*Updated: Additional resources have been added to give our readers further material.
The cybersecurity industry is hiring. In November 2018, The New York Times reported that a total of 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs would be available but go unfilled by 2021. This employment gap increased in the year that followed. (ISC)2 estimated at the end of 2019 that it would take 4.07 million trained professionals to fill all available cybersecurity positions—a 62% increase of the global cybersecurity workforce. Things improved in 2020 when (ISC)2 learned that 700,000 professionals had joined the industry. Even so, 3.12 million cybersecurity positions remained open at the end of last year.
Clearly, infosec professionals are in hot demand. Anyone who’s looking for a job in cybersecurity could potentially have their pick of jobs at different companies in various sectors located around the world. They just need to have the proper training.
This raises an important question: how can someone with no technical experience get started in the cybersecurity industry?
There’s no single answer. No two cybersecurity professionals have the same origins story, as we learned over the course of compiling our recent eBook, Diversity in Cybersecurity. Each and every individual who’s forged a career in the industry has done so in a way that’s unique to them, which means there are all sorts of ways for people to enter the field.
Whether you’re fresh out of university or looking for a career change, you can find a way into the cybersecurity industry. Below are some resources that you can use to get started.
Cisco Networking Academy
In 2020, 2.31 million students enrolled for in-person training through Cisco’s Networking Academy at one of the provider’s 11,800 locations globally. Countless others participated in online courses on the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, Linux and other topics. Those offerings are aligned with internationally recognized certifications to help students transform their lives and careers. Learners who want to kickstart their cybersecurity career can take advantage of the free self-paced cybersecurity learning pathway on Skills For All or the instructor-led courses on NetAcad.com.
Security professionals from Cisco, the U.S. Army and other entities have taken trainings provided by Offensive Security, including courses in penetration testing, web application and exploit development that align with industry-leading certifications. Additionally, security professionals can use Offensive Security’s Proving Grounds (PG) to practice their penetration testing skills.
Individuals looking to develop their cybersecurity and IT skills obtain several tiers of training through Cybrary. With a free account, individuals can gain limited access to a variety of course topics, including ethical hacking and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification. They can explore even more topics by upgrading to a Cybrary Insider Pro account or by participating as part of a Teams Essentials plan.
The Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework)
For those looking to get started in the cybersecurity field, they need to know what job opportunities are available to them. The Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework) is a very helpful tool for this. The Framework provides a detailed overview of cybersecurity jobs including the knowledge, skills and abilities that candidates need in order to fulfill their work functions.
SANS’ Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Cybersecurity (ACS)
Anyone who’s serious about getting started in cybersecurity but lacks technical expertise can enroll in SANS’ ACS program. This two-year certificate program comes with a 100% online option that will give serious students who are looking to enter the industry all the skills that matter most to potential employers.
Many different learning opportunities and training offerings are available through EC-Council. Those looking for targeted education can enroll in specialized programs, including computer forensics, encryption and incident handling. Others who want a broader introduction to the field of cybersecurity can enroll in one of the three programs offered by EC-Council.
Codecademy’s “Intro to Cybersecurity”
PBS’ Cybersecurity Lab
PBS offers a number of resources to help interested parties learn more about cybersecurity. Its Cybersecurity Lab gives players the ability to learn about defending an organization against digital attackers by completing a series of cybersecurity challenges. Individuals can also explore PBS’ cyber-related quizzes, interviews with cybersecurity experts and cybersecurity-themed video series.
Another way for individuals to find their way into the cybersecurity community is to attend an industry conference. One of the best events for them to start is a BSides conference in their local city. These events tend to be less formal – and more affordable – than some of the other annual conferences like RSA and Black Hat. This format gives attendees the opportunity to understand breaking topics in the industry, while networking with peers.
The Cyber Security & Information Systems Information Analysis Center (CSIAC)
At its best, cybersecurity is a community through which defenders, academics and government officials work together to stay on top of the latest cyber threats. Individuals can connect with these learned experts by participating in discussions on the Cyber Security & Information Systems Information Analysis Center (CSIAC) online forum.
Cisco Security Certifications
Cisco certifications empower you to understand real-world security issues and address them quickly and effectively. Get started on the path to certification success and enjoy your personal and professional journey. Explore Cisco Security training and certification.
Here at Cisco, we’re committed to empowering the world to reach its full potential, securely. To make this happen, our best-in-class security teams are growing! Come help us build the future and make the world a more secure place. Visit http://cs.co/securityjobs to get started on your cybersecurity journey today.
Which cybersecurity resources have helped pave the way for you? Share with us in the comments any others we haven’t covered – your peers will thank you!
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A blog like this can give hopes to a lot of people as an employment opportunity. I work for Metromindz which is a small company and do you recommend having a separate team for cybersecurity for a company like us? Thanks in advance for the answer.
Hi Sangam — although always desired, smaller organizations don’t always have the resources for a separate dedicated cybersecurity team. We recently published a report that covers which security practices have the most positive impact into a security program — especially for SMBs. Check it out at cisco.com/go/SecurityOutcomesSMB
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