Opportunities in Cybersecurity

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

Eva Yu started 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 based in the offices of Fortinet in Burnaby, BC.

The transition from college to a graduate career often carries a lot of fear and uncertainty, especially when entering a technical and enigmatic industry like 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 skills needed to succeed in this field.

Myths and Concepts

I felt restrained by the myths and misconceptions surrounding the cyber security industry and the types of jobs I thought were available to recent graduates. But as I learned more about the field, I found that it was actually very welcoming to new graduates. In addition, there continues to be a growing demand for talent and a lack of career opportunities regardless of your background or education.

In my experience, the most important asset in cybersecurity is a willingness and desire to learn, not just about technology, but in general. Along with a genuine interest, the field will teach the "hard skills" over time, but softer skills such as leadership, interpersonal communication, ethics, and human resources are highly valued and an asset to candidates entering the field.

Career Tips in Cyber Security

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

You are not limited by your training or education

As you look at building your career in cybersecurity after graduation, remember that you are not limited by your background 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 both technology and non-technology backgrounds. If you are starting out with a background in technology, roles such as security engineer, cryptographer, virus technician and more may be a good fit. Starting from a non-tech background? With some training, you can take on roles like network administrator or cyber policy analyst, which you may have thought were out of reach. There are also a variety of less technical or cybersecurity roles, 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 your 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 field. This will help you set goals, both short and long term, and narrow down the jobs you are most interested in.

Never stop learning

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

Look at the requirements for the positions you are interested in and work on developing those skills so you can add them to your resume. Employers like to see that a candidate has the desire to pursue professional development opportunities and learn more about the technical side of cyber security.

This doesn't have to be a big commitment either! There is no shortage of free and open educational resources for people who want to take the first step. In fact, the 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 industry offers many ways to get out into the field and connect. A search on social media or LinkedIn will reveal many common interest groups and local community gatherings to take advantage of. If you are still in school, you can also look for opportunities to connect with your school's network of alumni and professionals. Don't be afraid to contact 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 decrease any misconceptions you may have.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone interested in pursuing the cybersecurity industry is: don't be afraid to apply! 

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 background or education and can bring something unique and special to any role!

Original article at the link: ftnt.me/188BA0

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