Cyber Security

Cyber security career track

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber Security consists of technologies and best practices to protect networks, computers, software programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. Cyber security is used in everything from mobile apps to web platforms. Entities like governments, banks, and shopping applications are the biggest users of cyber security, but every company needs cyber security!

Cyber Security Jobs

Job opportunities are constantly growing for information security and cyber security professionals. There is global demand for over 8 million security professionals and we’re short by nearly 3 million. It’s safe to say, if you learn cyber security skills, you will be in demand for the foreseeable future. Most cyber security positions require a bachelor’s degree and about 30% require a certification. Many employers now accept proof of graduating from a cyber security bootcamp instead of a degree but still require a certification. Most information security jobs require a clean criminal background check as well. 

Here are some of the most common cyber security job titles:

  • IT Security Analyst
  • Network Security Engineer
  • Cyber Security Analyst 
  • Security Sales Engineer
  • Data Systems Analyst
  • Data Security Analyst
  • Systems Security Administrator
  • Network Security Administrator
  • Network Security Engineer
  • Information Systems Security Manager
  • Chief Security Officer

Cyber Security Job Description

Depending on the position, cyber security professionals safeguard information systems by identifying, troubleshooting, and solving any security problems. They protect the system by building or maintaining firewalls, defining access privileges, and controlling structures. They may be asked to anticipate requirements by evaluating trends and assessing the current state of the security system. The cyber security professional will perform upgrades and regular maintenance. Some cyber security roles will require the Engineer or Analyst to communicate with clients and create performance reports. 

What Does a Cyber Security Engineer or Cyber Security Analyst Do?

The duties of Cyber Security Engineers and Cyber Security Analysts differ from company to company. A Cyber Security Engineer might analyze computer networks and ensure they run securely, try to predict possible security issues, and design computer systems equipped to deal with disruptions and attacks. A Cyber Security Analyst plans and carries out security measures to protect a computer network. Analysts should expect to be evaluating and tracking threats, monitoring network security, and executing plans. 

Brian teaches Cyber Security at Evolve Security Academy and describes his career in cyber: “My first full time job in cyber security was at a major insurance company. I focused on application security, security operations, and vulnerability management. I also worked on their Computer Security Incident Response team. Later, I worked for an e-commerce startup. I built their security team and established their security program while they scaled from small startup to booming e-commerce platform.”

Cyber Security Salaries

Cybersecurity Job Average Salary
Information Security Analyst $90,120
Systems Security Administrator Salary $106,000
Network Security Administrator $110,000
Chief Security Office (10 years of experience) $140,000

 

Cyber Security Skills

Depending on your cyber security role and the company you’re working for, you’ll need to know some programming, operating systems, and cloud computing systems. Here are the skills most cyber security bootcamps will teach: 

  • Computer Network and Security
    • Firewall Administration
    • Encryption
    • Network Protocols
  • Data Systems Security Protocol
  • Hardware and Software Systems 
    • Amazon Web Services (AWS) - AWS is a secure cloud computing services platform offering computing power, storage, and enterprise applications. 
    • VMWare - VMWare is a virtualization and cloud computing software provider.
    • Linux - Linux is a family of open-source operating systems. 
    • Windows - Windows is a graphical operating system developed and published by Microsoft.
  • Knowledge of security trends and government regulations

For higher level positions, you’ll need deeper knowledge of: 

  • Networking Architecture
  • Authentication Practices
  • Security Administration
  • How to translate security policies and procedures into technical architectures
  • How to install, monitor, and maintain network security solutions

For a security job at any level, you’ll need to know the OWASP Security Principles: 

  • Injection
  • Broken Authentication
  • Sensitive Data Exposure
  • XML External Entities
  • Broken Access Control
  • Security Misconfiguration
  • Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
  • Insecure Deserialization
  • Using components with known variables
  • Insufficient logging and monitoring

Cyber Security Soft Skills

In addition to technical skills, a good Cyber Security career starts with soft skills. If you want to get into a management or an officer role, you will need to be able to communicate with and manage a team effectively. You’ll need to know how to establish respectful communication with everyone from clients to Administrators and Engineers. Other important soft skills include keeping up with the news, continuous learning, and vigilantly looking at things through a cyber security lens. 

Should I learn to code for cybersecurity?

Whether you need to learn to code to be a security professional depends on two things: your desire to “hack” and where you want to get a job. Only a small percentage of cyber security professionals play the “hacker” role. If you don’t want to be a hacker, you’ll need to understand coding fundamentals but you don’t have to be a coder to be successful in cybersecurity. If you want to work for a software company like Google or Twitter, they will most likely expect you to know how to code. Most cyber security bootcamps require students to be proficient in a scripting language like Ruby, JavaScript, Python, or Perl and operating systems like Windows and Linux. 

How to get into Cyber Security 

According to Manju Mude, a mentor at Springboard, “The only prerequisite for cyber security is that you think and understand risks and threats.” If you’re looking for jobs and not sure if you want to commit to a bootcamp and certifications yet, she recommends starting off with a job on the compliance team of a legal department. 

Cyber Security Certifications

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) - Earning the CISSP proves that a security professional knows how to effectively design, implement, and manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program. 
  • CompTIA Security+ - CompTIA Security+ is a global certification validating baseline skills needed to pursue an IT security career. 
  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) - GCIH validates a security professional’s ability to detect, respond, and resolve computer security incidents.

Do I have to have a college degree to get into Cyber Security?

Over 90% of cyber security jobs require some form of degree. If you don’t already have a college degree, you should strongly consider getting a degree in Information Technology, Information Security, or Cyber Security. An associate’s degree is sufficient for some entry-level positions. A cyber security degree gives students experience in programming, statistics, ethics, computer forensics, and analytical skills. A master’s degree in Cyber Security opens doors to higher-level Chief roles as well as higher salaries. 

If you already have a college degree in any field, and you want to pivot to a cyber security career, consider a bootcamp! Most cyber security bootcamps are not for complete tech newbies – so if you’ve never coded before, you should consider a general full stack coding bootcamp first. Information Security (InfoSec) classes are a big help for beginners, too. Most security bootcamps require one to two years of IT systems or development experience. Bootcamp tuitions cost between free to $19,000, and they range in duration from 9-20 weeks. Most bootcamps offer financing options. 

Online Cybersecurity Resources

  • Conferences - There are conferences around the world for information security and cyber security at any pricepoint. You can find a community directory of conferences here
  • Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) - OWASP is a nonprofit working to improve software security. They have online learning tools and resources. They offer networking, education, trainings, and resources on their website and in person at their hundreds of local chapters. 
  • BSides - BSides host Information Security conferences that are organized 100% by volunteers. They offer hackathons, challenges, and basic learning. They also host a Slack channel you can join in the footer of their site.   
  • Meetup - Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Meetups are a great way to network, learn, and find support from your community. 
  • Youtube - Youtube is a wealth of knowledge in every field. From conference talks to vlogs, you can find cyber security community and lessons there. Here are some notable channels: 
    • Black Hat - Black Hat hosts conferences. They post conference talks to their Youtube! 
    • Troy Hunt - Microsoft Regional Director, Public Speaker, and founder of Have I Been Pwned. Troy posts Vlogs weekly as well videos of coding sessions. 
    • Habitu8 - Habitu8 teaches the basics of cyber security through tutorials. 
    • Security Weekly - Security Weekly can also be found in podcast form. This show goes over security compliance mandates every week sometimes with guests. 
  • The News - Follow the news! The breaches in the news are the very risks you’ll be discovering once you’re in the field. 

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