“Can I get into Cybersecurity without experience or an IT degree?” I have been asked this question more times than I can count. My answer is always Yes!
The field of cybersecurity is broad and the more technological advancement there is, the more hands the field needs to help combat the unending cyber threats and vulnerabilities that plague the world.
I started my career in IT 8 years ago as a Telecommunications Engineering student in Ukraine. While studying I was introduced to networking and I got started with Ethical hacking, this blossomed into the love for security that made me who I am today.
Here’s Why Cybersecurity Could Use More People
Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand and the need for cybersecurity expertise is on the rise. This is due to the increasing number of threats and zero-day vulnerabilities springing up year after year which affects every industry, every government, and every person. The New York Times reports that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021, up from one million positions in 2014. Cyber threats have become more sophisticated, most threats go undetected for years. The industry needs to meet the growing demand of today’s businesses, anyone digital footprint is vulnerable.
“Every IT position is also a cybersecurity position now. Every IT worker, every technology worker, needs to be involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure, and people.”- Cybersecurity Ventures.
How Can People With No Experience Start Their Career?
There are so many jobs available in the cybersecurity industry and companies are looking for resources to fill these jobs.This has led to a widespread proliferation of cybersecurity training and certification programs created by IT vendors. The aim is to help current and future professionals grow and keep their skills sharp.
Understand the domains
There are technical and non-technical skills required in cybersecurity. Understanding the industry, and cybersecurity domains are highly important. This would help you choose what role you see yourself flourishing in and how best to use your transferable skills. There several domains in cybersecurity;
- Access Control,
- Information Security Governance & Risk Management,
- Operations Security,
- Security Architecture and Design, etc.
Research each domain, read the job descriptions of roles within each domain, and go for what sparks up your desire to learn!
Get Started with Practical Work
I’d always say, what separates you from other candidates with no prior security experience, is the practical work you do at home or in your spare time. Being able to talk about the role with an understanding of its daily responsibilities is a huge plus. Prospective employers notice a candidate with practical experience, a passion for learning, and growth.
You can start by setting up a home lab where using a virtual environment to simulate network traffic. Then you can dive into threat hunting, and event detection using tools like Security Onion, IBM QRadar Community Edition, and other security monitoring tools both free and open-source. There are so many free online resources that will guide you through setting up a virtual environment and teach you how to use these tools.
Networking with cybersecurity professionals, seeking out mentors, and attending industry conferences are also important ways to grow your presence in the industry and get the right referrals.
Stay Up to Date
Lastly, keeping up with the latest cybersecurity blogs and podcasts is a great way to learn about the current threats facing the industry and how to mitigate them as well as how the industry operates in general
Cybersecurity Resources and Training Programs
Here are some resources in no particular order for entry-level folks who want free or low-cost security training to kick start their career.
- IBM Security Learning Academy – https://www.securitylearningacademy.com/
- Pluralsight – https://www.pluralsight.com/browse/information-cyber-security
- CybraryIT – https://www.cybrary.it/catalog/cybersecurity/
- Fortinet learning (Network Security Training) – https://training.fortinet.com/
- ICSI | Certified Network Security Specialist https://www.icsi.co.uk/courses/icsi-cnss-certified-network-security-specialist-covid-19
- Netinstruct https://netinstruct.com/
- SANS- SANS.org Community
- CompTIA IT Fundamentals, A+, Network & Security+ https://www.comptia.org/certifications
- Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA)
- CISCO- See their Learning Library
- UDEMY – https://www.udemy.com/
- ISSA (Information Systems Security Association)
Webinars, Journals, Articles, Chapter Meetings https://www.issa.org/
- Mosse Security – Women, Students, Vets https://www.mosse-security.com/
- Amazon Web Services Free Training Library – https://www.aws.training/
- Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society https://www.himss.org/
- Splunk Fundamentals – https://www.splunk.com/en_us/training/free-courses/splunk-fundamentals-1.html
- Qualys Certifications -some are free – https://www.qualys.com/training/
What separates you from other candidates with no prior security experience, is the practical work you do at home or in your spare time
A few podcasts to get you excited about working Cybersecurity (available wherever you get your podcasts):
Cyber Risk Management Podcast
Cyber Security Today
If you are interested in anything from Hacking to Computer Security, you can find the top 100 Hacking Security E-Books in PDF Format where you can find and download a wide variety of completely free books online https://hackingresources.com/hacking-security-ebooks/.
There are various paths you can take to get your first cybersecurity position. They incorporate getting cybersecurity certificates, applying for an internship, reaching out to a professional for referrals (this can be done via LinkedIn or at a conference), or contacting recruiters and hiring managers.
Keep on trying to get the hang of all that you can about the cybersecurity business and industry needs. That includes researching what job vacancies are out there and what is required to land them.
Demand for cybersecurity jobs is at an all-time high and with so many jobs out there, the need to fill them is urgent. The need for cybersecurity experts isn’t disappearing anytime soon. The cybersecurity industry needs more hands than it has, we need you all out there. There’s still room!