If you are not a hacker per se, but interested in a cybersecurity field, do not despair. There are many other choices within the profession that may interest you. A hacker, by my simple definition, is somebody who specializes in computer intrusions and control in non-conventional manners. I am far from a hacker. While I know concepts and terminology, I will never be a hacker. I am envious of many of their talents, but there are many roles within cybersecurity that still need to be filled outside the traditional jobs.

Different Roles on the Cybersecurity Team

Cybersecurity on a full scale is a team concept, and you need more than hackers to complete the team. I have highlighted a few areas of specialty that may appeal to you depending on your background.

Law, Policy and Compliance

For legal nerds like me, understanding the law, industry standards, and directives, is quite time consuming, which makes it quite enjoyable. It is also critical to a company, either in house or on one end of a customer/client relationship, to understand such things as liability and repercussions, because of not following standards or the law. In order to know how to do that, you must know what standards are in place, whether one is following them, and what happens if you do not follow them. If you haven’t paid attention, almost every industry has their own standards and laws, from healthcare to financial to government contracts. For those interested in working in the cyber-insurance area, understanding policy exclusions and whether the insured is keeping their end of the bargain is critical as well. This takes a currently in demand skill level. More and more industry certifications are popping up in all of the above specialties.

Cyber Forensics

This term is synonymous with digital forensics or computer forensics. While we think of forensics often as a part of criminal investigations, which it is, we also see it as a key to preserving the integrity and reliability of a system. To identify, collect, preserve, and analyze data takes both an investigative skill and great attention to detail. You will need to have a solid understanding of cybersecurity terminology and network defense to jump into this field, and must understand the importance of threat intelligence in full spectrum analysis. The good news is the process of Cyber Forensics is one of the most open source (such as Autopsy) friendly fields out there, so friendly that you can practice with many of the same tools that law enforcement use. You don’t have to develop the tools to be a Cyber Forensics expert, you just need to know what is in your tool box and how to use them. Several certifications are available in Cyber Forensics and multiple online tutorials. If you can take other classes surrounding your Cyber Forensics learning (such as Data and Web security) at a university or technical school, the curve to success will be less steep.

Cybersecurity is a Growing Field

The key is to remember that the jobs within the cybersecurity umbrella continue to expand. You can play a role on the cyber team – even if your background isn’t super technical. Next time, we will look at three more “non-hacking” cybersecurity fields: target network analyst, threat warning analysis, and network defense. As cybersecurity keeps growing, more jobs will continue to be added, so it’s important to stay aware of all the possibilities.

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Joe Jabara, JD, is the Director, of the Hub, For Cyber Education and Awareness, Wichita State University. He also serves as an adjunct faculty at two other universities teaching Intelligence and Cyber Law. Prior to his current job, he served 30 years in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Kansas Air National Guard. His last ten years were spent in command/leadership positions, the bulk of which were at the 184th Intelligence Wing as Vice Commander.