Aiming for a career in cybersecurity? Now is the time to pick up new skills
By Zeljka Zorz
The COVID-19 pandemic took most of us by surprise. Widespread shelter-in-place mandates changed how we work (and whether we can work), play, rest, shop, communicate and learn. It changed things for businesses as well. Some were not ready to meet the challenge and closed up shop,
many others were forced to hastily start or speed up their company’s existing digital transformation efforts and prepare for the majority of their workforce to be working from home – something that seemed impossible (or simply very, very unlikely) just months before.
Time for change
In times of upheaval, it becomes easier to imagine and enact change. Unfortunately, the speed at which all these changes happened has meant that cybersecurity has become less important than productivity (meaning: even less important than it was before). But this downgrade won’t and can’t last long. With cyber attackers increasingly taking advantage of the many new attack surfaces – unsecured devices, databases, cloud assets, remote access and other accounts – organizations are now furiously trying to close as many security holes as soon as possible.
Employed cybersecurity professionals have been having a tough time during the last few months, trying to keep company assets and networks out of the hands of attackers while having to suddenly support more remote workers that ever before. The required security measures are known and advice for achieving remote work security is easy to get, but implementing it all takes time and effort. Even before the advent of COVID-19, organizations had trouble filling all the cybersecurity positions they opened – and their needs have surely intensified in the last few months.
Gunning for a career in cybersecurity
Cybersecurity professionals and other technology professionals are using eLearning and online trainings to pick up new skills, but as the demand for cybersecurity personnel increases and the availability of paid positions widens (when in many other economic sectors is dwindling), many tech-savvy individuals are wondering: “Do I have what it takes to enter and thrive in the cybersecurity arena?”
A recent Skillsoft report says that networking and operating systems, security and programming training are in the highest demand among technology and developer professionals, and that security certification prep courses are up by 58 percent YoY.
While people already working in IT definitely have a leg up on other aspiring candidates since every role within IT has a cybersecurity aspect, certifications such as the (ISC)² Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) can help with cybersecurity knowledge acquisition and demonstrate the person’s suitability for entering the cybersecurity field.
But even recent college graduates without a deep technical background and military veterans can have a bright future in cybersecurity – if they know how to go about breaking into the field. The tools are there for those who want to use them.