Billions of computers are active all over the world. And cybersecurity threat to each of these machines is massive. Internet worms and cyber terrorists with malicious intents are always keen to breach the security of computers.
And this is where cybersecurity experts come into the game.
Cybersecurity experts are the guards between computers/networks and hackers. They have in-depth knowledge of firewalls, encryption keys, intrusion detection systems, etc. which helps them alleviate the prevailing cyber threats. All in all, their job is to protect the system from any kind of cyber hazard, relentlessly.
No wonder cybersecurity professionals are in massive demand. However, despite high demand, you can only land a job in cybersecurity if you are well skilled and know the business in and out. And with too many skilled personnel fighting for the same position, you need to have the USP to land your dream job.
Here are a few tips that will help you become a successful cybersecurity expert:
#1 Start Reading Everything About Cybersecurity
You might have acquired a Master’s certificate in Cybersecurity, but it is not nearly enough when it comes to learning the daily changes in the subject matter.
There are always new upgrades and innovations in the world of cybersecurity. Hence, it is essential to always keep on reading about it to stay updated.
Here are some major topics you can start reading about:
– Confidentiality of data
– Data integrity
– Information assurance
– Encryption & decryption
– Defense & penetration testing, among other things
Cybersecurity is a vast subject and offers multiple domains in which you can gradually start gaining expertise. However, to get a job in your favorite area, it is crucial that you gain extensive knowledge of the subject matter.
#2 Earn Certificates
Cyber-security experts are always expected to stay updated about the latest technologies and cybersecurity threats. You should keep on updating your knowledge and skills by taking on new certification programs. Novice cybersecurity experts can do internships in big corporations to gain a greater understanding of the best practices of this sector. All this will translate into higher value on your resume.
You can go for ethical hacking and security analysis certificates. There are many other options, such as learning advanced certifications, including CISSP, CISM, and GSLC. Not many cybersecurity experts have this certification, which naturally gives you an edge over your counterparts.
Your employability factor will increase manifolds if you are well versed with all the trends.
#3 Know the Basics of Cybersecurity
You are always expected to know the basics of cybersecurity. Hence, gain all the elementary knowledge about it, like how servers and clients work or the functioning of networks and cloud services.
Keep memorizing and practicing what you already know. For instance, if you find yourself comfortable in ethical hacking, then you should possess the required technical expertise as well. Practice over your theoretical knowledge to brush up your skills.
#4 Networking Extensively
You need to network hard to find some of the best jobs in cybersecurity, or any other job for that matter. You can do internships to interact with experts and professionals from the industry who can help you move up the industry-ladder. You can also start connecting with professionals in your vertical on LinkedIn or other professional sites and forums.
#4 Take Part in Hackathons
Hackathons are the events that help you brush up your technical skills in various fields, including cybersecurity. Several companies organize such events on a regular basis. Participating in these events will give you a better chance to showcase your talent. On top of that, it will make you aware of where you stand amid real-life competitors.
#5 Work on your Communication Skills
Excellent communication skills play a significant role in any job; the same goes for cybersecurity. It is essential to voice or write your opinions effectively in any organization to prove your expertise. Work on your communication skills so that you communicate confidently in interviews and present yourself effectively. Cybersecurity jobs will also require you to write reports and converse with the management on a regular basis. As a result, excellent communication skills will always come in handy.
#6 Practice on a Dummy Security Lab
Theoretical knowledge and its application in the real world is a different ball-game altogether. To position yourself as a viable cybersecurity expert, you should be able to demonstrate your skills in real life.
To acquire real-life experiences, setup some old computers, wireless router, and other free open source security tools to earn some hands-on experience. The router will help you learn about DHCP server, a network switch, and other in-built features.
After all, you would not want to test your skills for the first time on expensive equipment of your employer. A small mistake can undermine the whole setup, which might result in substantial losses.
#8 Learn At least One Computer Language
Not many cybersecurity professionals are well-versed with programming language(s). However, a professional who is adept in at least one computer language will always have an edge over someone who isn’t.
Here’s why learning at least one computer language will make you more employable than others:
1. Anti-viruses block standard tools sometimes. In such cases, you need to write your own code to develop the tools required to process further.
2. Reverse engineering and malware analysis can never be done without proper knowledge of assembly language.
3. Coding can help you automate some tasks to simplify complicated tasks in hand so that you can focus on more important problems.
4. You can customize a lot of open source tools through scripting language. It will help you increase the efficiency of existing tools. For instance, you can make Meta-spoilt modules using Ruby and Python or create burp suite extension.
Beginners can start learning Python or C to enhance their skills. The knowledge of computer language will give you an upper hand during job interviews and while solving complex cyber-security issues.
#9 Learn Malware Analysis
Despite sophisticated software tools available out there, malware analysis often requires human intervention and interpretation. Therefore, it is imperative to learn the basics of malware analysis. You can do so by reading analysis reports published by big corporations that will help you understand how it is checked and reported.
Your expertise in the domain of malware analysis and dissection will help you get calls from big companies.
Malware and data breaches are two of the most dangerous threats plaguing companies these days. Even the biggies like Yahoo, British Airways, Marriott International, and more have felt the brunt of lax security. Naturally, no one is immune to malicious intents of hackers and cybercriminals.
With this prevalent problem, the demand for viable cybersecurity experts is also increasing exponentially — and will continue to do so. There are endless paths that you can take to kickstart your cybersecurity career; the tips mentioned above will surely give you a good head start into your career.
About the Author: Lucy Manole
Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Right Mix Marketing, SEO-focused link building agency. She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling. You can connect with her on Twitter at @RightMixMktg