Information Security professionals are akin to our policemen. They are equipped with advanced firewalls and porn filters, secure email and web traffic gateways, encryption keys, IPS signatures, security policies, and intrusion detection systems. The best of them are adept at using advanced threat prevention tools such as sandboxes, do a forensic analysis of a breach, and involved in remediation of quarantined devices.
They are the superheroes who save our networks from the super-villainy of internet worms, Trojan horses, botnet attacks, cyberterrorists and the infamous Wikileaks! No wonder, in the world where we are increasingly becoming dependent on the Internet and smart devices, they are high in demand and earn better than many other IT professionals. Here are some of the ways in which you can embark on a successful career journey of becoming a blue-blooded cybersecurity professional:
Update your tech skills on a regular basis
Every day we find something new being added to an already exhaustive list of IT security topics. You cannot hope to do a Computer Science degree with a major in Cybersecurity and be done with it. In this field, you’ve to be a lifelong learner and have a passion for picking up new skills all throughout your career.
You need to know about network segmentation, security information and event management (SIEM) tools for threat intelligence and detection, and how to develop and use security solutions with automated and intelligent defence layers to counter attacks by smart cybercriminals today. Theharvester, Maltego, Metagoofil, Shodan, Yandex, Dogpile, and Soovle are some of the tools ethical hackers thrive on. You must learn the different ways in which malware defeats sandbox and analysis systems (such as sleep calls, fast flux, process hiding, and VMX port), and how you can counter them.
In cybersecurity jobs, you have to be the detective and the police at the same time. You can read more about the new cybercrime threats that plague our world and how we can fight them here.
Invest in Certificate programs in Cybersecurity
When you apply for an IT security job, industry-recognized certifications are often asked for as employer pre-requisites. CompTIA’s Security+ is an entry-level certification that can be a good addition to your resume and opens up your way to several advanced certifications in the future. Other entry-level industry certifications that are popular are GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC), and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP).
Academic qualifications in the field of cybersecurity may include undergraduate and graduate certificates in Cyber Laws, Information Assurance, Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation, Advanced Engineering, Homeland Security Management, Cyber Security Policy and Privacy, and Healthcare Security.
Set up your own Security Lab
In cybersecurity, hands-on experience is a ‘must’ to enter the field. Since you cannot test hacking tools on an employer’s network (and risk screwing up something), it is a good idea to set up your own lab with two to three old PCs, an inexpensive wireless router with an inbuilt network switch, firewall and DHCP server, and open-source security tools that are available for free.Here’s a free Udemy course on how to build your own cyber lab at home.
Go for Advanced Certifications
Once you learn the basics, it is time to get advanced certifications in the field and push your resume to the top of the pile. Advanced industry certifications that can help you reach the heights of an IT security career are:
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): for white hat hacking and penetration testing jobs.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): for professionals who want to move to managerial positions in the field.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): where you learn how to audit, control and monitor business and IT systems.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): A highly popular credential in the field of security policy and management, this certification can help you enter some of the top-paying IT security jobs.
GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH): for those who are interested in detecting and responding to computer security incidents – the SWAT team of cybersecurity professionals.
Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP): A rigorous 24-hour certification exam for penetration testers.
Several free and paid classes offer to train you for these certifications worldwide. You may enroll in one of them – online or offline – or go for self-learning.
Strengthen your tech skills and professional network
The best security officials do not limit themselves to security tools and skills. They are well-rounded tech professionals who have a significant know-how of related fields such as administering data networks, multiple operating systems, network security, and multiple scripting languages.
You can also build up your skills and professional network by dabbling in open-source and community projects. When you offer help to other students or professionals, you make friends easily and win some valuable contacts in the process. Moreover, contributing to open-source projects and reading books on cyber-related skills such as tracking malicious activities on the Internet and reverse-engineering malware show that you have the propensity to take initiatives and learn on your own – which is a big plus in this industry.
As a new entrant to the field of cybersecurity, online networking can help you reach out to the best-of-the-best in the industry while tech conferences and professional meet-ups give you an opportunity for in-person networking with security professionals in your area.Cybersecurity jobs are growing fast and there is a huge skills gap in the area. It is predicted that by 2019, there will be a shortage of two million cyber professionals worldwide. So, gear up now and get started on a hot new career path!
Kristy Murphy is the outreach manager at GoAssignmentHelp, A site dedicated to providing high quality assignments to students. She has more than 8 years of experience in writing. In her free time, she loves sharing travel experiences, so that it helps others when they travel.