Cybersecurity has proven to be one of the most lucrative and sought-after roles in the tech industry today. Statistics from the New York Times predict that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by the year 2021, which represents a 350 percent growth from 2014. The growing need represents a real skill gap, as cybersecurity jobs require specific abilities and certifications along the way.
The good news is that it may be much more attainable to get these roles than people believe. Both those from technical and non-technical backgrounds can get these certifications by taking classes and courses that will prepare them for the work involved in cybersecurity. This can be achieved at traditional four-year colleges, online courses, or cybersecurity bootcamps. Let’s take a look at how to get into cybersecurity.
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What Certifications Should I Get for Cybersecurity?
There are dozens of cybersecurity certifications that can be awarded through the completion of online and school courses. Though not all of these are necessary, the Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report found that professionals who had six or more cybersecurity IT certifications generally made $10,000 more than those with only one listed on their resume. Forbes actually found that 96% of leaders in 2020 said team members with cybersecurity certifications added real, demonstrable value to their company or organization.
But with so many possible cybersecurity certification paths, it can be difficult to comprehend which ones are the most important to work towards, and which are the highest paying cybersecurity certifications—especially if you are learning cybersecurity from scratch. Each certification is sponsored by a different organization and focuses on a different area of cybersecurity training. Here are some of the top rankings from the Best Cybersecurity Certifications 2020 list, each with the relevant organization that sponsors it:
- CompTIA: Network+
- CompTIA: Security+
- CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CISM – Certified Information Security Manager
- AWS Certified Security – Specialty
- ISASC: Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control
- EC Council: Certified Ethical Hacker
- (ISC)2: CCSP – Certified Cloud Security Professional
As you can see, there are a wide variety of different cybersecurity certifications that can be attained. Each of these certifications can be beneficial to different career paths for cybersecurity. Some of these may be more advanced, and therefore applicable for higher-level cybersecurity roles such as Chief Information Officer or Penetration Tester and Ethical Hacker. Regardless of the cybersecurity career path you choose, you’ll need education and training from elite professionals who can make sure you’re totally prepared for not only certification testing but to also handle the workload that comes with cybersecurity jobs.
How Do I Train for Cybersecurity?
In order to gain the necessary information for cybersecurity certifications, you’ll need to learn the core tenets of cybersecurity, train in the practice of spotting and stopping malicious code, and learn how information systems communicate with one another. On top of that, you’ll need deep practice and understanding of best practices in modern cybersecurity.
There are a few paths you can take for learning this information, including colleges, online courses, and coding bootcamps. Let’s take a look at what each of those paths entail, as well as what kind of costs may be associated with each one.
A traditional route for becoming a cybersecurity professional would be to enter into a four-year year college program to get a bachelor’s degree. While this degree does not guarantee your certification, it certainly provides a huge amount of learning thanks to the work of professors, coursework, and a more defined path toward specializations in cybersecurity. However, this takes a lot of time. You will be going to school full-time for four years, meaning there will not be a ton of time for paid work along the way. It also requires a lot of upfront cost for tuition, housing, and the other general costs associated with going to college.
Rather than pursuing a full degree, many individuals ask, “Can I learn cybersecurity on my own?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Online courses and training programs are available and can help to adequately prepare you for the knowledge required in order to pass cybersecurity certifications testing. These can also be extremely helpful for people who are currently employed, either in an IT role or an unrelated field. Statistics show that 30% of the individuals in cybersecurity jobs come from a non-technical background, so these can be taken by anyone interested in starting a new career path.
Some of the best online resources for cybersecurity training come from Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, Pluralsight, and edX. Many of these are paid courses, however there are some free introductory classes that you’ll find. Along with cost, another drawback is the difficulty that comes with learning at home alone. Some students may find it difficult without hands-on training that comes from classrooms.
Finally, we come to a fast-track tech bootcamp as a way to learn cybersecurity. These are hyper-focused, specialized, and condensed courses that individuals use to gain a huge amount of information on cybersecurity in just a few short months. The benefits are quite numerous, as a bootcamp combines the specialized, hands-on learning found in college programs, with the freedom and shorter-time frame associated with online classes. There are also advisors on hand to help you answer, “Which course is best for cybersecurity?”
Wondering if a cybersecurity bootcamp might be the right pathway for you? Visit our Ultimate Guide to Cybersecurity Jobs for a full download.