A majority of our personal and professional lives have shifted online. The work sector has especially seen a drastic shift to online spaces with remote working and hybrid workspaces becoming commonplace due to the pandemic. However, as we become more dependent on cyberspace for all aspects of our lives, we are becoming more susceptible to cyberattacks.
Individuals, businesses, and entire governments have fallen victim to online scams, ransomware, phishing, and hacking. According to an Accenture Business report, there has been a 125% year-over-year increase in the volume of cyberattacks across industries and geography and it has become a major cause for concern. As a result, according to a Verizon report, 77% organisations are expecting to increase their cybersecurity budgets to meet the obstacles of increasing cyberattacks. Ransomware attacks witnessed a surge of 105% last year. By 2025, cybercrime is expected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually and the cybersecurity market is expected to reach a value of $478.68 billion by the year 2030.
Given the current state of affairs in terms of rising concerns about cyberattacks and the increasing budget for cybersecurity, the demand for cybersecurity roles is witnessing massive growth. Cybersecurity professionals are at the forefront of the defense strategy against cybercrimes. However, there is a worker shortage in this field, with India alone expected to account for 1.5 million unfilled vacancies in the field by 2025. Consequently, a career in cybersecurity promises immense growth for professionals and burgeoning opportunities in cyber security.
Cybersecurity professionals are in great demand. As you can see, there is an increase in cybercrimes every day. A career in cybersecurity is as rewarding as it is equally demanding. Cybersecurity professionals are wanted in large numbers worldwide because of the vast gap between the number of existing cybersecurity professionals and the cybersecurity challenges faced daily.
Yet another reason for the popularity of this domain of career is because the cybersecurity professionals are the ones who protect the data of the organization from being compromised. Being a cybersecurity professional, you are responsible for your organization’s data’s safety and security.
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There are various levels of roles that can be taken in the profession, from entry-level positions like Network Administrator to the advanced role like Cyber Security Architect.
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This blog is a comprehensive guide to help you in choosing cybersecurity as your preferred profession.
Choosing a Career in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity professionals are wanted in every organization because of their importance in data security. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is very high, and India provides a broader opportunity compared to other Asia-Pacific countries. The cybersecurity market of Asia Pacific is expected to register a growth of 18.3% CAGR in the 2020-2025 period, but there is a talent shortage in the field. Some of the most in-demand skills in the region are- Threat Intelligence, Application Development Security, Cloud Security Risk Management, and Data Privacy and Security. The availability of skilled professionals who can tackle the cybersecurity issue is significantly less in India, thus opening many new doors for young Indians for a cybersecurity career.
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Having a college degree is the right way of starting a career in cybersecurity, but it is not the only way. 43% of cybersecurity professionals are certification holders, who got training besides the college degree. Having a proper training certificate in cybersecurity is an excellent way of starting a cybersecurity career.
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Skills required to choose a career in cybersecurity
Cyber security roles are in huge demand with 3.1 million unfilled job vacancies worldwide. With an average pay higher than other IT positions, this is the right time to make a switch to cybersecurity careers. Some of the most important technical skills for cybersecurity careers are- knowledge of programming languages (Java, Python, C++), familiarity with operating systems (Linux, Windows, macOS), network configuration and management, project management, data management, analytics, disaster recovery, risk assessment, intrusion detection, information systems, access control, security program development, audits and compliance, cloud security implementation and management, digital forensics, and automation implementation.
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While a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in computer science or cybersecurity, or a related field like mathematics or engineering is incrementally helpful in making a career in cyber security, there are several specialised certifications available for opportunities in cyber security. Some of the most common qualifications/certifications required for a cyber security career include-
- Entry/Associate Level: CompTIA Security+, GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
- Mid/Senior Level: Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+).
- Specialisations: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK).
Apart from a college degree and a training certificate, a few soft skills will help one grow in a cybersecurity career. To shine in the cybersecurity career, we recommend you to get some practical training. The pragmatic cybersecurity world will help you develop a few soft skills required if choosing a career in cybersecurity.
1. Problem solver
If you chose to be in a world of problem, then better be a problem solver. Cybersecurity issues create chaos in the world. Compromise in data security is huge, as it involves the privacy of an individual and organization. It is the responsibility of the cybersecurity professional to solve the cyber issue and safeguard the data. Your critical thinking power will help you shine as an incident responder.
Cybercrime damages roughly about $6 trillion all over the world. Besides, it also puts many lives at stake. A cybersecurity professional must be an Avenger who saves the planet from falling prey to any such cyber crimes. An apt position for you is a Security Engineer if you are empathetic about the victims.
Take up more responsibility in solving cybersecurity issues. Get inspired by the stories around that have saved many people from online fraudsters. If you are an enthusiast, then the job of a Penetration Tester will be suitable for you if you are passionate about solving the problems creatively.
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4. Quick learner
Be curious about the new technologies that are used in solving cybersecurity problems. Learn about the tools that are developed to assist security professionals. Be quick in understanding the problem and applying the right technique to solve it. You can have a bright career as a Security Architect because of your curiosity in solving the issues.
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Constantly learn about the problems in the field and continue giving practical solutions to solve them. Do it more like help to someone rather than taking it up as a routine job. If you are a good listener and empathetic, then an apt position for you will be a Cyber Security Consultant.
Roles as a Cybersecurity Professional
As cybercrimes become more commonplace, cyber security careers are becoming increasingly prevalent in organisations of all shapes and sizes. The cyber security roles, simply put, comprises safeguarding the organisation’s computer systems and networks from becoming the victims of cyberattacks.
Cybercrimes are becoming more sophisticated, specialised, and targeted. Consequently, the roles and job titles associated with a career in cyber security are becoming diversified and specialised, as well, to deal with specific aspects of maintaining the safety and security of computer networks and digital data.
Various paths are available to achieve a job as a cybersecurity professional. To begin, one must start with an entry-level job in the field and equip themselves with adequate training and knowledge for attaining different levels of progress. One can expect swift growth as a cybersecurity professional because of the increasing demand.
Irrespective of the industry, many jobs open up for cybersecurity professionals, including jobs in banking, educational, content management, and IT services. The following are the various job roles to begin a career in cybersecurity –
1. Security Architect
The Security Architect takes care of planning, implementing, and testing security systems. They are responsible for protecting the data from hackers, malware, and DDoS attacks. Since this is a senior-level position, adequate training with certification will be expected. The job of the security architect is to protect the network using proper firewalls.
2. Security Consultant
The Security Consultant is a flexible and tech-savvy person who protects the organization’s data and capital. They understand and analyze various security systems in all fields. The Security Consultant determines the different tests, like vulnerability, to protect the computer, network, and data. They are also capable of providing technical guidance when required.
3. Penetration Tester
A Penetration Tester finds the weaknesses and loopholes in the system that hackers can use. They are also called Ethical Hackers. They have a range of tools to test the network, web application, or product. They also document the research and findings to be helpful in the future and develop and design new penetration tools.
4. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
This is an advanced-level job for which you will be required to handle a Security Officers team. You have the power to create your own security measure. You will also be required to collaborate with other stakeholders in determining the security of the system since this is an advanced role. There is an absolute necessity for proper training and certification. Apart from high technical requirements and 10-15 years of experience in the field, a Chief Information Security Officer is also required to have leadership skills, project management skills, and excellent analytical skills. They also must have experience in defining procedures and policies.
Cryptographers are security system professionals who are responsible for writing a code that hackers can’t crack. The cybersecurity roles comprise encrypting and decrypting data using techniques of cryptography to keep data secure and out of reach from hackers. It is a mid-senior-level job that you will enjoy if you love coding.
6. Security Analyst
As a Security Analyst, you will be required to plan and execute various security measures. You analyze and document the security of the system and find the areas that are prone to attacks. This is an entry-level job if you aspire to become a cybersecurity professional. They generally work in collaboration with IT specialists and developers.
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7. Security Engineer
A Security Engineer is responsible for rebuilding the security system for the organization. They build the necessary arrangements to safeguard the system. This is an entry-level job if you aspire to become a cybersecurity professional.
8. Forensic Analyst
A forensic analyst is responsible for tracking or tracing back the breaches and hacks. They gather digital evidence of cyberattacks or any other illegal online activity, in addition to retrieving and recovering damaged or encrypted data relating to the cybercrime. They determine how the breach or attack took place and perform forensic functions. A forensic analyst also develops digital forensics best practices.
9. Vulnerability Assessor
Vulnerability assessors are responsible for running tests on a company’s systems to determine critical flaws in the computer or network systems. They identify the vulnerabilities which cyberattackers can exploit to hack into or attack the computer networks of an organisation.
Other roles are –
- Security Auditor
- Security Director
- System Administrator
- Incident Responder
- Security Specialist
- Source Code Auditor
To gain adequate knowledge in the field of cybersecurity, one can opt for PG level courses in cybersecurity. upGrad, in collaboration with IIIT Bangalore, offers a PG course named, Executive PG Programme in Software Development – Specialisation in Cyber Security for aspiring cybersecurity professionals.
The offered course specializes in application security, data secrecy, cryptography, and network security. This helps you in starting a career in cybersecurity as a Cyber Security Expert, Cyber Security Engineer, and Software Developer.
Is cybersecurity a stable career?
Cybersecurity is on a rise and is a great career to be in right now. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that employment in this domain will increase by 31% from 2019 to 2029. Cybersecurity is a satisfying yet impactful career. From healthcare to retail to entertainment, there are various roles for cybersecurity in every sector of business. It is a pretty stable career as there are various opportunities and roles in different fields and disciplines. The salary structure in cybersecurity is also pretty good.
What is a basic requirement to make a career in cybersecurity?
There are several tools and knowledge required to make a career in cybersecurity. The tools and degrees may vary according to the position, however, there are some basic requirements that one must have including a Bachelor's degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience or a Master's degree and 1 year of relevant work experience. You can also apply for an entry-level job in cybersecurity with a Doctoral degree and no work experience. People also apply with an Associate degree and 5 years of experience related to the role they are applying for.
What are the disadvantages of cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is pretty expensive for businesses as they might not have sufficient funds to protect their data and systems. To secure the data and systems of the business also takes time and effort to implement certain measures to prevent loss of data. A career in cybersecurity may lead to repetitive and tedious tasks. The workplace stress is high as the probability of cyber threats and attacks is high. The roles in cybersecurity demand constant upskilling and knowledge up-gradation. Sometimes, this line of work suffers due to a lack of resources from the firm. The work is pretty demanding and people have to work regardless of it being holidays or weekends.