Are you still doubting if cyber security is the right career path for you? Well, I hope I can convince you with today’s topic. We will discuss common myths associated with breaking into the field of cyber-security.
There are many reasons why most people haven’t taken the step to start their career in cyber security. Here are a few that I have heard:
- I don’t have the educational background
- I don’t have a college degree
- I don’t have any computer experience/ my work history is not technical
- I am too old to learn IT
- And more!
If you fit into this category or something similar, my goal in this newsletter is to get you to become more positive thinking by busting these myths. I hope to enlighten you about these misconceptions that has maybe stopped you and many others from getting a career in cyber security.
Here are 5 most common Myth associated with starting a career in Cyber security:
- #Myth 1: I need to have a technical background
Non-technical background doesn’t always put you at a disadvantage as there are some entry-level non-technical positions that you can get with the skills you already possess. Cyber policy analyst and technical writing are examples of job positions that do not require you to be technical. FISMA compliance for example is an area in cyber-security that is currently in heavy demand with the federal government. Sometimes, a college degree might be the only requirement to get an entry level policy analyst job. Also, if you are an enthusiastic writer with deep knowledge of grammar, Technical writing is not a bad start either. Entry-level positions and Internships can help kickstart your cybersecurity career. Cyber security certifications like CEH and Security+ can help you speed up getting a technical position. These certificates take a lot less time than college degrees, depending on your learning pace, you can earn these and pass the exams in just a 4-6 weeks.
- Myth 2: I need to have a degree to get into cyber security.
IS A COLLEGE DEGREE NECESSARY?
The short answer: not necessarily. “Our industry was pioneered by people without college degrees,” says Josh Feinblum. “Work hard to get involved in the community, contribute to open source projects, try to speak at conferences about cool research—these are all things the original pioneers did and can provide opportunities for smart, hard-working individuals to enter the industry.”
However, having a computer science or related degree will expand your options. As Feinblum said “College degrees are frequently a checkbox expected by many large companies, so not having a degree may limit some opportunities.” It’s not actually a deal-breaker, just another factor to consider!” So don’t give up on searching, search harder. And please don’t get student loans, obtain a job that will be happy to sponsor your education.
- Myth 3: Younger people are better in cyber security.
Age is not directly correlated to better cyber security practices. A recent report revealed that “younger workers are more comfortable with technology but not more secure.”
It’s never too late to change careers, I have had mentees in their 50’s and 60’s. They are some of the hardest working people I know to date. IT security needs people who are able to think, people who don’t only fix things but also find out why and how it happens because IT security needs you to understand how, explain why and fix it in the future. Most people know how to fix things but aren’t curious to know why and how it happens. To be successful in the industry, you have to think differently, be curious, determined and have ability to turn your failure into a victory. So again, I say it’s really never too late to start your career in cyber security.
- Myth 4: I need to know everything about cyber security before i can get a job in the field.
Not at all, you just need to pick a cyber-security path and become really good at it. One exciting thing about cybersecurity is that there are many paths you can choose and you don’t even need tech background to pursue them as stated above. Before choosing a path, identify your strength and determine if you want a position that is more technical ot less technical.
If you love playing with technology, go tactical (Technical). I recommend you find two tools (i.e. SPLUNK, Nessus, Wireshark), then become REALLY good at using them. Purchase a Sonic-Wall firewall for your home, get the 24/7 tech support for under $500 and turn your home into a heavily guarded fortress… that’s how you can become a firewall admin. Udemy has a LOT of courses to teach you on how to master these told. Pjcourses.com also has great introductory courses as well.
If you are more passionate about management and process, consider compliance positions (Non-technical). Learn FISMA Compliance, HIPAA and other industry compliance.
Be sure to make deeper research on your field of interest. In-person groups are valuable too. Kozinski recommend: “Get connected with groups like Information System Security Association(ISSA) and others. “Start volunteering with these groups, get plugged in with Open Source projects on the internet. You don’t need a job to get experience in security. The connections you make in those groups will likely be the vehicle to finding your next career.”
- Myth 5: Getting into cyber security field will take years to accomplish.
This is not true, you need approximately 6-9 months total to get into the field. As an example pjcourses.com offers a comprehensive cyber security career development program (Click Here for course details). We will train you to become job ready by completing the following:
- Learn how to do FISMA compliance. This will take approx. 1-3 months, depending on your learning capacity.
- Complete real cyber-security projects. This will take approx. 1-2 months depending on the project schedule and group speed
- Obtain your certification. This will require approx. 1 month per certification when you join a boot camp. If you do not have a degree, I recommend you get two certs. PJCourses.com offers 2 Certification boot camps that are taught on nights and weekends:
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