Cybersecurity Opportunities

Growing demand in cybersecurity offers a wealth of opportunities for new graduates

Eva Yu started out as an antivirus analyst and is now a data scientist at Fortinet, a global cybersecurity company based in California. She graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2017 and is headquartered in the offices of Fortinet in Burnaby, BC.

The transition from university to a postgraduate career often carries a lot of fear and uncertainty, especially when entering a technical and enigmatic sector such as cybersecurity. When deciding which career to pursue after graduation, I knew that cybersecurity intrigued me, but I wasn't sure if I had the right background or the skills needed to succeed in this field.

Myths and Concepts

I felt contained by the myths and misconceptions that surrounded the cybersecurity industry and the types of jobs that I thought were available to recent graduates. But as I learned more about the field, I found that it was really very welcoming for recent graduates. In addition, there is still a growing demand for talent and a lack of career opportunities, regardless of education or training.

In my experience, the most important asset in cybersecurity is the willingness and desire to learn, not just about technology, but in general. Coupled with genuine interest, the field will teach “difficult skills” over time, but more lenient skills, such as leadership, interpersonal communication, ethics and human resources, are highly valued and an asset for candidates entering the field.

Cyber Security Career Tips

So, if you are interested or just curious about a career in cybersecurity - here are some tips for making the transition to industry post-university:

You are not limited by your training or education

When looking at building your cybersecurity career after graduation, remember that you are not limited by your training or education. Soft skills, such as leadership, collaboration, interpersonal communication and more, are highly valued and can be just as important as being a technology expert.

There are many options and career opportunities in cybersecurity for people with a background in technology and non-technology. If you're starting out with a tech background, functions like a security engineer, encryption, virus technician and more can be a good option. Starting from a non-technological background? With some training, you can take on roles as a network administrator or cyber policy analyst, who you might think were out of reach. There are also a variety of less technical or cybersecurity functions, such as marketing, human resources, finance and more.

Choose a path

Cybersecurity is a broad field, so when you want to enter the industry, it is important to do the research and decide which area you want to focus on. Find out what fundamental skills you will need for an entry-level position in this area. This will help you to set goals, in the short and long term, and to restrict the jobs you are most interested in.

Never stop learning

In parallel, while looking for a job, even beyond graduation, it can be extremely valuable to obtain additional certifications and hone your skills.

Observe the requirements for the positions you are interested in and work on developing these skills to be able to add them to your resume. Employers like to see that a candidate has a desire to pursue professional development opportunities and learn more about the technical side of cybersecurity.

This also doesn't have to be a big commitment! There is no shortage of free and open educational resources for people who want to take the first step. In fact, Fortinet offers many useful courses that people in sales, product management or customer support can take at their own pace to gain basic knowledge in the field.

Take advantage of networking opportunities

If you don't already have a network of cybersecurity professionals, don't worry! The sector offers many ways to enter the field and connect. Searching on social media or LinkedIn will reveal many common interest groups and local community gatherings to take advantage of. If you're still in school, you can also look for opportunities to connect to your school's alumni and professionals network. Don't be afraid to get in touch and engage with guest speakers or potential employers at job fairs. Connecting with people in the industry and asking questions can help open doors and lessen any misconceptions you may have.

My biggest advice for anyone interested in following the cybersecurity industry is: don't be afraid to sign up! 

Cybersecurity is a thriving industry, with a wide variety of career options available to suit a variety of skills; remember that you are not limited by your training or education and can bring something unique and special to any job!

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