Dr. Gerald Auger is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences at The Citadel in Charleston and a content creator and founder of simplycyber.io. He really brings information security related content to help IT or information security professionals take their career further, faster. Being a cybersecurity guru of sorts, he also spent sometime supporting DIB as a contractor.

In this episode, he offers tactical tips on how to get a job in the cybersecurity field and how businesses can better align with the current market to fill their cybersecurity roles.

Venturing into the field of cybersecurity with no prior experience might seem daunting at first, but it is entirely feasible with the right approach and dedication. The cybersecurity sector is rapidly expanding, with a growing demand for skilled professionals to protect against increasing cyber threats. This demand creates numerous entry points for aspiring cybersecurity experts, especially in the cleared space.

The first step in transitioning into cybersecurity is to build a solid foundation of knowledge. This can be achieved through self-study, online courses, and certifications. Start with the basics of computer science and networking, then move on to more specialized areas of cybersecurity such as ethical hacking, digital forensics, and cryptography. Certifications like CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) are highly regarded in the industry and can significantly boost your employability. Many of these certifications do not require prior experience, but they do demand a good understanding of the concepts.

Practical experience is crucial, but if you don’t have an employer to give you a chance to gain that experience, how can you get a job? One way is through internships, even if they are unpaid. Another is by setting up your own lab environment at home to practice your skills, participate in online forums, or contribute to open source cybersecurity projects. Engaging in Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions and cybersecurity challenges online can also provide hands-on experience and help you apply what you’ve learned in real-world scenarios.

Networking is another key aspect of breaking into cybersecurity. Attend industry conferences, workshops, and meetups to connect with professionals in the field. These connections can provide valuable insights, advice, and potentially lead to job opportunities.

From an employer standpoint, recruiters should be marketing this exact article to candidates looking to get in the field. Building talent pipelines through education can be a great way to build the candidate pool for an industry that just doesn’t have enough cleared talent. Offering current employees looking to transition into the cybersecurity field through extra hands on hours can be another way to keep upward mobility and professional development for your staff as benefits while filling those hard to staff roles like cyber.

Remember, transitioning into cybersecurity or hiring for cybersecurity missions is a journey that requires patience, persistence, and continuous learning. With the right approach, you can build the skills and experience needed to succeed in this dynamic and rewarding field.

Tune in to Part 2 of our podcast with Gerry in a few weeks! Subscribe here.

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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸