5 Tips for a Successful Career in Cybersecurity

By 2021, there will be about 3.5 million unfilled jobs in cybersecurity.

If you have been going back and forth about whether or not to pursue this line of work, it might help to know that these skills will be more and more sought after in the coming years.

Read: Cybersecurity Lessons From Pop Culture

As technology advances, so does cyber crooks and risks. The long and short of it is, that as long as technology sticks around, your expertise as a cybersecurity profession will be required.

While demand might get your foot through the door, it might not be enough to ensure you enjoy a long, progressive career in this field.

So what will? Read on to find out.

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1. Technical Know-How

Cybersecurity has numerous sub-disciplines. However, some are regarded as foundational technical skills that are shared across the board.

These are skills you can acquire by going through a degree course as well as the all-important certification courses.

In time as you begin to get actual hands-on exposure, you should naturally be drawn to an area of specialization.

At this stage and beyond, ensure to keep your skills updated by taking up cyber security courses to widen your skills and expertise.

Similarly, take advantage of conferences, seminars, and other learning and networking opportunities.

Remain alert to industry trends as well to identify and grasp opportunities before they become saturated. Cloud security is one such avenue worth exploring.

2. Communication Skills

It’s often said that tech-pros are severely deficient in the communications department.

This notion is yet to be proven or refuted. However, if you have reasons to believe you might be a poor communicator, this is something you will need to work on.

And there is good reason for that.

As a cybersecurity professional, you will find yourself having to explain some technical concepts to non-tech people.

For example, you might need to explain to C-suite executives why they need to spend money on the latest threat management system.

Or carry out security training sessions for staffers.

For you to be successful in your role, you need to be an effective communicator. This involves breaking down complex information and creating persuasive arguments.

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3. Good Decision Maker

This entails making sound decisions quickly. In case of an attack, your organization is dependent on you to ensure business continuity and speedy recovery.

The downtimes experienced after an attack may leave the business vulnerable and opens it up to losses.

For this reason, employers are increasingly looking for people that can give an assurance of speedy recovery after attacks.

This requires a professional that is well versed in the field and one who is confident enough to think on their feet.

4. Programming Knowledge

Understanding programming language helps you evaluate possible attack angles and institute countermeasures.

A good understanding of Shell, Java, PHP, Perl, C++, and C helps one to understand the backend system much better.

They say to burglar-proof your house, hire the best burglar in town. In essence, you are learning what an attacker will likely use to attack you.

This approach works much better than handling the damage after-the-fact.

Programming knowledge also comes in handy when you need to write your own code to expose vulnerabilities or to automate tasks.

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5. People Skills

People and teamwork skills are sought after skills across all professions.

These will be important to you because security is among the few multi-departmental roles within an organization.

This requires you to be in contact and to touch base with different departmental heads, top-level executives as well as your peers.

In this regard, you need to build and grow strong professional relationships in and outside your organization.

When promotions do arise, you will be surprised at how significant these relationships become in terms of professional support and encouragement.

The Bigger Picture

These aside, it will also be crucial to have a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.

If you have a genuine passion for cybersecurity and are willing to put in the work, there will be virtually nothing standing in the way of a progressive, satisfying career in the tech world.

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