By: Madison Vorbrich
March 7, 2023
Breaking Into Cybersecurity: Your Top Questions Answered
By: Madison Vorbrich
March 7, 2023
Cybersecurity is a red-hot field with incredible job prospects, but let's face it: breaking into the industry can be a daunting task, especially if you're new to the game. To help you out, Cybrary hosted a webinar, How to Break Into Cybersecurity, on February 22nd, led by the illustrious Will Carlson, Senior Director of Content. The webinar was packed with practical tips and insights that can help you land your first cybersecurity gig and skyrocket your career. From foundational cybersecurity concepts to key certifications, and gaining real-world experience, Will covered it all! The best part? The audience had the chance to ask questions and get personalized advice. But we know that even with Will's expert guidance, some questions may have been left unanswered. That's why we've put together this blog post to address those lingering concerns and provide you with even more helpful tips to break into the cybersecurity industry. So, buckle up, and let's dive in!
Your Top Questions Answered
What are the most common entry points into a cybersecurity career?
As cyber-attacks become more frequent and sophisticated, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals continues to grow. If you're interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, there are several entry points you can consider.
The most common entry points are education and certifications. Many cybersecurity professionals hold degrees in computer science, information technology, or related fields, and have obtained industry certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
Another entry point is through experience in related fields, such as IT, networking or software development. Experience in these areas can provide a strong foundation for a career in cybersecurity.
Finally, there are resources available to help individuals with little to no experience in cybersecurity gain the necessary skills and knowledge. Cybrary is one such resource, offering over 500+ hours of free premium content with the Cybrary Free Access subscription. With courses ranging from basic cybersecurity concepts to advanced penetration testing techniques, Cybrary can help individuals develop the skills they need to succeed in a cybersecurity career.
Do you have any tips for mid-life career changers transitioning into the cybersecurity field?
Transitioning into the cybersecurity field can be daunting, especially for individuals making a mid-life career change. However, with the right mindset, approach, and preparation, it is possible to succeed in this exciting and rapidly growing field. To make a successful transition, individuals should identify transferable skills, invest in education and training, build a network, seek out hands-on experience, and stay current with the latest trends and technologies.
Firstly, individuals should identify skills and experiences that can be applied to the cybersecurity field, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and attention to detail. Pursuing additional education and training through courses, certifications, and internships can help you gain the necessary skills and experience. Building a network through attending industry events and seeking mentorship can help foster connections and gain insights into the industry. Finally, staying current with the latest trends and technologies is essential for success in this constantly evolving field. With these steps in mind, individuals can successfully transition into the cybersecurity field and build rewarding careers.
How will my software engineering background impact my path to cybersecurity?
If you have a background in software engineering and are interested in transitioning to cybersecurity, you may find that your experience in software development can be a valuable asset. Your knowledge of programming languages, software development processes, and problem-solving abilities can help you to better understand the potential security implications of different software architectures and to design and implement secure systems.
One area where your software engineering experience may be particularly useful is in security-centric development operations. Some teams abbreviate this as DevSecOps. Having a strong understanding of secure coding practices and how to implement them can be invaluable in preventing software vulnerabilities, which are common entry points for cyber attackers. Just know that there are also some differences between software engineering and cybersecurity and you may need to develop additional skills and knowledge to make a successful transition. Building expertise in areas such as networking, operating systems, and security protocols can help you to round out your skill set and pursue a successful career in cybersecurity.
Can a cybersecurity mentor be helpful and how can you find a mentor in this field?
Having a cybersecurity mentor can be incredibly helpful for both novice and seasoned professionals. A mentor can offer guidance, advice, and insight into the industry, as well as provide a sounding board for ideas and challenges. Additionally, a mentor can offer valuable networking opportunities by introducing mentees to other professionals in the industry. Overall, a cybersecurity mentor can be a valuable asset for anyone looking to advance their skills and career.
So, how can one find a mentor in the cybersecurity field? There are several avenues to consider. Networking at industry events and conferences can be a great way to connect with professionals in the field and potentially find a mentor. Additionally, reaching out to alumni from one's alma mater or connecting with colleagues on professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn can lead to mentorship opportunities.
Additionally, if you’re already a Cybrary Insider Pro subscriber, you have the opportunity to network and learn from others in our community via our Discord. You can get the advice and assistance you need from our community of mentors, including live events and technical workshops.
What are some cybersecurity job opportunities that don't require a four-year degree?
A career in cybersecurity can be both lucrative and rewarding, but it's a common misconception that it requires a four-year degree. While some roles may require a degree, there are plenty of cybersecurity job opportunities available that don't have this requirement. Here are a few examples:
- SOC Analyst 1: A tier 1 SOC Analyst is responsible for monitoring and analyzing an organization's computer networks and systems to detect and prevent cyber threats. Many entry-level positions in this field don't require a four-year degree but may require industry-recognized certifications such as Security+ or Network+.
- Penetration Tester: Penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers, are responsible for identifying vulnerabilities in an organization's computer networks and systems. While some positions may require a degree, many entry-level positions don't. Certifications such as Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) can also demonstrate the necessary skills and knowledge for this role.
- Incident Responder: An incident responder is responsible for responding to and mitigating cybersecurity incidents within an organization. Many entry-level positions in this field don't require a degree but may require certifications such as GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Overall, a four-year degree may not be necessary for many cybersecurity job opportunities. Instead, industry-recognized certifications, hands-on experience, and a willingness to learn can help individuals enter and succeed in the field.
What specific details should be included in entry-level resumes to increase the chances of getting that first interview?
Crafting a compelling resume is critical for landing that all-important first interview. As an entry-level candidate, highlight any relevant coursework or certifications you may have completed, such as CompTIA Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Additionally, include any relevant experience, such as internships or volunteer work, even if it was outside of cybersecurity. Emphasize your willingness to learn and grow in the field, as well as your passion for cybersecurity.
Another essential element of an entry-level cybersecurity resume is demonstrating technical proficiency. Highlight any experience you have with programming languages, networking technologies, or operating systems, even if it is just through personal projects or online tutorials. Make sure to customize your resume for each job application by including relevant keywords from the job description, as many employers use applicant tracking systems to screen resumes before human review. With a well-crafted resume that showcases your skills, knowledge, and passion, you can land that first interview and start your career in cybersecurity.
What is the best starting point for beginner CompTIA certifications?
The CompTIA A+ certification is a great starting point for beginners because it covers a broad range of topics and provides a solid foundation for further study and specialization. The certification is vendor-neutral, which means it is not tied to a specific hardware or software vendor, making it widely recognized and respected in the IT industry. Additionally, the certification is widely available, with study materials and training courses offered by many reputable providers, including CompTIA itself.
Once you've earned the CompTIA A+ certification, you can then consider pursuing other certifications that align with your interests and career goals, such as the CompTIA Security+ for cybersecurity or the CompTIA Network+ for networking.
What entry-level roles can I pursue while studying for beginner certifications like the CompTIA Security+ certification?
If you're just starting in the field of cybersecurity and are studying for beginner certifications like CompTIA Security+, you may be wondering what entry-level roles you can target to gain experience and kickstart your career. While there are many different paths you can take in cybersecurity, here are a few entry-level roles that can provide a solid foundation for your career:
- Security Analyst
- Incident Responder
- System Administrator
- Security Architect
- Penetration Tester
To learn more about careers in cybersecurity, check out our free Careers In Cybersecurity course.
What is a reliable and helpful program to help prepare me for the CompTIA A+ certification?
If you're looking to pursue a career in IT, obtaining a CompTIA A+ certification is an excellent first step.
One reliable and helpful program to consider is the CompTIA CertMaster Learn course, which includes interactive lessons, practice quizzes, and performance-based questions to help you master the material. It also features personalized learning paths that adapt to your strengths and weaknesses, so you can focus on the areas where you need the most help.
Of course, another option is Cybrary, as we offer comprehensive courses and practice tests for the CompTIA A+ exam. In our free CompTIA A+ 220-1101 course, you will learn the basics of computer technology and repair, networking, installation of PCs, laptops, and other hardware, and configuration of PCs, laptops, and mobile operating systems for Android and Apple iOS devices. In our CompTIA A+ 220-1102 course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of operating systems, security, software troubleshooting, and operating procedures and gain the skills you’ll need to become a systems administrator or network administrator.
What are the suggested starting points and security certifications for a network engineer transitioning to cybersecurity engineering?
If you're a network engineer considering a move into cybersecurity engineering, congratulations! You're taking a smart step towards a rewarding and challenging career path. The first recommended starting point is to build a strong foundation in cybersecurity fundamentals. Understanding the basics of cybersecurity is essential for effectively securing a network. Therefore, network engineers seeking to transition into cybersecurity engineering should start by studying cybersecurity principles and concepts.
In terms of security certifications, there are several that would be beneficial for a network engineer transitioning into cybersecurity engineering. The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification is a vendor-neutral certification that validates advanced-level competency in cybersecurity skills such as risk management, enterprise security operations, and architecture and design. The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification is another vendor-neutral certification that focuses on the use of behavioral analytics to identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats.
The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates expertise in the field of cybersecurity. It covers a broad range of topics including security and risk management, asset security, security engineering, communication and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, and security operations. Additionally, the Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP) specialization within the CISSP certification is specifically designed for professionals who work in security engineering roles.
Building the Skills and Confidence to Land Your First Role
Breaking into the cybersecurity industry may seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance and practical advice, it's within reach. We hope this blog post has provided helpful answers and insights to some of the unanswered questions, including entry points into cybersecurity careers, mid-life career changes, and cybersecurity mentorship. By taking advantage of the resources available and following these tips, you'll be well on your way to landing your first cybersecurity job and advancing your career. Good luck!