Cyber-attacks are at an all-time high. Due to the consequences of these attacks on business continuity, many companies are looking for cybersecurity talents to protect their data, systems, and networks. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough skilled experts.
This means the industry desperately needs cybersecurity professionals. And this demand will increase by 35% in the next decade - seven times more than the national average. If you pursue a cybersecurity career, you can expect many opportunities, higher salaries, and excellent working conditions.
For most people, entering into this field requires starting from entry-level cybersecurity jobs and making their way up the ladder.
Although there’s a great demand, companies will only hire qualified professionals with the required skills to protect their assets. As such, preparing yourself with the best resources before applying for your first cybersecurity job is essential.
If you’re unsure where to start, don’t worry. Cybrary helps more than 3 million professionals like you start their cybersecurity journey.
There is a tailored entry-level cybersecurity roadmap to help you acquire the required skills and knowledge, earn certifications, and gain experience with hands-on lab training.
Entry-Level Cybersecurity Job Requirements
The cybersecurity industry has a 0% unemployment rate.
This means you’re almost certain of a job once you meet the entry-level cybersecurity job requirements.
The best way to prepare for an entry-level job in information security is to understand what is required.
But what metrics are needed to get your foot in the door?
Although specific requirements will vary depending on the position, specialization, and organization, the following are general requirements you’ll need when preparing for an entry-level cybersecurity job:
Many organizations require formal education for entry-level cybersecurity jobs. For some, this could be at least an associate degree. The higher the education, the more lenient companies are on the experience. If you don’t have formal education, you still stand a chance.
Some organizations only require structured training that guarantees you have the knowledge needed for the role. This is why cybersecurity bootcamps and online courses with a verifiable roadmap are increasingly popular.
Although they are not traditional degrees, these programs provide immersive theoretical and practical training to make students job ready quickly.
If a degree is too much of a time commitment, learning from an industry-recognized training provider will show a potential employer that you're sufficiently trained for an entry-level role.
Cybersecurity requires a unique skill set to be successful. Candidates for entry-level cybersecurity jobs must demonstrate skills in network security, intrusion detection, operating systems, incident response, controls and frameworks, and cloud computing, among many others.
Since cybersecurity has many branches, the specific skills required for an entry-level role may depend on your chosen specialization.
In addition to technical skills, potential employers also want candidates with excellent communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills. You should be able to work in a fast-paced environment and be a team player.
Although it's only an entry-level position, many cybersecurity jobs still require at least a year of experience. It could be in a related field, such as information technology (IT).
Some employers may be flexible with this requirement and be willing to give you a chance if you can demonstrate top-level skills and higher educational qualifications, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
However, getting some experience before applying will give you the best chance. Cybersecurity apprenticeships and internships can help you gain the required experience.
These programs are offered by government and private industries. Read our guide on cybersecurity apprenticeships and cybersecurity internships to help you find the best program to gain experience.
Getting a cybersecurity certification improves your chances of landing entry-level cybersecurity jobs, increases your salary expectation, and helps you move into higher roles quickly.
There are many certifications for entry-level cybersecurity jobs. A certificate of completion from a recognized training provider may improve your chances.
On the other hand, some industry-recognized certifications, such as the CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and CompTIA CySA+ are excellent and will validate your skills, competency, and core knowledge in any cybersecurity role. These certifications also provide a smooth transition into intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs.
Other recommended cybersecurity certifications for beginners are:
- Certified Ethical Hacker
- GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)
- (ISC)2 Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
- Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals
- ISACA Cybersecurity Fundamentals
- GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
These certifications are notably challenging, so adequate preparation is necessary. If you’re stumped on where to start, Cybrary provides comprehensive preparations that help you ace your professional exams on the first try.
Cybersecurity Entry-Level Job Resources
Like in many other industries, cybersecurity professionals can work in the private or government sector. Interestingly, you can also become a cybersecurity consultant at some point in your career.
Regardless of the chosen path, there are numerous job opportunities with attractive salaries.
Let’s look at resources for entry-level cybersecurity jobs in each sector.
Government Cybersecurity Jobs
There are many reasons why people choose to work in government agencies. If you want to protect national security, becoming a cybersecurity professional for the government is the right career path.
The government also has more job security, insurance benefits, and free training opportunities.
For example, the FedVTE or Federal Virtual Training Environment is a free, on-demand online cybersecurity training resource. It provides over 800 hours of training on risk management, ethical hacking, malware analysis, and surveillance from beginner to advanced levels.
The US government has several resources to apply for cybersecurity jobs. One of the best ways is to apply through USAJOBS. It is the federal government's official employment site and has a catalog of available positions.
Potential cybersecurity career-seekers can also find cybersecurity jobs at any government agency. For example, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Energy, and the Federal Aviation Administration are excellent places to find jobs in cybersecurity.
CyberCareers.gov is another resource for cybersecurity job seekers to access tools, opportunities, and guides in the field. Likewise, intelligencecareers.gov is also a government-owned resource center for a career in intelligence.
Lastly, the United States military and security agencies have several cybersecurity job postings. Many of these opportunities are hands-on training programs, apprenticeships, and internships.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Private Cybersecurity Jobs
Applying for private cybersecurity jobs is similar to any other job. Many companies need skilled professionals to protect their security posture from hackers and cyber-criminals. As such, you’ll find several entry-level cybersecurity jobs on different job boards.
There are many platforms to find cybersecurity jobs in private institutions. Job requirements will differ for the same role based on the organization. You should also strive to find organizations with excellent workplace cultures.
Examples of resources to find private entry-level cybersecurity jobs include:
LinkedIn is particularly an excellent social network for finding jobs at private firms due to the high presence of a professional workforce.
You can also find cybersecurity jobs directly on company websites, online job forums, networking events, and career fairs.
It’s possible to work as a freelance cybersecurity professional. Not many people want to be permanently committed to a particular organization.
As such, freelancing allows you to take on multiple cybersecurity projects. Freelancing often provides remote cybersecurity jobs, which is a great perk for people who like working from home.
Websites like Freelancer, Fiverr, and Upwork are popular places to get started with freelancing.
Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs to Consider
If you’re new to cybersecurity and looking for a job, below are some of the most popular positions for a beginner:
Information Security Analyst
A cybersecurity analyst’s main responsibility is to thoroughly understand a company’s security infrastructure, continuously monitor it, and assess potential threats to the network.
This professional must find ways to strengthen the company’s network security posture and protect network access, privacy, and data assets from unauthorized access.
The average base salary for an entry-level information security analyst in the US is $82,517.
The IT auditor assesses a company's technology for potential efficiency, security, and compliance issues. As a candidate, you must understand firewalls, data loss prevention techniques, and VPNs.
Companies also require applicants to have problem-solving, attention to detail, and troubleshooting skills.
The average base salary of an IT auditor in the US is $98,095.
A Cybersecurity Specialist is also responsible for protecting a company's computer systems and networks. They put measures in place while developing networks, software systems, and data centers.
The average base salary of a Cybersecurity Specialist in the US is $94,902.
Digital Forensic Examiner/Investigator
Digital Forensic Examiners or Investigators retrieve information from computer systems and other digital devices to find evidence of how an unauthorized person accessed a system. The evidence can be sent to law enforcement or used for legal purposes.
The average base salary of a Digital Forensic Investigator in the US is $145,444.
Learn Computer Hacking and Digital Forensics for free.
A System Administrator ensures continuous optimal performance of a company’s IT services and support systems. They prevent disruptions and ensure the continuous operation of computers, servers, and the internet.
This includes system maintenance and configuration, such as installing and resolving software and hardware issues and evaluating emerging technologies for their business.
The average salary of a System Administrator in the US is $76,712.
Cybersecurity represents an exciting opportunity for many beginners. Whether you have previous IT experience or you want to transition from a non-technical career, cybersecurity professionals are in great demand. The first step to a cybersecurity job is meeting the education, skills, experience, and certification requirements.
Cybrary’s accessible and affordable platform helps you gain the necessary skills with hands-on lab experience and industry-recognized certificates. This can help you secure entry-level cybersecurity jobs in record time. Get started with our IT Foundations and Cybersecurity Foundations learning paths.