As the need for protecting digital assets and company data has increased, the cybersecurity field has become one of the fastest growing fields in the US. Don’t believe me?
According to CBS News, there were over 465,000 open job positions in cybersecurity in May 2021. In addition, the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), jobs in cyber security are among the fastest growing careers with some being above a 30% expected growth rate by 2029.
It is believed that the field is experiencing unprecedented growth for several reasons. One reason is the rapid adoption of big data by businesses of all sizes. Right now, nearly everybody uses data to automate their business operations. The increased use of collecting and using data increases business’s vulnerability to hackers. Hackers are getting smarter, and cybercrime is getting more expensive to combat. Take into consideration one of the most recent cyberattacks on the Colonial Pipelines, which cost $5 million dollars. In addition, in a 2021 survey, IBM estimates that data breaches are costing companies on average $4.24 million dollars per incident, which is a record high.
With vulnerabilities constantly being uncovered in workplaces and the cybersecurity field experiencing a major skilled-labor shortage, now is the time to break into the labor market. Whether you want to change careers or are fresh out of college, there is a cybersecurity job with your name on it. All you need is proper training and certification.
How to Get a Job In Cyber Security
Yes, having a cybersecurity-related degree and a year or two of experience will make you a top-notch candidate for almost any job in the field. However, the demand for labor is not able to keep up with traditional hiring standards. Companies such as Tesla, Apple, and Google don’t even require IT employees to have college degrees anymore. Now candidates must prove their competence, and one way they do that is through getting certified.
As someone looking to enter the field, it is important that you don’t pursue the first certification you see. Identify 1-3 careers that you would be interested in, and research training and certification requirements because there could be a difference, and you don’t want to waste time.
Identify Transferable Skills
The labor shortage across the US is changing the way hiring managers make decisions. This is especially true for employers hiring for skilled positions. In the past, hiring managers focused on education and background, but now hiring managers are beginning to adopt a skills-based approach to hiring.
A skills-based approach basically prioritizes a candidate’s skills over their previous work experience when considering them for a job. So, if you are looking to change careers, the first step is to identify your transferable skills. It sounds like it could be difficult, but it can be done in three simple steps:
- Analyze your education and previous work experience – what skills have you developed throughout the years
- Analyze the skills and expectations of the cybersecurity field you are looking to break into
- Compare and contrast your skill set – If there are gaps, try to fill in the gaps with training
Once you find skills that can be transferable and develop new relevant skills, be sure to highlight those on your resumes and cover letters.
For most tech jobs, you can expect to work your way into a high-paying job early in your career. Due to its increasing demand, the same can be said for occupations in cybersecurity. But before you start to look forward to the money, you must do a self-evaluation.
Though you may have previous work experience, your work experience was probably irrelevant to the cybersecurity job you are pursuing. Therefore, you should have the mindset that you are starting from scratch. You will more than likely be hired at an entry-level job, which means the pay won’t be six figures, and you will be put in uncomfortable working positions such as working weekends, working nights, or handling big workloads.
It will take time to work your way up the ladder, but it’s like that with almost any career. Being realistic about it will help you figure out if it’s something you really want to do, and it will prepare you once you have made the necessary steps to enter the field.
Top Cybersecurity Entry Level Jobs That Don’t Require a Tech Degree
The job outlook for a penetration tester is expected to grow by 31% by the year 2029. This career is a small sliver of cybersecurity, and employees typically work with cybersecurity and information technology teams. Their primary job is to attempt to hack into different company systems. They delve into the mind of a hacker, and search for the holes with the mission of finding vulnerabilities and preventing future cyberattacks or data breaches.
Depending on the company, you can become an entry-level penetration tester by exhibiting the necessary skillset, certifications, and knowledge. It is helpful to have a bachelor’s degree, but it is not necessary.
The salary for an entry-level penetration tester is: $76,237/year
Information Security Analyst
The job outlook for an information security analyst is expected to grow 33% by the year 2030. Information security analysts’ tasks revolve around planning and executing security measures to make sure the company’s computer networks and systems remain protected.
Though you can have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, many hiring managers are looking for people who have either worked in a related field or have the skills to perform the tasks.
The salary for an entry-level information security analyst is: $66,320/year
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 350,000 available jobs for people pursuing a career in systems administration. Systems administrators are one of the more fluid cybersecurity jobs because they physically work with a company’s computer networks. Every company, no matter the industry, has a computer network, and most companies would look for someone to help manage it. Though a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field can make you highly qualified, employers are willing to work with people who exhibit the necessary skill requirements.
The salary for an entry-level systems administrator is: $39,345/year
What Are You Waiting For?
The labor market for cybersecurity is exploding. If you have been wanting to break into the cybersecurity and tech industry for a long time, but felt you weren’t qualified enough, now is your chance. While searching for jobs, be sure to research your desired position, check out the skills for that position, go get certified, and start applying. Your dreams won’t work unless you do!