Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields in tech and everyone wants to know how to get their foot in the door. Although you’ll likely be interviewing remotely this year, you’ll still need to demonstrate communication skills and well-rounded knowledge in your interview. So what exactly will you be asked in a cybersecurity interview in 2022? A panel of experts – instructors and alumni – from Code Fellows share 4 questions you’ll likely hear in interviews, 3 soft skills you’ll need to demonstrate to interviewers, and how a cyber range will help you stand out in the interview process.
Code Fellows teaches the skills that employers are asking for, so what does the Ops & Cyber Security Program curriculum cover and which certifications do students train for?
Has Code Fellows added anything specific to the cybersecurity curriculum in response to COVID-19?
Students in any cybersecurity training need to be more aware of the extra security concerns facing a distributed workforce. One thing we did was add scenarios around helping a company move employees to remote work. The Ops & Cybersecurity Program teaches all of the security responses for what the workforce looks like in 2022.
Our plan for in-person learning was always to have students tear our in-house lab computers apart and put them back together again. When you’re learning at home, there’s no lab and no classroom. We now ship everybody a computer that they get to deconstruct and rebuild at home. They then build their own network from hardware provided by Code Fellows.
This was a huge change for us and the logistics were tough. However, the essential result is that students get to actually touch the technology in their home cyber ranges every day.
What type of hardware does Code Fellows ship to students for their cyber range?
We’re sourcing components from REPC, which is a source for recycled enterprise machines that are tested, refurbished, and restored to usefulness. We look for at least a Quad Core I5 processor with 16 gigs of RAM and an SSD so students can get their work done. It’s a fairly capable machine, but it can take a beating. It’s totally okay if students mess it up!
Students use that cyber range for their lab assignments throughout the full sequence of courses.As instructors, we set up class lab assignments to operate on their home cyber range.
Why is that important? Why are at-home cyber ranges specifically relevant to cybersecurity students?
A lot of what you’re doing as a budding cybersecurity professional could be considered malicious and you definitely don’t want to do it to systems that don’t belong to you. We’re having students attack other machines in their cyber range so they ensure it’s something they own and control. Working on your own cyber range is one of the most critical ways to build hands-on experience, so you can keep your skills sharp and keep learning.
Courtney says you can think of a cyber range as “a sandbox, an isolated home network that you can easily modify and experiment in, without disrupting your personal machines”. When a parent gives their child a first car, it’s usually something you can learn to drive in and figure out how traffic works. You can use it to get from point A to point B and if you take care of it, it will last a long time. A student at Code Fellows can learn enough on a cyber range to know when they need more to work with. We have a couple of students that have made upgrades to .
Here are a few specific questions that you might hear in a cybersecurity interview:
It boils down to this: In 2022, employers are looking for well-rounded knowledge, communication skills, and continuous learning in the field. So how exactly do you show these skills in an interview?
After working in the cybersecurity field, Djavan advises that “cybersecurity is about breadth and depth. In the Code Fellows 401 final exam, students get a rapid-fire test with 10 multiple choice questions about breadth followed by 3 technical interview questions that go in-depth into specific cybersecurity domains. Students should be able to explain with lots of detail about, for example, how to handle an incident when things go wrong.”
If there’s an incident going on, how well can you triage it, get down to the root of the problem, and then propose a solution? The interviewers are often looking for how well you can describe a topic when they potentially know more than you. They want to find the limits of your knowledge, so they will continue to probe your responses to see how deeply you can discuss the topic.
Interviewers want you to meet technical objectives, but they’re also looking at how you communicate your approach. Sometimes things don’t work how you wanted, but tell your interviewer what you are thinking, what you tried, and which resources you consulted. An advantage of programs like Code Fellows is that students get to practice communicating in addition to their hard skills so that they’re prepared when they get a job.
Courtney says that “If I could point to a single question as an interviewer, it would be to ask how job seekers continue to learn. I’m looking to hire in my current role and the number one thing I’m looking for is curiosity. Are they practicing in their own time? I realize this isn’t a technical question, but we’re never done learning in this field so it’s my number one character trait to look for.”
Marco tends to look for “people showcasing a passion for cybersecurity. Keeping up with the news is also important. I ask which blogs people follow and see if they can talk about current events from a technological perspective.”
Djavan’s advice to demonstrate your passion for learning cybersecurity is to “have a home cyber range! Show the interviewer that you can install virtual machines, test new tools, attack your own systems, build your own network, and then tear it all down to try something new!”
Right now there’s a huge demand in governance, risk, and compliance, which is a great entry point for people with a non-technical background. In that interview, expect questions about:
Which kinds of cybersecurity jobs are students landing after Code Fellows?
Is there anything your team anticipates adding to the Code Fellows cybersecurity curriculum in 2022 to make students more hireable?
Code Fellows is designed to be responsive to the way the industry shifts; we’re always iterating, adapting, and adjusting the curriculum.
In 2022, we’ll continue to teach Python and scripting. The demand for Python has been a steeply rising trend in cybersecurity and that will only get stronger.
Right now, we prepare students for specific certifications like CompTIA ITF+ and Network+. We don’t currently tell students to go for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, but in 2022, we’ll build in more material for that certification.
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