How to Start a Career in Cybersecurity With No Experience
Cybercrime is big business. In 2022, we’ve already seen attacks on Microsoft, Crypto.com, and even the Red Cross, resulting in the theft of customer data, company sensitive information and millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency.
Given the financial and reputational consequences of these breaches, demand for cybersecurity professionals is at an all-time high. There’s also a skills shortage, so it’s perfectly possible to break into this industry without prior work experience, provided you target the right roles and retrain accordingly.
If you’re thinking about a career in cybersecurity, here are some examples of entry level positions to consider:
A Security Analyst is instrumental in protecting computer networks. They monitor systems for any potential breaches, and report on and investigate any problems they uncover. Criminal methods are becoming more sophisticated, so time is spent keeping up to date with new trends and developments. The role also includes working with individual users to answer queries relating to security products and procedures, and working on company-wide strategies to ensure security remains effective moving forward.
Digital Forensic Examiner
A Digital Forensic Examiner carries out the detective work required to determine how systems were compromised, retrieves data, and gathers evidence that can be used in court.
This role involves assessing the quality of IT security systems and whether they comply with best practice and quality standards. A good audit can uncover any gaps in provision or potential weaknesses that can be exploited by hackers, enabling actions to correct the situation.
Even with robust systems and careful planning, it isn’t always possible to prevent cyber attacks. Incident Responders are on hand ready to assist in the event of a security breach. They assess the scale of incoming attacks and take steps to minimise the damage. The rest of their time is spent auditing and penetration testing to uncover and help eliminate any weak spots that can be exploited.
Cryptographers protect data by encrypting it. This renders it useless to criminals by making it incomprehensible. Cryptographers are able to add this layer of protection by developing unique algorithms that help organisations stay one step ahead of the hackers.
Companies need people with in depth knowledge of the products used in cybersecurity. As well as expertise, Product Managers need strategic vision to identify competitive advantages.
Businesses must comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR. Larger organisations usually employ dedicated Compliance Officers to ensure these rules are followed.
Cybersecurity Certifications to get your career moving
If you’re considering these roles, then you probably have a computer science degree or are looking to transition from another academic discipline like mathematics for example. No matter what your level of experience or current skill set, the best route into the industry is to get certified. These professional certifications offer a route into the industry that many degrees don’t:
- Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU): A basic certificate to raise security awareness
- CompTIA Security+: An entry-level exam that can open up a career in information security
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): Aimed predominantly at existing IT professionals looking to make the switch and retrain in cybersecurity
- Certified Encryption Specialist (ECES) which covers the basics of encryption.
Don’t be deterred from pursuing a career in cybersecurity by a lack of cybersecurity experience. General computing skills, a positive can-do attitude, and the right industry accreditations can all help you to get started in this interesting and rewarding career.