Cyber security attack newspaper headline

How to Become a Cyber Security Expert?

Not sure how to break into the lucrative field of cyber security? We explain what it takes, from education and certifications to personality traits. Learn, how to become a cyber security expert.

Cyber security experts are essential for today’s digital economy.

They protect organizations from data breaches and attacks. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing at a breakneck speed, so get yourself some expertise! Job postings for cybersecurity positions have grown three times faster than openings for IT jobs overall. This will keep you secure while you fight the good fight against cybercriminals every day.

In the article bellow, I describe how to become a cyber security expert, which skills do you need and which courses you should take.

Is there demand for security consultants?

If you’re looking to start your own business in this new field, now’s the time! Job postings for cybersecurity positions have grown three times faster than openings for IT jobs overall. And they’re willing to pay top dollar, so if you’ve got what it takes, there’s plenty of opportunities to choose from. It seems that millenials are not that interested and that gap between demand and supply will even increase.

According to Mordor Intelligence, cybersecurity market was valued at USD 156.24 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach USD 352.25 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 14.5% during 2021-2026. According to Indeed, there are 29,125 jobs currently available for cyber security positions.

Is cyber security a good career?

Cyber Security
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There are many reasons why cyber security roles are good career choice, including: 

  • Cybersecurity consultants are in high demand right now and will continue to be in high demand.  
  • People with cyber security experience typically make six figures, which is competitive with other high-demand professions . In fact, cyber security experts are one of best paying IT careers.
  • Careers can be either full time or part time and allow flexibility of location.
  • You can work for government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

Should I Choose Career in Cyber Security or Software Development?

While the skills are different, there is not much of a difference in experience due to software developers having to learn new languages that work with the platforms they use. The cybersecurity expert has a wider range of skills and knows how to do things like network analysis. 

Starting with web development is a good idea. It’s a very broad field that you can learn the most in (as opposed to cybersecurity) and you’ll be able to get paid sooner. You can always switch after learning more about both fields if it seems fitting. Security systems are made using regular programming languages, so it doesn’t matter when you are cutting code as long as your goal is the same. Cyber Security Consultant work involves building a puzzle for an unknown opponent that may or may not exist, while web development involves creating something for companies that want to use it right away or need another version of whatever you are building. Being in security will give you more job security in the long run since your specialty could be needed anytime by either company clients or the government.

If you are already a programmer, then I would recommend becoming cybersecurity specialist. The learning curve is not as steep as with web development. There are plenty of job opportunities and median salary is higher.

What skills are required for cybersecurity career?

Skill requirements vary based on the positions that a cybersecurity worker takes on. In general, the most basic skill required to work in cybersecurity is computer knowledge. The rest of the skills needed for cybersecurity vary by position and company. Generally, penetration testers are supposed to have a background in computer science, mathematics or information technology. Risk analysts who work in IT should have degrees related to management information systems with experience with IT systems analysis and data mining tools. Security assessment professionals  require experience with software development and/or software testing methods as well as project management skills. They also need to have soft skills to communicate with co-workers to detect threats, potential security incidents, non-compliance, and increase awareness of social engineering. 

Cybersecurity careers begin with general IT experience

Student learning how to become a cyber security expert.
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There are many ways to start a career in cybersecurity. The most common way is to have a related IT degree or certificate, which can be obtained at any one of the many colleges and universities that offer this type of coursework. Other cybersecurity professionals may enter the field through enlistment in the military. Relevant work experience a plus for cybersecurity jobs.

Some of the most sought-after cybersecurity positions are those that require some previous work experience in related fields, such as information technology or networking. Those who hold several years of work experience are more likely to be hired than those with little to no previous experience. Another factor that will help job seekers find a job is membership in professional associations and certification from an accredited source.

What Are Information Security Analyst?

Information security analyst is entry level cyber security career. They are responsible for implementing corporate security polices. They need to speak with all user to make sure, that they fulfill all compliance requests in order to ensure computer and network security for the company.

What Security Architects Do?

Security architects are in charge of designing and implementing networks, computer systems and software security. They consider their own skills and the abilities of the systems they design when building the infrastructure. Security architects also need to ensure that their work with each project is constructed correctly.

Security architects usually have advanced degrees in computer science or a related field. They should also have a working knowledge of the protocols and capabilities of network equipment, such as routers, switches and firewalls, and must be able to adapt to new technologies quickly.

Security architects usually need to understand how software is constructed, and should focus on the entire system’s infrastructure. They are responsible for the security of networks and information systems that run across an organization’s physical assets. They need to lead security team of different security professionals. They need plenty of relevant experience. According to Zippia, average salary for security architects in the United States is $110,544 per year.

What are Best Certifications for Cyber Security Specialists?

If you want to break in cybersecurity, you should consider getting one of:

  • CompTIA Security+ or
  • Cisco CCNA.

You may continue your certification by taking one of following:

  • CompTIA CySA+,
  • CompTIA CASP+ or
  • CompTIA PenTest+

CompTIA Security+ is the first cybersecurity certification that candidates should earn. The curriculum for this course will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a cybersecurity role. By completing the coursework, you’ll be able to move on to intermediate certifications.

PenTest+ is the penetration testing exam taken at a Pearson VUE testing center with both hands-on, performance-based questions and multiple-choice, to ensure each candidate possesses the skills, knowledge, and ability to perform tasks on systems. PenTest+ exam also includes management skills used to plan, scope, and manage weaknesses not just exploit them.

PenTest+ is a certification for ethical hacking professionals who are looking to demonstrate their knowledge and hands-on ability in the latest attack vectors. Candidates are required to know how to test devices in new environments, such as the cloud and mobile, alongside traditional desktops and servers.

CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) is a performance-based certification that applies behavioral analytics to networks and devices to prevent, detect, and combat cybersecurity threats through continuous security monitoring. 

Why is it different? CompTIA CySA+ is the only intermediate high-stakes cybersecurity professional certification with both hands-on, performance-based questions and multiple choice questions. CySA+ focuses on the candidates ability to not only proactively capture, monitor, and respond to network traffic findings but also emphasizes software and application security, automation, threat hunting, IT regulatory compliance which affects the daily work of a Security Analyst. CySA+ covers the most up-to date core cybersecurity analyst skills and upcoming job skills used by threat intelligence analysts, application security analysts, compliance analysts, incident responders/handlers, and threat hunters bringing new techniques for combating threats inside and outside of the Security Operations Center (SOC).

CompTIA CySA+ focuses on the candidates ability to not only proactively capture, monitor, and respond to network traffic findings but also emphasizes software and application security , automation , threat hunting, IT regulatory compliance.

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) is the ideal certification for technical professionals who wish to remain immersed in technology, as opposed to strictly managing. The CASP+ exam covers the following:

Enterprise security domain expanded to include security measures, operations and architecture concepts, techniques and requirements. More emphas is on analyzing risk through interpreting trend data and anticipating cyber defense needs to meet business goals. Expanding security control topics to include mobile and small-form factor devices, as well as software vulnerability. Broader coverage of integrating cloud and virtualization technologies into a secure enterprise architecture. Inclusion of implementing cryptographic techniques, such as blockchain, cryptocurrency and mobile device encryption 

The IT security fundamentals focus on Learning Objectives that enable practitioners to better understand the concepts, principles, processes and procedures related to IT Security. The candidate will be able to implement these concepts in their organization or in the course of their day-to-day work. 

What is penetration test?

You might have top-notch security, but there is always a chance that someone could breach it if they want to.

Penetration testing is the practice of simulating a potential attack on your system in order to identify vulnerabilities before an attacker attempts to exploit them. This process can help you better understand how hackers work and what you need to do in order to protect your business from intruders.

By practicing penetration testing regularly, businesses can reduce the risk of data breaches and costly fixes by uncovering security weaknesses before they become an issue. It’s important that when companies schedule penetration tests they’re done by people who are aware of cutting-edge hacking techniques as well as network and system weaknesses that might not be obvious to the business itself.

From application testing to social engineering, open-source intelligence and vulnerability assessments, a multitude of options are available for penetration testing. How you perform the testing is up to you, but the experts say that regular penetration testing should be part of your company’s overall security strategy.

What is the Difference Between Red Team and Blue Team?

The difference between red team and blue team can be seen as following:

  • Red team work to exploit a system’s vulnerabilities while
  • Blue team find vulnerabilities before the attackers do.

Both teams need knowledge of their enemy, but each approaches it differently designed to get them into a different position in order to win.

How long does it take to become a cyber security expert?

After earning your bachelor’s degree, you should pursue further education. You may take cybersecurity boot camp, appropriate masters program or pursue appropriate certification listed above. You should expect to spend between 2 and 4 years to break into the industry. That depends upon your level of engagement and available time, for example are you working full or part-time.

Your Plan for How to Become a Cyber Security Expert:

1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology
2. Get a Masters or Certification in Cyber Security
3. Get Experience with Penetration Testing and Demonstrate a Wealth of Know-How

You may expect great career path, good salary, plenty of challenges and generous offers.