What do I need to become a cybersecurity professional?
From product management to back-end development, the opportunities in the tech ecosystem are huge. Here is what you should know to kickstart your career in tech.
Undoubtedly, one of the things that make the tech sector a promising sector to work in is how open and welcoming it is. Unlike other professions, there is no need to get an expensive degree, get hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, or "know the right people" to break into the market. There are vast opportunities, and the only constant in the tech industry is change.
Working in tech is fun, fast-paced and rewarding. From people who start a company with nothing but a great idea to professionals from all fields who decide to study and learn the skills to land their first tech job, famous success stories are as varied as the industry itself. It is also possible to gather a team with brilliant people and completely different backgrounds, making the team even better and more creative.
Still, it's not a perfect area, and the same goes with the cybersecurity niche. Despite all its advantages and the possibilities for people to be self-taught and coming from different backgrounds, technology and cybersecurity are still very much a boys' club. And a white boys' club at that.
Other than breaking the gender bias in cybersecurity, where women represent just under a quarter of the workforce, cybersecurity needs diversity in every possible way. The sector faces multiple threats and can benefit tremendously from setting plural teams with different experiences, sets of tools and creative thinking.
A non-linear path
A Global Information Security Workforce Study showed that 87 per cent of the cybersecurity workers globally did not start in the field. Additionally, 33 percent of executives and C-suite professionals in the sector began in non-technical careers.
That means many tech professionals were self-taught or followed a non-linear career path, eliminating traditional perspectives on fancy degrees and expensive education certificates. This opens the doors to so many people - and it is undoubtedly one of the best advantages of the tech world. Still, you have to be comfortable with being open to continuous learning.
How can you join the tech revolution?
There are many online resources, especially in the tech sector, for people who want to learn. For example, you can take several short and countless free courses in information technology, cybersecurity, computer programming and more.
You can learn new languages without paying a cent or leaving your home. And you can benefit from online communities helping you grow. Vaultree's page on Dev.To is constantly updated with educational content for those who want to learn more about data privacy and encryption, for example.
Of course, there are also more traditional paths with university degrees that can help you get better equipped for the area. Furthermore, you can find qualifications perfect for the cybersecurity enthusiasts of the world, including systems security certified practitioners and certified information security managers. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional and CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) are some of the certifications that carry the most respect.
The main thing is to acquire and grow skills that will make you think broadly without losing attention to detail. Cybersecurity is an ever-changing field, so passion for learning is always essential, as well as quick thinking. Understanding and reading data and trends, plus being well-organised and also thinking outside of the box, are excellent skills for people in cybersecurity to have.
Regardless of your background, keep learning, keep your mind open to new ideas, and don't be afraid to try new things. As we always say, "fail fast, learn faster". Cybersecurity is a fantastic field with much to offer to those who apply themselves.
If you're interested in joining a tech company of non-conformists, check out our Careers page.