By Janoi Watson
Establishing the path in cybersecurity you’d like to take, somewhat makes your job search easier. Each role requires a different skillset, as a result of this you must consider what skills you have that correlate with the roles you are most interested in. Cybersecurity is a fast-moving and constantly evolving market, with new threats and challenges frequently presenting themselves therefore it is important to keep up to date with the field and your skills.
Being completely self-aware and transparent is extremely important when searching for a job. This allows you to analyse possible traits and aspects of you that may need improvement. Management roles may need you to consider the status of your business communication skills, are they resilient and adaptable enough? If not, then this is an area to improve. This way you are more likely to take actions that can challenge you and help you develop your skills. It opens the door to new possibilities, experiences and growth. Within cybersecurity it is common to move into leadership roles in under 5 years, this comes from the drive and passion these individuals have, alongside the ability to communicate technically to nontechnical peers. If you are unsure about your strengths, seek out feedback from your manager and individuals you work with often, and take their advice on how you may be able to improve.
Regarding management roles, you should consider how resilient your business communication skills are and if necessary, work on them. Management skills must also be a skill that is consistently worked upon, inevitably, rising the career ladder within a cybersecurity role will eventually lead one to a managerial role. Succeeding in this requires candidates that are as good with people as they are with code.
Many companies prefer candidates to show that they can communicate diplomatically to departments or individuals within the organisation that may not see IT security in the same way as they do. To succeed in your cybersecurity career, you must be able to think innovatively and develop new approaches and strategies.
For technical roles, communication skills can be much less imperative. Technical skills, interest and training are most important. Experience is usually the most important thing, but qualifications can help with several career moves. Penetration testers who want to jump to the next salary bracket can benefit from an industry recognized qualification (offensive security certified professional (OSCP) being the most valued currently). A certified information systems security professional (CISSP) or certified information security manager (CISM) can help security analysts looking to move into a more senior role. Obtaining an entry-level qualification, such as a certified ethical hacker (CEH) for pen testers, can assist in demonstrating your commitment to starting your cybersecurity career.
Cybersecurity is one of the most stimulating career paths to be involved in, especially right now and it has never been easier to make a change within your skillset to fit your desired role. Whilst some of these skills can be learnt, other skills some individuals will either have or not have. Whilst there is a wide range of roles and careers to be found in the cybersecurity industry, there are some common skills that will put you in good stead for getting your foot in the door and landing that first job.
Good time management and organisational skills are also a must within the cybersecurity sector, as is the ability to work autonomously. Even the most junior of cybersecurity roles will involve taking on many responsibilities that require meeting deadlines, amongst a long list of other duties.
To summarise, it is important to gain self-awareness and understanding to develop your skills or to even learn new skills in order to push yourself towards your dream job role.