9 Practical Tips to Take Your Cybersecurity Career to the Next Level

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The demand for cybersecurity professionals is currently higher than the number of experts available. Cases of cyber-attacks are rapidly increasing, and businesses have every reason to worry following the recent prediction that damage costs might shoot beyond $6 trillion by the end of 2021. If you’re a skilled security expert, organizations will be clamoring for your services soon.

Cybersecurity services will still be in high demand 2021 and beyond. This might be the best year to advance your cybersecurity career to attract lucrative salaries. Remember that employers will gauge your skills based on credentials rather than oral testimonials. To maximize your chances of getting hired and promoted, consider taking your cybersecurity career to the next level using these tips.


1. Continue learning

A newcomer with more certifications is far better than a guru without anything to demonstrate their expertise. Taking certifications is one of the sure ways of demonstrating your commitment to providing professional services and gaining more professional development. Certifications like Master of Leadership and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) can unlock higher-level opportunities and provide you with huge advantages over other candidates seeking the same positions.

2. Network and market yourself

Build security networks on forums such as social media and meet-ups with industry experts. Networks enlighten you on how security specialists handle problems. Besides, you’ll get insights into more security roles that you might want to take in the course of your career.

3. Let your resume tell your story

A well-crafted resume will catch the eye of any employer looking for a cybersecurity specialist. Don’t just include a long list of skills and places you’ve worked, but narrate how you can apply the skills to solve the employer’s problems.

4. Know your worth

When searching for new jobs, it’s important to have salary expectations. Some salaries for security careers are higher than the national average. Don’t just accept a pay figure just because it has been mentioned. Research the salaries of various cybersecurity careers to ensure that the proposed salary is commensurate with your job.

5. Specialize

You can’t be specialized in every cybersecurity career. It’s important to become a specialist in a niche to unlock job opportunities with top salaries in the industry. Research on the different careers in cybersecurity, learn about them and decide on the way you want to go. Organizations prefer to pay higher salaries to specialists rather than hiring a jack-of-all-trades. Whether you specialize in app security, ethical hacking, network security, or security operations analysis, you’ll find a company willing to pay dearly for your services.

6. Identify a gap and bridge it

Cybersecurity reports estimate that there is a shortage of cybersecurity skills, and there will be over 3.5 million jobs available by 2021. Identify the gaps in the industry, grow your skills, and bridge the gaps. Hiring managers and recruiters consider candidates with exceptional skills besides prior experience. An applicable degree with backup skills can provide you with a prime opportunity when a vacancy comes.

7. Understand each job’s expectations

There’s a high demand for cybersecurity specialists, but you shouldn’t rush to apply for positions without knowing what the career you’re applying for entails. The industry is very broad, and each role requires specific skill sets. Jobs like cybersecurity consulting, systems engineering, cybersecurity analysis, systems administration, and vulnerability analysis have varying requirements. Learning these requirements will help you narrow down a specific career that best suits your skills.

8. Explore related opportunities

Try not to worry if you lack any prior IT experience. Some cybersecurity jobs don’t require prior experience at all. Apply for work at small tech companies, where you’ll be trained from scratch. If you can’t find the job you’re looking for, consider seeking related job opportunities. For instance, companies search for strong communicators to head their sales departments. If you love writing, you can apply to become a marketing content writer for a company and work from home. 

9. Get exposure to security early on

If you are just starting out as an IT professional, getting exposure to your various security situations while in a second or third line support position is important. It can help grow into a fully-fledged security role. Being able to demonstrate this kind of experience to an employer increases your chances of getting a front line cybersecurity position.

Endnote

There are many openings in the cybersecurity industry, and more opportunities will emerge before the end of 2021. However, these jobs will be available to people with experience or the desire to gain it. Don’t just equip yourself with traditional education and training-market yourself; specialize, be passionate to learn, and establish networks with professionals.