The number of Cybersecurity jobs is predicted to increase by 33 per cent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if you are looking for a career switch or are thinking of starting your career in cybersecurity, it is safe to say that this field is here to stay.
When choosing a new career, it is paramount to know what lies below the surface. Knowing the pros and cons of the career path you intend to take is something you know to make an informed decision if this is the career path for you.
There are different career paths within the cybersecurity field that you can pursue depending on your aptitude, interests and skills. They are
1. Engineering & Architecture: As a security engineer, you will use your skills to plan and build impenetrable defence systems against security concerns. With this career path, you can advance to become a Security Architect and ultimately be responsible for the entire security infrastructure of your organisation. Critical Thinking, IT networking, System Administration, and Risk assessments are the skills needed to excel in this role.
2. Incident Response: No system is perfect. Security lapses and data breaches do happen. Incident response deals with the next steps after a breach and involves monitoring a system post-breach to minimise the data losses from further breaches. Another area of incident response involves Cybercrime and Digital forensics. If you are interested in working with law enforcement, you could consider becoming a Digital Forensic Investigator. You will need to have an in-depth knowledge of Intrusion detection tools and Forensic software.
3. Management Roles: If you have great Risk Management and leadership skills, you could also choose to be a Cybersecurity Manager to lead multiple security teams to be in charge of an entire organisation's security infrastructure.
4. Consulting: Organisations often hire security consultants to test their systems for vulnerabilities. As a consultant, you get to test systems, discover their flaws and recommend how to fix them to secure and improve their existing security infrastructure
5. Testing and hacking: As a penetration tester or an Ethical hacker, you will be called upon to identify and exploit gaps in the security infrastructure to help companies build more secure security systems to protect their data. Cryptography, Peneratating testing, Networking and Scripting are something you will need to understand to work in this role.
Now that you have a general idea of the different career paths available to you in cyber security. Let's look at the pros and cons of this field as well.
No two jobs in cybersecurity are the same, but certain points are common across the board. Here are the benefits of choosing a career in the field of cybersecurity.
1. Good Salaries: Cybersecurity professionals are paid once they have established themselves. They are paid higher than the average employees in the same organisation. Due to the lack of certified professionals for the number of jobs available, companies are willing to offer much better packages to secure the right candidates.
2. No shortage of Jobs: Cybersecurity is a necessity in any domain, be it Banking, Finance, Healthcare or even schools. Every company in any domain needs to have Cybersecurity professionals on its payroll or as consultants to ensure that their systems are secure and their data is protected.
3. Opportunity to be Self-employed: Once you have made a name for yourself as a Cybersecurity expert, you can go independent and work as a consultant. You can choose jobs that interest and challenge you and charge companies based on your expertise.
"Everything that glitters is not gold" is a saying we have all heard at some point in time. No job is perfect, and they all have their downsides. Here are a few things that you need to be aware of if you are seriously considering a career in Cyber security.
1. Long hours and always on-call: Cyber security attacks can happen at any time. And the moment an incident happens, it's all hands on deck till the situation is resolved. Be it the middle of the night, at the weekend or even on vacation. This is not a career where you can leave things midway if your 9-hour shift ends and pick up where you left off the next day.
2. Job pressure: If working under high pressure is something you want to stay away from, then this is not a career for you. You are constantly on high alert to prevent any hack or cyberattacks and under even higher pressure to deal with and contain hacks and data breaches the moment they occur.
3. Never-ending learning curve: Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field, and as a cybersecurity expert, you have to evolve and grow your skills and stay relevant in the industry. As a cybersecurity expert, you have to strive to excel at your job one step ahead of the bad guys. This constant learning can get exhaustive over the years and is something you need to consider before jumping into this field.
Every career has its pros and cons. It all comes down to your outlook on things. Some may enjoy the constant learning needed to stay relevant in the field, while others may not share the same excitement throughout their careers. If you have the aptitude and the skills to excel in this field and can live with the cons, then cybersecurity will be a rewarding and satisfying career choice.
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