Sure, you can launch your cybersecurity career after taking a month-long online bootcamp — but gaining an entry-level job in information security is not going to satisfy you in the long term. If you want to take full advantage of this growing career field, you need to know how to climb the ladder of cybersecurity quickly and confidently. Fortunately, this guide will help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to excel in information security.
Enroll in a Cybersecurity Degree Program
A bootcamp is enough to get your foot in the door of a cybersecurity career, but it won’t qualify you for the high-level jobs that make cybersecurity challenging and rewarding. While you might eventually enjoy promotions and raises thanks to the knowledge and skill you gain through real-world experience, if you hope to fast-track your rise through the cybersecurity field, you need to consider pursuing a high-quality education credential at the start of your career. Fortunately, you can enroll in online cybersecurity degrees from a top university. Then, if you are already employed in an entry-level cybersecurity role, you can find a balance between work and study to capitalize on both real-world experience and valuable formal training.
Find High-level Internships
If you are not already working in the cybersecurity field, you might spend some of your free time during your degree program engaging with internships. Internships are modern-day apprentice programs, and in tech, internships can be vital to revealing what is actually expected of workers in specific fields. What’s more, internships allow you to grow your professional network, as you will build relationships with active cybersecurity professionals. In the future, you may be able to use these connections to find paying work or to access high-level employment opportunities. You can find internships through websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, or you can utilize your school’s career center to identify internship programs in your area.
Pursue the Right Certifications
Even after you earn a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, your interaction with education is not complete. Because the tech industry continues to evolve, with new technologies and processes introduced seemingly every day, tech professionals need to demonstrate that their knowledge and skills are up-to-date with the latest practices. You will do this by earning certifications appropriate to your career. Some must-have certs for climbing the cybersecurity ladder include:
CompTIA Security+. There are many different CompTIA certifications, and all of them are excellent for entry-level workers. The Security+ cert demonstrates your proficiency with core security skills.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). The most sought-after cert in the cybersecurity industry, the CISSP demonstrates that you can design, implement and monitor cybersecurity programs.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). This cert demonstrates your ability to assess security vulnerabilities, implement controls and report on compliance — essential tasks in security auditing.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM). The CISM is reserved only for cybersecurity professionals in positions of leadership, as it demonstrates your expertise in governance, program development, and other management concerns.
Make Connections With Prominent Experts
The importance of building your professional network does not end when you secure your first job. In fact, making connections with other professionals in the cybersecurity sphere is perhaps even more important once you are working in the field. You might make requests with your employer to visit information security conferences, where you can meet and develop relationships with a large number of established cybersecurity professionals while learning some of the latest and greatest security techniques from industry experts. You might also use social media to reach out to industry thought leaders or maintain connections to professional groups. You should consistently check in on any relationships you develop in your industry to maintain strong bonds that might benefit your career.
Keep Looking for Better Job Opportunities
By now, the baby boomer advice to stay put in a single job is well and truly debunked. Research shows that hopping positions every couple of years helps professionals climb their career ladders with speed and ease, providing vastly more rewarding work opportunities. You should try to avoid becoming too comfortable in your current role and constantly search job sites for new positions that fit your experience and interests — and you should never undervalue your abilities or settle for less pay than you are worth.
If you are serious about a career in cybersecurity, you need to invest more time and effort than a month-long bootcamp. With the right education credentials, a strong professional network, and some savvy employment tactics, you can build the cybersecurity career of your dreams.