5 Signs You Are Made to Work in Cybersecurity

5 Signs You Are Made to Work in Cybersecurity

We’ve talked about the many reasons why it’s a great moment to get started in cybersecurity. But the truth is while anyone can gain the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to work in cybersecurity, it probably isn’t the right fit for some. Certain personality traits and characteristics will help you perform better and understand if the career interests you. So, have you got what it takes to be successful as a cybersecurity professional?

This article reviews the most common traits found in successful cybersecurity professionals to help you understand if this field is for you.

1- Passionate Learner 

Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field. Hackers are always looking/creating new ways to hack into software and hardware, forcing security professionals to improve their protocols and establish new ones to keep their data safe. A good cybersecurity professional is a continual learner and takes advantage of continuing education courses to stay on top of what’s happening in the field to keep his/her skills up to date.

Not everyone enjoys spending after work hours studying and improving on what they are doing daily. However, the best cybersecurity professionals understand that this is key to stand out from the pack and be successful in their careers 

2- Someone who Plans Ahead 

A cybersecurity plan is only as strong as its weakest link. Anyone who works in the field must understand this. To be a successful professional, you need to be always thinking defensively and for anything and everything that could go wrong when creating a security plan or protocol. With this mindset and approach, you will be able to identify vulnerabilities and patch them.

The trick is that it is not just about planning. At the same time, a great cybersecurity professional is someone that can handle last-minute changes. As we mentioned, hackers are constantly improving their attacks and scams, and as organizations fix old vulnerabilities to their data, products, and services, new ones are created.

3- Enjoys Being Challenged 

Working in cybersecurity means expecting unpleasant surprises any hour of any day. As you learn about vulnerabilities and how to patch and fix them, you will suddenly be challenged by a new problem or a scenario where one threat was to take your attention away from the real threat. Is it stressful? Of course, but it is also a highly satisfying job when you successfully defend against an attack. Anyone who wants to work in cybersecurity must understand that challenges are normal. New ways of attack are always being created, new vulnerabilities are being uncovered, and hackers work 24/7 to win the battle over the good guys.

4- An Individual who Masters Communications 

If you believe that cybersecurity is just about working in front of a computer and having no human interaction, then you have watched far too many Hollywood movies and have no idea of what it really means to work in cybersecurity and to be the “go-to guy.” Cybersecurity professionals need to master their communications skills as they are responsible for teaching security best practices to every department in the organization while also ensuring that protocols are followed. Besides, you will need to create reports for non-technical people, such as the management team, explaining security plans and any threat that might have happened. And you have to have strong customer interfacing skills as you will need to talk and negotiate with vendors. 

In other words, a successful cybersecurity professional is one who can explain (verbally and in writing) technical things to non-technical people. You are a leader, and leaders need to communicate to earn individual trust. The power to communicate and convince will be your secret weapon.

5- The Worker who Handles Pressure 

The cybersecurity professional does not panic under pressure or run away from workplace chaos. A good cybersecurity professional understands that they are responsible for protecting the organization’s assets and that hackers are working around the clock to figure out how to make new orchestrated attacks on information technology structures. Hackers don’t take a day off; they don’t work strictly during office hours.

Cybersecurity is constantly in the news. Every day we are reading about a company or organization getting hacked, a new data breach, and the field’s growing talent gap. The best cybersecurity professionals excel under stress and pressure.

 

Getting Started in Cybersecurity with No Experience

Getting Started in Cybersecurity with No Experience

The cybersecurity talent gap is growing every day. We live in a world that demands trained professionals to take care of every organization’s security needs, especially in the COVID-19 “new normal” way of living.

ISC2 revealed that even before 2020 and its challenges (pandemic, social unrest, economic crisis), cybersecurity professionals stepped up and responded to the new need of securing the already growing number of and demand for remote work and social environments, making the work from home policy safe for an organization from cyber-attacks. This trend has expanded to most companies. However, the skills or talent cannot keep pace to ensure every business and government agency can protect its assets. We are entering the new year with a world-wide talent gap between three and four million open cybersecurity jobs

The cybersecurity market is clearly evident. But how can you get into this field with no experience? Can you get hired without knowledge and training? Where do you need to start? 

How to Get Started in Cybersecurity 

The first thing you need to know is that it is not necessary to get a degree in computer science or cybersecurity. Sure they help, but hiring managers are looking elsewhere for a lot of their needed talent. Anyone with the right mindset, the necessary skills, and the commitment can get educated, trained, and certified to start down this career path. Remember that cybersecurity has many sub-fields that go beyond solving technical problems. Certainly, there are tens of thousands of technical jobs. Still, there are also sub-fields with jobs that are a perfect fit for professionals who have customer interface, people, and communication skills. Plus, hiring managers are looking for individuals looking to get into the cybersecurity fields who are constantly learning about technology and new trends in the field.

The right candidate for cybersecurity is the one who is willing and interested in learning how the technology works. Once you develop a deep understanding of how things work, the technical part (hacking and defending) will easily follow. 

Different programs can help you get started. Our Cybersecurity Bootcamp is a quick pathway to enter the cybersecurity workforce. In six months, you will have access to more than 800  hours of learning content, a world-class curriculum (that includes the fundamentals of computer science, networking, information security, penetration testing, packet analysis, firewalls, and more), hands-on labs, industry-recognized certifications, industry experts as instructors, and the potential for an apprenticeship track program.

Other ways of getting started in cybersecurity include: 

  • Get certified: organizations will require certain certifications when hiring for different roles. The best advice we can give you is to get foundational certifications that are building blocks to launch your career and ensure success: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and Certified Ethical Hacker CEH are the places to start, and CyberWarrior Academy can help you with these.
  • Building a hands-on learning environment: identify the different devices at home connected to your wi-fi and start interacting with them and learn as much as you can from them.
  • Learn from others: you can do searches on YouTube or Google, but don’t stay there. Go further. You want to talk to experts in the field, join online communities, attend conferences (even if they are virtual). 

Cybersecurity is a field that offers different career pathways. Take your time to learn about them and see which one sparks your interest, and then think about which of these matches where you want to be professionally and socially in five to ten years. Thinking it through will be critically helpful when choosing an educational program, certifications, and training. 

Understanding What A Cybersecurity Analyst Actually Do

Understanding What A Cybersecurity Analyst Actually Do

There are a lot of reasons to work in cybersecurity. It is a gratifying job and offers unlimited growth opportunities. Anyone with the right set of skills and training can work in the field.

Many think about working in the field and then quickly dismiss it because they often don’t understand what the work involves. Most people think cybersecurity is a narrow career with few growth opportunities or challenges. The truth is, professionals in this area are widely involved in all areas of a business or agency, and their work impacts the workplace far beyond the IT department.

To increase your workplace and job responsibility awareness, we thought we would take a deeper dive into what a typical day of a cybersecurity analyst looks like, what their goals typically are, and the best places to work (industry and states).  

A Day in the Life of a Cybersecurity Analyst 

A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for protecting a company’s networks and systems from any possible cyber-attack or data breach. The day to day workload of a cybersecurity analyst will vary depending on the industry and size of the business they work in. But in general, these are the main tasks they will be involved in and responsible for:

  1. Monitoring Security Access: to keep their organization safe, they need to be constantly evaluating security best practices, employees’ behaviors online, passwords, badges, log-ins, and others. Among their responsibilities are working with firewalls and security standards.
  2. Executing Security Assessments: they perform vulnerability assessments and risk analysis as part of their ongoing assessments of their security weak spots.  From there, they make necessary changes to keep their networks and systems safe.
  3. Implement or Oversee Security Audits: An internal or external team can perform these audits to have a more detailed understanding of how an organization is doing security controls.
  4. Identifying Security Breaches: beyond being able to detect a security breach or cyber-attack, they are responsible for understanding how it happened and making sure patches are developed to prevent future attacks.
  5. Creating and Updating Disaster Recovery Plans: cybersecurity analysts are responsible for writing what the organization will do to restore their data and information systems after a security breach occurs (cyber-attacks, hardware failure, data leak, ransomware, etc.). The analyst will work with the C-Suite to ensure the executive team understands what went wrong, what fixes are being suggested and why, and ultimately approve the plan. To be sure, customer interface and interpersonal skills are as critical as the technical engineering skills they bring to the job every day.
  6. Working with Vendors: they need to have a trusty relationship with their vendors to ensure their products and services meet regulatory standards. 

The tasks described above give you a better understanding of what a person working in this role has to do daily. This daily routine can be grouped into three main areas1) to keep their organization from any possible attack; 2) to detect and investigate any suspicious activity, and 3) train the entire organization on cybersecurity best practices.

One other thing to keep in mind, security incidents don’t happen strictly during work hours. A cybersecurity analyst needs to know that they will be required to work hours outside a typical 9-to-5 workday. Vendor meetings, working on different investigations, performing security analysis, and other critical tasks can be necessary 24-hours a dayHackers don’t really care whether you are in your office or not. They will attack at any moment, and your technical and engineering skills will be needed to remediate any damage.  

Best Places to Work as a Cybersecurity Analyst 

If you are looking to work as a cybersecurity analyst, you should know there are many work options out there. In the United States, as of January 2021,  there are 2,732 openings on Indeed.com and 6,748 on Glassdoor.comAnd these are only the jobs that have been posted. There are tens of thousands of other jobs that have not been posted because the hiring manager doesn’t know where to look for the necessary talent.  The need for cyber analyst talent is critical.  And companies will pay to meet their needs and find the talent.

According to Zippia.com, the best states to work are: 

  1. New Jersey: it has over 610 jobs, and the average annual salary is $89,605 
  2. Delaware: it has over 50 jobs, and the annual  average salary is $96,660 
  3. New York: it has over 910 jobs, and the annual average salary is $93,059 
  4. Massachusetts: it has over 610 jobs, and the annual average salary is $88,045 
  5. Maryland: it has over 950 jobs, and the annual average salary is $87,689
  6. Virginia: it has over 2080 jobs, and the annual average salary is $81,196
  7. Rhode Island: it has over 70 jobs, and the annual average salary is $78,399
  8. Connecticut: it has over 200 jobs, and the annual average salary is $83,059
  9. Texas: it has over 1,400 jobs, and the annual average salary is $77,948
  10. New Hampshire: it has over 60 jobs, and the annual average salary is $84,762 

Again, these known jobs are just scratching the surface of the total need in these states. 

2020 best states for cybersecurity analyst jobs

So get out there and look at your options. But be careful to choose a company that aligns with what type of environment you want to work in, what industry interests you mostwhat advancement opportunities might existand what professional development opportunities they offer.

Choosing the right cybersecurity pathway

What Cybersecurity Pathway is Right for Me?

Cybersecurity professionals have one main task: protect their organizations from any possible data breach or cyber-attack. As an aspiring cybersecurity professional, you need to be aware that different people in different roles should perform this task, which means different backgroundstraining, and interests.

So before you make up your mind and decide on one training or another to begin your cybersecurity journey, please consider the typical career paths and decide which one fits best your interests and skills. Then you can begin the right training for a successful career.

Common Cybersecurity Career Pathways 

To better understand the many job options in the field, we decided to group them into 3 main categories according to their main function: defend, test, and respond. It is important to note that not every small organization has a separate person in charge of each one of these roles, but the ideal cybersecurity structure has a structure of defined roles. Depending on your area of interest, you will need additional training in specific areas.  Further, though there are consistent foundational certifications that we believe are important, each cyber track will require other certifications to move forward in your career.

Defend 

Professionals in this area of expertise are expected to design, implement, operate, and maintain security controls and make sure there are enough defenses in place to keep their organization safe. On a day to day basis, they must try to predict any possible attack and put up enough barriers to prevent them. At the same time, they must monitor any suspicious activity and detect if any cyber-criminal could pass through the network defenses they created 

Security Architects are the most common role found responsible for the defense of an organization’s assets. As a professional in this area, you will be required to: 

  1. Plan, research, and design durable security architectures for different projects.
  2. Develop requirements for networks, firewalls, routers, and any other network device.
  3. Perform vulnerability testing and security assessments.
  4. Implement security standards and the latest best practices. 

To become a successful Security Architect, you should consider taking accredited security certifications to accelerate your career path and develop the necessary skills for the role.  

  • Entry-level will be asked to have CompTIA Security+.
  • Entry/Intermediate level will usually need Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
  • Advanced roles will need EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA).
  • Experts should get Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). 

According to Cyberseek.org, the annual salary for an experienced Cybersecurity Architect is $131,000, and currently, there are over 6,000 job openings in the United States.  

Test 

One of the most interesting cybersecurity roles is being responsible for testing the security protocols for an organization. People who work in this area must act like a hacker to test controls and find weaknesses in their organizational systems, networks, and applications. They usually simulate real-life cyber-attacks to identify those weak spots before an attacker does

Penetration Testers or Ethical Hackers are the most common roles in this area. When working in these jobs, you will be expected to:

  1. Perform penetration tests on all network systems for an organization.
  2. Find security weaknesses.
  3. Research, document, and discuss with the management team their findings.
  4. Design new ways to test for security holes.

To succeed as a Penetration Tester, you will need to take different certifications and courses specializing in ethical hacking practices, operating systems, software, and network protocols.  

  • Entry-level will be asked to have CompTIA Security+.
  • Entry/Intermediate level should have Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
  • Advanced roles will need EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) and CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP).
  • Experts should get Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Currently, there are over 13,600 job openings for this role in the United States. When achieving an advanced position, you can expect to earn an estimated $104,000.

Respond 

We’ve now gone over the people who are in charge of creating and implementing security controls and those who are there to test them. But what about when these controls and protocols fail? Who is there to act quickly to fix the breach? Cybersecurity responders.

These individuals are on the front lines when all security systems fail to prevent attackers from coming in. They are responsible for creating and implementing disaster recovery plans to get systems and software back on track.

One of the most common roles at this level of responsibility is the Incident Responder. If you are considering applying for this type of job, you should have a strong skill set to:

  1. Determine and evaluate cyber threats.
  2. Avoid escalation of serious security threats.
  3. Provide reports to the security team of your organization.
  4. Minimize the impact of a security breach on the organization’s network or systems.
  5. Analyze the organization’s network to make sure it is clear of potential threats.

To become a successful Responder, you should consider taking the following certifications:

  • Entry-level will be asked to have CompTIA Security+.
  • Entry/Intermediate level should have Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
  • Advanced roles will need Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
  • Experts should get Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) 

At this moment, there are over 7,400 job openings for this role in the United States. If you are considering this specific career path, you can expect an average annual salary of $85,000.

Choosing the right cybersecurity pathway depends on you, your skills, interests, and capabilities. Keep in mind that the more training and experience you get, the easier it will be to advance further into your career and adapt to your employer’s always-changing needs.

COVID: A Surge in Cybersecurity Jobs

COVID-19: A Surge in Cybersecurity Jobs

When we look back at 2020, we can summarize it in one phraseRemote work revolution. This year we’ve seen a “new normal” takes place. We shop, socialize, study, and work differently. We were used to spending 8 or 10 hours a day in the office, where the internet connection, systems, and software have passed a series of security actions that made it harder (though clearly not hard enough) for hackers to penetrate. Now we are working from home with many fewer cybersecurity best practices being followed. That represents a high-security risk for organizations, and the need to fill cybersecurity jobs is even higher.

COVID-19 and the newfound remote workforce have introduced a rise in cyber-attacks. Companies of all sizes and the federal government and organizations across the NGO community are scrambling for ways to protect their data and even their reputation. Clearly, hundreds of organizations are looking to hire additional cybersecurity professionals trained to meet this new cyber threatThis is on top of an already significant existing demand for cybersecurity talent.

The challenge is that the amount of talent necessary to fill the current cybersecurity jobs does not exist.

To give you a better idea of the cybersecurity threat level over the past year, in August, the FBI reported an increase of 400% on the daily average reports of cyberattacks, meaning that there were over 4,000 reported attacks on an average day just in the United States. Microsoft revealed that COVID-19 themed phishing and social engineering attacks had spiked 50% from 20,000 to 30,000 per day in the country. Hackers are taking advantage of people using insecure connections to break into an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Just this week, the news reported a cyber-attack at SolarWinds, an IT software management firm and service provider. The attack compromised different US government departments and agencies as well as private companies, including Microsoft.

The past few months clearly demonstrate that cybercriminals outnumber cybersecurity professionals. In fact, ISC2 reported that by 2019 2.8 million professionals were working in the field, leaving a talent gap of four million. COVID-19 hit the world hard on so many horrific levels. Organizations are prioritizing their security needs and looking for candidates to defend them properly.

If you are considering a career switch or just starting your career in cybersecurity jobs, there isn’t be a better time to do it. In the United States, the estimated employed cybersecurity workforce is 941,904, and there are over 521,600 job openings. That is an eye-popping number of job openings that must be filled sooner rather than later.

The states that have the most job openings are California (+66,700), Virginia (+58,600), Texas (+47,200), Florida (+23,700) and New York (+23,200). Organizations are mainly looking for candidates to fill positions as information security analysts, cybersecurity analysts, and engineers. This means only one thing: companies are looking to hire talent to help create a more secure work environment and protect themselves from any possible cyber-attack and data breaches. We need the talent to fill this demand.

In the cybersecurity field, hiring is a challenge because of this talent gap. Businesses in all sectors are closing or laying off employees, so more cyber workers have become available to get the necessary training that has significant job security. Not only are the jobs there, but they can also potentially be remote, so workers can often have options for where they choose to live.

Statistics don’t lie. There is a demand for cybersecurity professionals, and there are record numbers of people out of work. That is a formula that can help with cyber defenses and with family economic stability.

Understanding The Most Common Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs

Cybersecurity is a fresh and rapidly evolving field. A career started today literally has no limits. When deciding to switch careers to cybersecurity jobs or to begin your professional life in this field, you need to understand the different careers pathways.  You want to match different career tracks to your interests, skills and goals in order to get the right training, gain the most knowledge and experience and develop the appropriate and critical professional networks.

At CyberWarrior Academy we want to help you understand the options you have in the field. For those entering the field there are typically three  common entry-level jobs in cybersecurity, their daily tasks, estimated salaries, the skills needed to be successful, and which states have the most job openings.  

Understanding The Most Common Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs

Most Common Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs 

Junior Penetration Tester

Average salary in the US $67,550 

Also known as a “white hat hacker” or a “good hacker”, the goal of this role is to help improve the security of a computer network. A penetration tester is constantly trying to defeat their company’s security control to test how effective their defense systems are, and find out their weak spots.

Some of the most common tasks performed by this role are:  

  1. Conduct IT/Cybersecurity assessments and penetration tests.
  2. Document findings for management and technical staff and recommend actions to mitigate the risks found.
  3. Search for vulnerabilities in network devices, applications, and operating systems.

As a Penetration Tester you need to master different skills that will help you perform and deliver better results. On the technical side you should have a deep knowledge of exploits and vulnerabilities, understand scripting and coding, have advanced knowledge of the operating system you will be working with, and understand networking and network protocols such as TCP/IP, UDP, ARP, DNS, and DHCP.

In the soft skills side you need to have a great desire to learn, master working as part of a team, be able to communicate to nontechnical people and have strong writing skills to present easy to understand reports and recommendations to mitigate risks. You will also need strong customer interfacing skills.

If you are on the look for jobs in this area, you might want to consider the top paying cities: Washington DC, Seattle WA, Chicago IL, and Atlanta GA.

Information Security Analyst 

Average salary in the US $59,668 

A security analyst’s main goals are to identify weaknesses in a network’s security systems, to patch and respond to issues, and to prevent future incidents from happening. A person in this role helps their organization to have better systems to protect their customers data, their assets and their reputation.

The most common tasks you could perform when working as entry-level information security analyst handles are: 

  1. To document, prioritize and analyze security threats and incidents.
  2. Review data on a daily basis to identify, report, and remediate any possible vulnerability.
  3. Configure security tools and software.
  4. To be the link between IT and end users to guarantee best practices are taking place and minimize disruptions.

There are certain skills that can ease the work for a security analyst. The technical skills that will help the most are to be able to gain knowledge and experience in different systems and networks, to be able to understand and work with computer scripts, to understand how to prevent and block cyberattacks, and to be able to work with any operating system. While on the soft skills side we highlight that a great candidate must have a strong critical thinking, be able to work with a team, have great verbal and written communications, and have the willingness to be constantly learning.

When considering this job for you make sure you take a look at options in the cities that offer the top paying salaries: Washington DC, New York NY, Dallas TX, Boston MA, and Atlanta GA.

Network and Computer System Administrator 

Average salary in the US $50,593

A person in this job is responsible for maintaining the technological systems of an organization. He/she will be the one in charge of installing, configuring and maintaining the operating system in place, any applications, and any other system, as well as troubleshooting problems that could happen with hardware and software 

On a regular basis, a network and computer system admin, will: 

  1. Supervise the correctly functioning of networks and computers in the organization they work.
  2. Organize, install and support an organization’s computer system.
  3. Support any data communication systems such as LANs, WLANs, intranets, network segments.
  4. Quickly arrange or repair hardware in case of a failure.
  5. Evaluate and optimize network or systems performance.
  6. Train users in best practices for the use of hardware and software.

Anyone looking to get a job as a system administrator should be flexible in their routine, work schedule and way of work, must be able to manage multiple tasks at the same time, have amazing troubleshooting skills, as well as to be able to communicate (verbal and written) technical matters to non-technical people.

San Jose CA, Baltimore MD, San Francisco CA, Bridgeport-CT are the top cities for this role.

And remember, your career pathway will be determined by every action, certification and training you get.