PURSUING A CAREER IN CYBERSECURITY

Interested in a career with almost zero unemployment and seemingly unending potential? Cybersecurity might be the field for you.Whether you call it information security, information assurance, data security, cyber security, computer security, or many of the other sub-specialties, opportunities are available. Whether you’re interested in a career in government or work as a contractor, almost every company is looking to expand its cybersecurity capability.

Competition for talent is so steep, in fact, that government agencies from the National Security Agency to the FBI are struggling to fill positions, and some are even instituting their own training programs to help recruit talent fresh from America’s college campuses.

Whether you’re in college, a transitioning veteran, or a mid-level security-cleared profession looking for a career change, cybersecurity may be the ticket. Here are a few tips to consider:

You’ll need the education, but not all cyber skills are learned in the classroom. Today’s cybersecurity professional often has learned a few tricks of the trade from the black hat side of the house. This doesn’t mean you should be hacking as a means of building your professional credentials but a Certified Ethical Hacker credential probably wouldn’t hurt. Other useful certifications include the CISSP, or a certification that allows you to be DoD 8570 compliant.

While many universities are beginning to offer cybersecurity offerings be a cautious consumer. You may not need a whole new four-year degree. Consider how to supplement your existing skills with certifications or look for universities that are already pairing with private companies to offer clearance sponsorship and internships.

Second, follow the headlines. From FBI stings to congressional hearings, cybersecurity is all over the news. Potential employers will expect you to know what’s going on in the industry, especially if you’re a newcomer. Finally, be prepared to change. A career in cybersecurity that isn’t constantly evolving will be two steps behind the field before you know it. Look for a potential employer that offers continuing education opportunities or the ability to really put your skills to work. In IT, like many other fields, you often use it or lose it.

Whether your idea of a cybersecurity career is a CIA agent cracking 256-bit encryption or a “white hat” security expert with a mundane office job and a mortgage, the reality is cybersecurity will remain in-demand, offering competitive salaries and career challenges for those willing to do the work.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at ClearanceJobs.com. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer
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