Learn How To Become A Cyber ​​Security Specialist – Forbes Advisor

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Cybersecurity specialists perform crucial work in protecting sensitive digital information and communications. These professionals work with public and private employers of all sizes to ensure the security of data for clients, government entities, and healthcare organizations.

This guide offers information on becoming a cybersecurity analyst, along with details on other cybersecurity roles, such as information security specialist. If you’re wondering how to get into cybersecurity, read on to explore the salaries, job prospects, and certifications available in the field.

What does a cybersecurity specialist do?

Cybersecurity specialists handle a broad set of technical responsibilities related to the protection of sensitive digital data and information. Depending on the size of your employer, these cybersecurity experts may work in niche, specialized areas of the field, or oversee more general security tasks. They provide ongoing oversight of organizations’ cybersecurity efforts through various methods.

Cybersecurity specialists perform similar work to information security specialists, but may focus more on hardware. As cybersecurity experts, these specialists help create, analyze, and implement organizational security systems. Cyber ​​security specialists test areas of potential exposure on interconnected computer networks, document their findings, and provide fixes for vulnerabilities.

These professionals also educate their co-workers on best practices, as breaches can occur accidentally or deliberately by bad actors within their companies. Cyber ​​security specialists must keep up with changes in the field by researching emerging threats and solutions.

Cybersecurity specialists earn relatively high salaries. Payscale reports an average annual cyber security salary of around $92,000, and these salaries generally increase with experience.

Cybersecurity specialists can anticipate strong job growth over the next decade. For example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a projected job growth rate of 35% for information security analysts from 2021 to 2031. This title encompasses roles such as cybersecurity analyst and information security specialist. information.

Types of Cybersecurity

Some experts say that the fields of cybersecurity, network security, information security, and infrastructure security are all different. Others see these cybersecurity careers as existing under the same umbrella as computer security. The next section explores the differences between various subsets of cybersecurity.

network security

As a discipline within network engineering, this field covers breach protection for interconnected electronic devices rather than individual databases or devices. Network security professionals use firewalls, physical hardware, and educational efforts to protect against intrusions and retain lost data.

Network security can also focus on email and user security. Workers in this specialty area may spearhead organizational efforts to create more secure passwords or limit web browsing to trusted sites.

Network security professionals work within a more limited scope than cybersecurity workers. Cybersecurity defends against attacks on hardware, software, networks and users. In contrast, network security focuses on vulnerabilities in connections between devices.

information security

Information security shares some overlap with cybersecurity; in fact, cybersecurity is a subset of information security. However, cybersecurity focuses exclusively on protecting digital assets, while information security covers digital and physical information in all media.

Both cybersecurity workers and information security specialists protect valuable data and information. However, cybersecurity prevents access by bad actors and information security considers aspects such as data availability and confidentiality. Information security specialists can handle things like multi-factor authentication and access to physical information storage areas.

infrastructure security

Infrastructure security covers the protection of physical and digital assets through the architecture itself. This specialty may focus on safeguarding sensitive items using structures such as generators, security systems, and locks. Digitally, infrastructure security refers to creating and maintaining systems protected against breaches.

In addition to creating structures to protect interconnected devices, professionals in this sector safeguard sensitive assets for applications and data. At the application level, infrastructure security professionals develop and implement effective databases to prevent access by bad actors. For data, this field protects information by building structures for backup and encryption.

How to become a cybersecurity specialist

To become a cybersecurity specialist, you must complete a formal education, such as a degree or bootcamp in cybersecurity, information security, or a related subject. The next section explores the requirements to become a cybersecurity analyst.

Get a degree or certificate

Begin your journey to becoming a cybersecurity specialist by earning a degree or certificate in cybersecurity or a similar field. You can get cyber security education at any level; Along with associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, some schools offer certificates for completing a class or set of courses.

Colleges and universities may offer degrees or concentrations in cybersecurity within other majors, such as computer or information systems technology. Employers typically require candidates to have associate’s or bachelor’s degrees for entry-level cybersecurity jobs, including those as cybersecurity specialists.

Consider Certifications

Although certification is not required to work in this position, formal credentials can increase your job opportunities and salary as a cybersecurity specialist. Certifications demonstrate cybersecurity expertise to potential employers and indicate a dedication to the field. Getting certified usually involves passing an exam. Please note that most certification exams require significant preparation and some include experience requirements.

The following list covers some of the most common cybersecurity certifications:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)®
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Security+, Information Security Foundations (GISF)
  • Systems Security Certified Professional (SSCP)

Network with other professionals

In all professions, networking offers a reliable path to finding job opportunities. In addition to connecting with your co-workers, consider joining a professional organization.

These companies can hold job fairs, host conferences, and provide resources to connect with peers and employers. Consider some of the following professional organizations for cybersecurity workers.

  • (CSI)2: This international nonprofit association provides members with cybersecurity resources such as test preparation, continuing education, and a network of like-minded individuals. (ISC)2 offers some of the most sought-after cybersecurity certifications in the world.
  • ISACA®: ISACA serves more than 150,000 workers worldwide in fields such as information security and governance. This organization offers popular certifications, along with training opportunities and resources like up-to-date news in the field and a peer-reviewed magazine.
  • International Information Systems Security Association: ISSA, a non-profit organization, seeks to promote a secure digital world by connecting international information security professionals. ISSA hosts in-person and digital networking events to update workers on best practices in the field. It also offers opportunities to develop future generations of cybersecurity workers.
  • SANS Institute: This organization administers cybersecurity certifications and courses and offers a wide network of professionals and resources in the field. Members can train for credentials, attend events, and develop security awareness through webcasts, research, and specific cybersecurity sectors.

Gain experience

Given the wide scope of work for cyber security specialists, not all employers require significant professional experience when hiring. Some organizations employ these specialists in entry-level roles, allowing them to develop experience on the job.

Other companies may stipulate that they look for cybersecurity specialists with a specific amount of professional experience. Candidates can gain experience in other cybersecurity roles or through internships while continuing to earn their degrees to fulfill this requirement.

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