How to pursue a career in cybersecurity? A degree can be a plus. However, it’s not the only path to career success.
This guide will explore the exciting possibilities and practical steps to enter the cybersecurity industry without a degree. Let’s get started!
Yes, having a degree in computer science or engineering can be advantageous; however, it’s not a rule.
Different aspects of cybersecurity require different skills and experiences, including administration, people, education, technology, and management. Hence, different individuals can find a place in the field.
You can join the workforce in this industry, even when you don’t have a degree. Just follow these steps, and you can succeed.
The first step is to understand what employers are looking for in their employees. Their requirements include soft and hard skills.
Soft skills are essential in cybersecurity. Employers will like you if you have these qualities:
Cybersecurity professionals need to approach each day with a sense of curiosity. Thus, they should have a proactive mindset, always seeking to learn, explore, and improve their skills.
Attention to detail
In cybersecurity, even the tiniest oversight can have significant consequences.
Imagination enables you to expect threats. Then, you can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.
Cybersecurity problems are complicated because it requires persistence to face challenges. As a result, employers value candidates who demonstrate a strong work ethic.
When it comes to hard skills in cybersecurity, there are several areas of expertise that employers look for:
You need to understand data prevention strategies. Also, learn how to secure wireless networks and devices.
Businesses increasingly rely on cloud infrastructure. Thus, cybersecurity professionals must possess knowledge of securing cloud-based systems.
You should have a basic understanding of forensic techniques, tools, and software. They will help you analyze digital evidence.
In cybersecurity, assessing vulnerabilities is important. Thus, if you want to work in this field, learn how to analyze cyber risk.
2. Get alternatives to the degree
There are many certifications you can use to replace the cybersecurity degree. The following options will be the best:
This entry-level certification covers the foundational principles of cybersecurity. Many employers recognize this achievement.
CompTIA Security+ validates your knowledge of essential security concepts. You can also use it as a stepping stone for further certifications.
CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) focuses on ethical hacking techniques and tools. When choosing this certification, you can learn how to identify errors in networks and systems.
The CEH certification demonstrates your ability to think like a hacker. Then, you will understand the mindset of cybercriminals and protect your networks.
CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) is one of the most prestigious certifications in cybersecurity.
CISSP validates your knowledge and skills in various domains. This certification is also excellent for experienced professionals who want to upgrade their level.
OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional) emphasizes practical skills. By completing challenging testing exercises, you will gain hands-on experience. Then, you can identify and exploit vulnerabilities in systems and networks easily.
Capture-the-Flag (CTF) events are competitions where people test their computer security skills. The goal here is to get the highest score by completing security challenges.
In some CTF events, you can compete alone or build teams. It will also be a fun way to improve your cybersecurity abilities and show off your skills.
You can start by applying for entry-level positions, like SOC analyst, security technician, or security analyst. These roles give you hands-on experience. You can also progress in your cybersecurity career then.
To gain practical experience in cybersecurity, look for chances to use your knowledge. For example, you can volunteer for cybersecurity projects or join open-source initiatives.
Creating a portfolio of your work and engaging with cybersecurity communities is also helpful.
Some people get into cybersecurity without a degree for many reasons. Here are the pros and cons of trying this path:
- Cost-saving: Getting a degree can be costly. So, to avoid the financial burden, you can skip this step.
- Faster entry: Pursuing a degree takes a lot of time. To enter the field sooner, you can choose to gain practical experience instead.
- Alternative options: If you have experience in a similar job or a degree in a different field, consider other training options. They may help you reach your desired career faster than getting a traditional college degree.
- Fewer job opportunities: You can still find a job without a degree. However, some employers prefer candidates with one.
- Lack of validation: How can you demonstrate your skills for the position? Employers may refer to your degree as a credential.
- Hard work: If you don’t follow the traditional way, you will have to work harder to sharpen your skills.
Embarking on a cybersecurity career without a degree is possible. You will also have many job opportunities by focusing on acquiring relevant skills and certifications.
Cybersecurity values continuous learning and flexibility. So, work hard, and never stop honing your skills. Ultimately, with dedication, you can thrive in the industry.
Hopefully, this article has inspired you to start your journey. Whenever you need help, we are always here to support you.
Thank you for reading!