How to get qualified to become a Cybersecurity professional - Top 5 steps
One of the problems faced by professionals in the initial years of cybersecurity career is that they are not able to gain an overall knowledge of cybersecurity as a domain. Work will give you experience but that will not be able to cover all the aspects of the domain. To get an overall knowledge, go for certifications as it will enhance your knowledge base, and can also be a deciding factor in your hiring. There are multiple certifications, each having its own pros and cons.
Below are a few certifications which are worth the buck. Start with CEH if you are a newbie to security or want to enter the domain. Be sure to check the eligibility criteria before you are priced.
EC-Council – CEH, CHFI, LPT
Offensive security – OSCP, OSWP
ISC2 - CISSP
ISACA - CISA
2. Networking with people
Get connected with people who are working in cybersecurity. Try to get connected with WhatsApp groups, Telegram groups, LinkedIn groups, conferences, YouTube subscriptions, blogs, security websites, etc. Getting connected can help you gain insight into the market. They can even help you with technical knowledge and help in understanding the secrets of cybersecurity domain, which otherwise will take some time for you to experience yourself.
3. Know security map
Security is an ocean in itself; you can start from anywhere and once you have your foot in the door, explore and navigate the domain. There are various subdomains which you can choose to master– pen-testing, malware analysis, security auditing, Security operations center, Incident handling, reverse engineering, etc. You are not expected to master all of it but some knowledge of the domains will always be helpful to connect the dots afterward. This is a time taking process, and I would suggest you do not hurry. Choosing a subdomain and working towards it is complex, take time to understand and work your way towards it.
4. Don’t be choosy!
For starters, try to be a “YES MAN” when it comes to working. Gain experience in whatever comes your way. Being very choosy in the first place will not pay off very well later. Try to gain enough experience– even it is operations. Some projects and tasks might seem cheesy but to reach there you need to prove your worth. Freshers are often put into security operations, which might become monotonous after some time but it takes a lot of time to master that as well. A manager who has worked his/her way to the top will be more aware of the lower level complexities.
5. Keep learning
Cybersecurity is like a race and to be in that race you need to keep up the momentum, else you will be outrun soon. Ensure that you read enough and be updated on what is happening in the industry. There is always something new which you need to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Subscribe to various websites which can help you with the news feeds. Keep your eyes and ears open. [A few pointers– The hacker news, ThreatPost, InfoSec research, security weekly]
Career opportunities in cyber-security are readily available and up for grabs, but do you have what it takes to get through and sustain? The article has covered various aspects of what to do, what to learn; but in the end, it all boils down to how you apply the skills. Knowing a tool or a language is just the beginning, use it to excel. Most importantly, know what you are doing and what results are you expecting- document it and report it. Management wants results and the key to success is how easily you are able to sell your work. Management should have a clear idea of what is the risk if a particular action is not taken. So, get deeper insights into issues and solutions and come up with high points– this will give you visibility and a much-needed kick-start.