The field of computing is wide and varied, and there are many different areas within the industry that you can work in. You might have thought about being a games developer, a web designer or even a data analyst – but have you thought about cyber security as an option? It might sound like the type of job where you need a lot of experience and specialist qualifications to even be considered for such a role. Yet, while you do need to know your stuff when it comes to computers and their networks, there are ways in which you can get into cyber security.
Here are just some of those.
Test it out
Before you invest your time and effort in a career you might not be sure you’re suitable for, then be sure to have a look around for resources that will help you get to grips with the basics. These can be games or competitions that you can take part in – this can be a way of getting to know people who are already working in cyber security, and you get to develop your skills at the same time. You can also do some further research on cyber security jobs, as well on careers advice sites. You can see what kind of skills potential future employers might be looking for – such as how they solve problems, how strong they are at communication, and how quickly they can think.
Get your qualifications
If you think cyber security is the job role you want to aim for, then start out by deciding which route you want to take and get a related degree in IT. One of those routes could be computer science, where you will learn more about the industry. Many universities will offer undergraduate and graduate courses that you can take – but if leaving for university doesn’t appeal, or isn’t possible, then you could complete an online computer science degree Canada instead.
Having a degree will help you later on in your career, too. Not having one may make it more difficult for you to secure the job that you want. It’s what recruiters and hiring managers will be looking for when checking your CV, and nearly everyone you’ll be competing against for these roles will have degrees.
If you’re at university, you could also have a look into getting a paid summer internship in cyber security. You can consider getting work experience in IT, too, as it’s a useful way to get into this area, you can start specializing in cyber security through any training you’re offered, and you’ll get to learn on the job.
Don’t get a job in cyber security
At least, not at first: you should aim to get general computer work. That’s because you should know the basics of computer disciplines.
So when looking for roles, make sure you get to do as many different tasks as you can. Ensure you can administer a computer system, you can configure a system, know about database management systems and even coding. That way, you will better know how to protect them. You could even try to set up your own network at home to practice securing your computers and network. You could even volunteer your services to a charity or other organization. They may need help with security, and anything you do will be invaluable. This is something else you can add to your CV.
This will be true of many other industries – and not just computing and IT-related fields – but you should try to get to know as many people as you can who are in it.This could be working on open source or community projects, or just offering your skills to those who may need it (such as charities). Start going to meet-ups, conferences, or even those who work in those roles in local firms. If you can network in real life, then you do that online as well.
Brush up on your data analysis skills
It’s important in the world of cyber security that you can notice trends in large data sets – if you’ve already got that skill from previous work experience, for example, then you’re doing well. If not, you may want to take a course or get real-life experience in collecting and analyzing a lot of data information.
Get your hard and soft skills up to standard
If you’ve got a technical background, you will probably have the right hard skills. If you’ve been working as a web developer, for example, then you might already know how to defend from code injections – which will be a useful skill as a cybersecurity developer. Or if you’ve been a software engineer, then you will know how to reduce the weaknesses in software – a skill you can use as a security engineer. There are also soft skills that you need to make sure you have as well. Being able to communicate complex technical ideas to someone who isn’t technical is an example of an important soft skill. You will also need to be able to work well with a team, and have a positive attitude and work ethic.
Keep on learning
To keep ahead of developments, you will have to be learning new skills all the time and work to understand the new technologies that keep being created. You’ll keep being presented with new challenges for you to solve, so it’s crucial that you stay on your game. You will always need your problem-solving skills, because you will need to find solutions to different puzzles that you’ll come across. You can have something to be proud of as well, since your work will have an effect, and make a difference. That’s because it’s your job to identify, understand, and help to address the risks that come along with innovations; your tactics may change from day-to-day.
So, there are many ways in which you can get into cyber security as a career. No matter how you get there, you will always have a challenging, and exciting role.