Computer science is in its golden stage of growth and development. So, everyone who is somehow connected with the cybersecurity industry wants to gain as much as possible, be it technical skills and professional growth or a high salary and new career opportunities.
However, many people hesitate to open the doors of the cyber security field and take their first steps into the IT-sphere. And it’s mainly because of the widespread perception that cybersecurity is hard to learn and is suitable only for geniuses with extraordinary memory skills and mathematical abilities. But this opinion is exaggerated and way too far from reality.
So, let’s go on and discover whether cybersecurity is hard to learn and what challenges you need to overcome to become a highly demanded cybersecurity professional.
What Is Cybersecurity Used for?
Before we jump into the central part of our topic, let’s first understand what cybersecurity is and for what it is used.
Today, many companies and organizations face the danger of malicious threats, security risks, data leakage, and hacker attacks. So, it is where we need cybersecurity and cyber security professionals. Their primary functions are to provide security and protect valuable data and information stored in computer systems, apps, and software from any potential threat by identifying vulnerabilities. But these are not the only cases where you need cybersecurity solutions.
Below, let’s explore the different uses of cybersecurity in detail:
- Network Security and Protection: Network Security is mainly designed for protecting network-related databases from attacks, external access, and intervention. Professionals in this field provide high-level confidentiality and integrity of data and information based on computer networks.
- Data Protection: Cybersecurity also can be used to protect the secrecy and privacy of confidential information and data stored in a system from different cyber threats and attacks.
- User Protection: End-user security is one of the crucial aspects of overall protection measures. As the safety and integrity of users are essential for any respectable company or organization, there are special security procedures designed to provide a secure environment and space for its users.
- Software Protection: You can secure the entire system and your users’ information and data by protecting software. Cybersecurity uses different tools, methods, and technologies to prevent unauthorized access attempts to your software.
- Company Security: Companyprotection includes the security of the organization’s entire system: penetration testing, ethical hacking, software and hardware safety, and more. It also ensures the company’s response to cyber security threats and malware requests.
How to Become a Cybersecurity Professional?
Is cybersecurity hard to learn or not? It is primarily up to you and your perspective. For example, suppose you have a passion for technology and computers, persistence, and the ability always to learn and keep up with cybersecurity challenges. In that case, you can quickly join the army of cyber security professionals in no time.
However, the beginning of pursuing a cyber security career can often be intimidating and confusing, especially when you don’t know where to start, what to do, and where to go. You can begin researching, make a plan of action, and follow some tips that can help you take a step forward in pursuing your career.
Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind.
Take an Introductory Course
Taking an introductory course will be the best decision to experience and gain more knowledge of the cyber security field’s working process and characteristics. It is mainly suitable for beginners. They can start by building basic foundational skills in a professional learning environment and choose a direction fitting their goals and abilities. An introductory course will also help you familiarize yourself with security threat classes, engineering, and tampering.
The main topics included in an introductory course cover mainly the following aspects:
- Cyber Security Techniques and Tools
- Industry Standards and Security Compliance
- Incident Responses
- Cyber Security Threat Intelligence
- Network and Data Security
- IT Systems Components
- Intro to Cryptography
Afterward, you can decide whether you want to continue staying in this field or do something else and change careers according to your interests.
Make the Best Use of Online Sources
For what to use the Internet if not for utilizing helpful information and resources? There are a lot of online courses, materials, tutorials, video lectures, and books you can freely obtain and learn from. Please take it as a foundational base and equip yourself with more skills, techniques, and basic knowledge before taking a step further.
Get a Mentor
Self-motivation and self-teaching are indeed vital. However, getting advice and mentorship from a professional specialist will take you to another level and accelerate the process of learning. A mentor can give you the right direction, help you choose the best courses, and support you throughout the learning process.
Earn a Certificate
Certification is one of the best ways to prove your technical skills and credentials. You can choose from the certification topics that include:
- Operating Systems
- Web Applications
- Security Management
Compare them, do research, and decide which one perfectly fits your skillset. Getting a certificate can also significantly help you during your job interviews and give you more career opportunities.
Take Part in Real-Life Experiences
Real-life experiences are crucial for developing and improving your skills and professional knowledge. You can find various websites specially designed for newcomers, where you can use your skills on different projects and gain hands-on experience. Ethical hacking and bug bounty programs are some of those real opportunities worth trying.
Apply for Internships and Practical Training
There are a lot of companies that provide training and internship opportunities for beginners. You can learn and grow faster in a professional environment in such companies. You can apply for such positions as Information Security Engineer, Penetration Tester, Forensic Analyst, etc.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Cybersecurity Professional?
There is no definite answer to how long it will take to learn cybersecurity. There are a lot of factors you need to consider: your background, knowledge, and experience. Generally, it takes from two to six years. If you don’t want to get a degree and want a certificate, it will take nearly two years to learn the basic skills and techniques and enroll in practical training. However, if you’re going to get a degree and have more prominent opportunities, you will need to consider four to six years: four years for a Bachelor’s degree and two years for a Master’s degree.
Another motivational side of learning cybersecurity is indeed good salaries and bonuses. As the demand for cyber security professionals is still at its highest point, companies offer relatively decent salaries compared to the other fields. The annual salary can vary from $75,000 to over one million dollars based on the profession and career path. Your salary will also increase along with mastering and developing new skills and gaining more experience.
A bug bounty is a particular program that allows white-hat hackers to identify and report the project’s vulnerabilities and receive rewards. These programs help developers find out the existing problems of the project and fix them before going public.
Cybersecurity has multiple focus areas. As a result, you can learn almost anything related to security, such as network engineering, threat intelligence, pentesting, cryptography, etc.
The primary purpose of cybersecurity is to identify and exploit all possible vulnerabilities and issues in software, apps, network, etc. So, naturally, it’s responsible for the system’s protection and security.
Suppose you have fundamental knowledge in the cybersecurity field. In that case, the best option to move forward is to apply for internships, practical training, or even get a junior role in one of the companies.