Practical Tips on How to Become a Cybersecurity Specialist

With the rapid advancement of technology and most of the world relying wholly on digital connectivity to function, cybersecurity has emerged as a critical issue. Research and statistics point to disturbing news that by the end of the year 2021, cyberattacks have resulted in losses worth around $6 trillion. Experts also predict that by 2025, cryptocurrency crimes are expected to exceed $30 billion. Even as hackers advance their skills, cybersecurity needs to be ramped up, leading to an exponential growth in the demand for trained professionals in the sector. 

Employment Prospects for Cybersecurity Professionals

Close to 3.5 million positions are likely to open up for cybersecurity specialists in the years through 2025 on platforms like Higher Hire, Indeed, LinkedIn, and other reputable job sites. Aspiring students considering a career in this industry should recognize this as a great time to start their training and gain the necessary experience to build their careers. Although salaries vary by location, the highest pay scale is available in Silicon Valley. Estimates indicate annual wages ranging from $33,000 to $247,000, with an average of $115,898. Of course, experience, certifications, and the field where you work will influence the final take-home paycheck you can expect.

Qualifying to Become a Cybersecurity Specialist

To train as a cybersecurity specialist, you’ll need basic qualifications such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree or a cybersecurity associate’s degree. Before pursuing higher training, you should have a background in programs like math, computer science, and engineering or have relevant work experience. Next, you can acquire certification in cybersecurity by choosing from the vast array of programs now available. Since this field is dynamic and ever-evolving, you’ll continue advancing your education and acquiring added qualifications as required by your employing organization. 

Qualifying Programs to Choose From

Some of the qualifying certifications include:

  • Network+ offered by CompTIA is a foundational course educating candidates on networking infrastructure and operations. 
  • Security+ is a CompTIA certification is also a basic program that encompasses training in risk management and threat assessment.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is an advanced program designed for candidates with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It offers education in engineering, architecture, and management.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is a high-level qualification for more experienced candidates and trains them on how to get into the hacker’s psyche, threat assessment, and risk mitigation.
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate – Routing and Switching
  • EC-Council Network Security Administrator

Whatever may be the course you choose, you can rely on exam prep tools to help you study on the go. These tools are available as a mobile application and offer you mock exams with questions similar to the actual test. You can take the exam to evaluate your grasp of the materials and identify the areas where you need to work harder. 

A Wide Spectrum of Job Opportunities are Now Available 

Cybersecurity specialists are needed in just about every industry, with openings available in both the private and public sectors. The key to building a lucrative career is gaining experience. You can start off with structured internships where you can learn on the job and acquire hands-on training working under professionals with advanced skills. Here’s a broad overview of the job descriptions you can expect.

  • Assessing and managing security vulnerabilities
  • Developing strategies for threat prevention
  • Ethical hacking to test security protocols and their effectiveness in deterring penetration, also called penetration testing as a Pentester.
  • Developing, testing, analyzing, and implementing security systems
  • Securing company client lists and their personal information
  • Generating reports for administrators regularly
  • Responding to security breaches, threats, and other incidents
  • Monitoring existing security infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities and suggest improvements
  • Investigating security crime to locate perpetrators and isolate the techniques they used to infiltrate the network system
  • Working in house as a member of the security team or as an independent external consultant

A career as a cybersecurity specialist is exciting, fast-paced, and intensely creative. Your skills, mental aptitude, expertise, and ability to think on your feet will be tested every step of the way. The most exciting thing is that this field is constantly evolving, allowing you to learn new protocols while earning a fantastic income.