The Cybersecurity Niche within the IT industry has seen significant growth in the last couple of years. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is projected to grow by 33 percent between 2021 to 2031 (according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics), The US alone has about 700k unfilled jobs in cyber security(Global shortage of 3.3 million). There is a real shortage of manpower for top-level cybersecurity jobs. A Cybersecurity job also comes in pricey in terms of salaries and remunerations.
With these levels of shortage, It does make for a compelling argument that getting any of the many cybersecurity jobs would be easy but the reality is difficult, especially for beginners. It does take more than more than your degree/certifications or even your technical skills to get hired in cybersecurity. Hiring managers are in no hurry to fill every open position with “just anybody”, there have to be some minimum basics. You will have to be visible to hiring managers. It is your job to make them “see” you, you will need to stand out from the sea of candidates staking a claim to the high-profile job.
I have included some tips that are very helpful in securing a job in cyber security. They are from leading experts within the Cybersecurity space. (Credit to David Bombal, Neal Bridges, Office of the CISO) The goal is to get you hired ultimately.
1. Build your Knowledge of various technologies
Cyber security is a field that builds on a wide knowledge base, you will need to build some foundations in your understanding of various core concepts such as networking, your TCP/IP, Identity, understanding of how computers work, risks, cyber security principles, etc. What you should avoid early on in your career is to avoid being “pigeonholed” in a position that does not give you the opportunity to learn other skills. You will need to learn a lot of technology to have a fair chance of progressing into a higher tier of cyber security jobs.
Learn as much as you can. You will need to show the hiring manager how much you know about the various technologies in the toolset of a cyber security expert. Many IT professionals start out with a help desk position(this is a great way to start), that may be true for you also, but you should make a transition from that role as soon as possible or at least start learning skills that typically go beyond the scope of the typical entry-level job.
2. Grow your Network of People
You will need more than the technical skills to get that job faster. You must grow your circle of influence, the people you know. Interact across the board. Network with people who are already successful in the field. They can be very helpful to you in getting speedy and relevant information. Your goal here is to get a better insight into the industry. There is no better way to do that than to network with people who are already in the cybersecurity space.
There is a saying that people generally hire people they know – all other factors being equal. Sometimes all it takes is your ability to convince a hiring manager that you learn on the job. You must learn to network, you must grow your social skills, and you must network and interact with people.
3. Understand what you want
It does help to be a bit more specific about what you want. You must understand what you want and pull your resources in that direction. If your goal is a cybersecurity job, you will be intentional in your job search, pick up roles where you can learn skills related to your goal, and will be easier to transition to full cybersecurity job roles. You will save a lot of time by so doing.
4. Take Advantage of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great place to meet hiring managers. According to Forbes, 94 percent of hiring managers are on Linkedin, hunting for skills. You must find meaningful connections in the space you want to be employed and reach out to Hiring Managers. Ask questions, find out about specific jobs, and gain deeper insights into what the Hiring manager is looking for. This will make it possible for you to get your projects and portfolios directly to the Hiring Manager. You might not need to go through HR if you already established a professional relationship with the Hiring manager.
Reach out directly on LinkedIn to other professionals and to HR. It makes you “visible”
5. Start Small, Pick the Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs for a start
The Red Team and the Blue Team jobs are like Top-tier cyber security jobs, you are not likely to have such attractive jobs if you are just starting out in Cybersecurity. What you can do is go for those security jobs such as a Sock Analyst or vulnerability management analyst, and then prove your worth in such roles. They give you a foothold in the niche and it is easier to rank up from there into higher-profile security roles. You build capacity with these types of jobs that are less competitive and better navigate your way to bigger job roles
6. Get Busy with Projects and Build Your Portfolios
Hands-on experience is a major requirement for many Hiring managers. You must have something to demonstrate your level of competence. Get busy with various free challenges available online, find bugs, do hackathons, and build personal projects. Get your Github account active with projects. They send a positive image to hiring managers that you are a “go-getter”. Also, have a strong motivation to learn and take up responsibilities. Pay attention to projects related to the type of cybersecurity job you want
Ultimately, you need to get the right skills, be in the right environment, and interact with the right people. Show that you deserve to be given a chance to showcase your skills. Hope this is helpful.