Last week I had the wonderful honor of being a presenter in the Cisco Networking Academy Find Yourself in The Future Series. To date this series has attracted over 9000 live attendees, which is testament to the extremely high levels of interest in technology careers in this region as well as the extraordinary efforts of the APAC marketing team. One figure blew me away in particular: 70% of attendees are interested in pursuing careers in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity is an incredibly exciting field. It draws in some of the most talented technologists and brainiacs and in many ways cybersecurity is similar to a game of chess. It’s about anticipating and staying ahead of your opponent. It’s also about learning to think like the bad guys except that he patterns are anything but predictable and then doing good. And, that feeling of contributing to the good of humankind is intensely gratifying.
Cybersecurity is such a diverse field and it intersects with just about every area of technology and even behavioral sciences. And, it’s this intersection that will enable students to pursue their dream careers in cybersecurity. Imagine a career in cybersecurity that intersects with medicine. Today people could die from hackers sending fatal doses to hospital drug pumps and you might have a vision for solving this life-threatening problem. In my work one of my goals is to provide our chidren a safe, digital playground. This combines my interest for education with privacy and digital safety.
On last week’s presentation I suggested students take the following steps to achieving their dream careers. And, it’s these very steps that have been major enablers in my career too.
- Find an area of cyber security that is particularly compelling and exciting to you. Or find the intersection of cybersecurity with another field and think of ways that you could change or influence the industry.
- Research that area on the web and learn as much as you can about it.
- Explore possibilities of being an intern in an organization that is pursuing innovative directions that coincide with your interests.
- Find a mentor. Mentors both help you grow your career as well as help you navigate a workplace. If you can find a way to help the person who is mentoring you, for example, research a new area, then you become very valuable to your mentor too.
- Finally, think about your career in a series of phases. What you might start out doing may be very different to what you do in 20 years from now. So think about companies that allow you to evolve and career paths that are flexible.
We live in an increasingly insecure digital world. The upside is that that cybersecurity will continue to be a much sought after skillset in the workforce. And, if I can help you pursue your dream career in cybersecurity, please reach out to me and if you missed the session you can view the recording on YouTube.