the use of certain tools that come in the clutch while looking for safety bugs. It is important to stay on top of the latest threats and actions on how to prevent them.
- Cyber policy analyst. A strategic person that develops procedures and requirements for the governmental or public companies to assure cybersecurity. A cyber policy analyst assists organizations to implement cybersecurity policies to their structure.
As you can see the field of cybersecurity offers a lot of possibilities to people with or without a technical background. Every position is possible to achieve if there is a will to strive forward.
For those who are wondering how to begin pursuing cybersecurity careers and have no clue where to start training, BitDegree offers a solution. In the courses section of our website, you can find a dozen lectures that will guide you on the path of cybersecurity. Take a look at the staff picks:
- Cyber Security Training: From Zero to Hero. The course by Gautam Kumawat, who is an expert in the field of cybersecurity, is a great way to easily gain practice. In Cyber Security Training, you will find ethical hacking and penetration testing knowledge. The course does not require much to start – only basic internet surfing experience and motivation to learn.
- Cyber Security Course: Complete Network Security. The course is present by Access Academy (Nathan house). The instructor of this course has over 24 years of experience and is the CEO of Station X, which is a cybersecurity consultancy that created many cybersecurity careers. The main topics that you will find are port and vulnerability scanning, network configuration and architecture to ensure maximum physical and wireless security, search engine privacy and many more. To begin, the instructor insists on the student of having basic networking skills.
- Cyber Security Course: Hardening Endpoint Protection. The last course of our list is also presented by Access Academy. This time the training is for the advanced people. Hardening Endpoint Protection covers everything you need to protect all the major operating systems. You will find topics like endpoint protection technologies, disk encryption technologies, skills to detect and monitor threats, hardening standards, etc. Be sure to keep the motivation high as the course progresses, because the footage lasts more than 16 hours and has 174 lessons.
The field of information technology security is still growing and offers many possibilities for those who are willing to put in the hours to achieve cybersecurity careers. The need for experts is at an all-time high because of the unprecedented connectedness. Follow the tips and start your journey on fighting cybercriminals now.