How to Get Into Cybersecurity With No Experience?
Look at your current background and job role
Are you made for a cybersecurity position? Most people who go into this field have a level of passion to protect an organization from cyberattacks. Does your personality match this IT role? These are great questions to ask yourself when beginning a career in cybersecurity. This career path will require continuous learning and staying ahead of cybercriminals with changes in technology.
Here are some questions people ask when they consider going into cybersecurity:
- Do I have any IT related certifications? Are the certifications up-to-date?
- Do I have a security clearance?
- Does your past IT experience match work well with an entry-level job role as a junior cybersecurity specialist?
Although it will help, it’s not required to have previous experience in the field to qualify for an entry-level junior cybersecurity position. We had students who started with no IT experience and obtained a high paying job in cybersecurity. Having a degree in cybersecurity or IT is not required as well. You just need to focus on the training courses below and have the right mindset to move forward in a career in cybersecurity.
IT Training Courses and Certifications For People With No Experience
You have to consider that the United States Government requires a CompTIA Security + Training Course leading to certification when considering applicants. This course is a great foundation course in cybersecurity for any student starting a new career. The other common certifications include CompTIA CySA+ Training Course and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Training Course.
IT-specific job roles that you previously had help you land an entry-level position. Having three to five years of IT-related experience will help in landing a job. Having a solid foundation in both infrastructure and development could place you on the right side of the application board. These foundational certifications are made available to Intellectual Point students as well.
The following would be great additions to your resume:
- Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) Training Course in Security
- CompTIA Linux+ Training Course
- Python Fundamentals Training Course
We had students who received an entry-level IT job just by completing and passing three certifications. They understood the material and went through the practice scenarios in the cyber labs, and used the Rapid Simulations. Hiring managers not only look at your certifications but also look for your ability to be coachable. Your passion for cybersecurity, and willingness to learn more also plays a factor in the hiring decision. If you possess those attributes, then you will make their decision easier.
Network and Use LinkedIn
Start networking with other cybersecurity professionals. These colleagues know who is getting hired and who is moving on to another position. One good contact can result in your next cybersecurity position. Locations in Northern Virginia and Silicon Valley are the driving hub for cybersecurity-related positions. You must get your name out there and look for an opening.
Think Outside the Box
Critical thinking is essential. Think outside of the box. Think like the hacker, the cybercriminal. Find ways to open vulnerabilities by thinking outside of the box. Cyber warriors must question everything, and make use of tools made available to them. How does the technology work? A cyber warrior must have a good foundation of how each piece of technology works. How do networks and cloud computing work? How can I make the technology work in a way that it is not designed? Analyze and understand technologies, policies, applications, and people who use them. When you discover a vulnerability or weakness in the system, then you have to determine the best course of action to reach a solution to protect the environment.
Keep a Close Eye on These Technologies
- Internet of Things (IoT). Know how these devices can be hacked and find the vulnerabilities. The weakest link defines the strength of network security and often times this weak link lies within an Internet of Things connected device. Have a foundational understanding of this technology. Yes, a security breach can happen through a smart light bulb.
- The Cloud – As many organizations, including the Federal Government, are moving to the cloud, they are finding that these cloud-based systems can also be hacked. From data breaches to hijacking accounts. These cloud-based systems are open to cyberattacks that could cost companies millions of dollars. It can cause an entire organization to go under as we experienced in various data breaches in history. Pay attention to what is happening in those technologies to have a competitive edge in the market.
- Encryption technology – Financial firms, credit card companies, government agencies, and private companies of all sizes need the skills of cybersecurity specialists to keep their networks hacker-proof. Know how this technology advances to do just that.
- Deep learning including AI and Machine Learning – These technologies are rapidly changing. AI can also be used to detect threats and other potentially malicious activities. Cybersecurity companies are teaching AI systems to detect viruses and malware by using complex algorithms so AI can then run pattern recognition in software.
Salaries to Expect In Entry Level Position
Yes, it all depends. The important concept is to get your foot in the door when looking for an entry-level position. As one student Shivani stated, 6 months of experience is all you need. The average salary to expect is $67,596 to $90,275 a year in the United States. Yes, the salary could be $40,000 a year for some people to start, and even work as an unpaid intern. Just accept that you need the certifications and the experience to be on your way toward a high paying job.