Cyber Security is one of the primary concerns of CEOs globally. By 2021, an estimated USD 6 trillion will be lost to cyber threats around the world! It is no wonder then that companies are hiring cyber security professionals at a record pace and the compensation growth, see article on salaries which surely seems to validate that.
However, to successfully crack into the field of cyber security requires technical expertise, an analytical mindset and a general affinity towards technology. In this guide, we hope to provide you with a basic outline of how to go about becoming a cyber security analyst.
Step 1: Pick your niche
Cyber security is a vast field with specialisations ranging from network security to ethical hacking, forensics, audit, IT risk management, business continuity planning and everything else in between. Additionally, you also have thousands of technical specifications and dozens of competing platforms. You can’t specialise in them all, so you have to pick your field. Initially, you might get away with being a generalist, but as a specialist, you will grow much faster and can really become an authority in your niche.
Don’t niche down too much in your initial years, however, but do pick something that interests you. That will keep you engaged and will eventually reflect in your performance indicators. Remember that compensation is not just dependent on which field you pick, but more so on how well you do in that field.
Step 2: Get the technical knowledge
Our article on cyber security skills and qualifications, covers in great detail the academic qualifications, the technical certifications and the work experience required to break into cyber security. However, keep in mind that there is more than one way to demonstrate your technical abilities. For example, if you are someone who has learned a lot about digital platforms from self-study, you really don’t have to join a Fortune 500 company and can just get hired by one of the many smaller consultancies who help companies find loopholes in their systems.
Irrespective of how you acquire it, the important thing is that you need to have the right knowledge.
Step 3: Build a killer resume
Most recruiters spend no more than 7 seconds when going through a pile of CVs! It is thus super important to make sure that your CV stands out. Have brands that are instantly recognisable on your CV and something that will immediately catch the recruiter’s eye (and is relevant to the job). If you are not spending several dozen hours perfecting your CV, you are doing something wrong.
Step 4: Get some experience under your belt
Knowledge and passion is one thing, but demonstrable practical experience can really take you to the next level. Most jobs require some amount of on-the-job experience. Millions of people around the world across all professions start small just to get the relevant work experience to move towards their dream jobs. There is nothing wrong with starting small if you lack the work experience.
Another way to get some experience is through internships. If you can have a good brand name company on your CV that you interned for, that can go a long way as well.
Step 5: Perform well and follow a continuous education regime
There are some fields which don’t change all that often. Technology is NOT like those fields. It changes faster than almost any other field that we can think of. The threats you face, sometimes evolve on a weekly basis! Thus, it is of the utmost importance to keep yourself updated and build a habit of continuously educating yourself on the newest trends.
Being thorough and methodical in your current job is also going to do well for your career. Mistakes can happen but if your thought process is clear and your approach logical, you can minimise the damage.
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