How to launch your career as a Cybersecurity Professional

Even amongst a tech industry that is experiencing rapid growth across all sectors, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. In fact, the demand is so high that cybersecurity unemployment rates are currently zero percent. That’s right. Zero. The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network has noted a severe shortage of job-ready cybersecurity professionals and estimates that there are at least 17,000 more needed in Australia by 2026.

But, as Joe Franzi, Head of Cybersecurity at the Australian Signals Directorate told the ABC back in 2016, “the demand for cybersecurity professionals is insatiable at the moment, and this is not just an Australian problem. It’s a global problem.” Despite his comment being four years old, it is more true now than ever. In fact, a survey from ISC2 estimates that 4 million trained cybersecurity professionals are required to close the global skills gap.

At the same time, in Australia a cybercrime was reported every 10 minutes in December 2019, at an annual cost to business of $29 billion. Since COVID-19 started, scams related to the virus have driven a sharp increase in numbers both domestically and around the world. Businesses of all sizes have moved to remote working arrangements, resulting in hurried changes to systems and security protocols, as well as increasing the prevalence of vulnerabilities due to human error.

So what does this all mean? It means that cybersecurity professionals are some of the most in-demand workers across the world. It means that the macro social and economic factors intrinsic to the role will only lead to further demand in the future, and it means there is a huge amount of space for career development within a field that is evolving all the time.

But perhaps most importantly, it means that if you’ve been considering launching your career as a cybersecurity professional, now is the time! Here we will run through some of the considerations and practical steps you should take to kickstart your career.

Assess your career interests

Cybersecurity is a broad field. Many of the skills and technical competencies that you will need are interchangeable between job types, but at the same the personality and interests of someone who wants to become a white hat hacker (an ethical hacker working for a security company to test clients’ defences) is probably fairly different from someone who wants to be a Chief Information Security Officer at a law firm.

If you’re an excellent problem and puzzle solver (a keen understanding of mathematics also beneficial here!), you may wish to become a cryptographer. Cryptographers develop algorithms, ciphers and security systems that can hide information from prying eyes. They are particularly valuable in situations where financial, personal, national security, or other sensitive information types need to be protected.

A more common cybersecurity career path would be as a Network Security Engineer. Network Security Engineers are responsible for the implementation, monitoring and maintenance of a business’s cybersecurity systems. They identify and patch vulnerabilities and maintain firewalls, routers and VPNs – and they are needed in every business.

Another common cybersecurity job is as a Cybersecurity Analyst, again a role that is becoming ubiquitous in the business world. Analysts manage the planning, implementation and maintenance of security controls, as well as performing internal and external security investigation and vulnerability testing.

Become a Certified Cybersecurity Professional

Before moving into a job, cybersecurity professionals are generally expected to have a level of relevant formal education behind them that proves to employers that they are experienced with common systems, concepts and topics. Luckily online courses like AIICT’s Certified Cybersecurity Professional make it easy to build a robust practical and theoretical knowledge base through flexible learning on your terms.

Online courses such as AIICT’s will provide you with competency across a range of skills relevant to cybersecurity, including:

  • Attaining qualifying credentials for technical support and IT operations, including the basic security skills required of IT support professionals.
  • Building IT infrastructure, including the design and implementation of networks and network devices, as well as their maintenance, troubleshooting and management.
  • Learning to think critically in order to identify the benefits and drawbacks of certain network configurations and implement necessary security, standards, and protocols
  • Core cybersecurity functions including analysing indicators of compromise and determining malware types, comparing and contrasting types of attacks, and explaining threat actor types and attributes.

The beauty of online courses of this type is that you can access your coursework anytime with just a computer and an internet connection, meaning you can learn at your own pace and study when it suits you – making this an ideal option for people looking to switch careers or upskill while still maintaining a busy schedule.

Stay up to date with industry developments

Let’s take a (very) limited look at some of the history of cybercrime. Ransomware attacks started in about 1990. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks began in about 2000. Phishing has been around since the early 90s, which gave way to spear phishing around 2010. Recent predictions indicate that global cybercrime could cost $6 trillion in 2021.

The point is that cyber threats are changing all the time as malicious actors discover new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in network systems. This makes it absolutely imperative that you stay up to date with industry developments if you are to launch a career as a cybersecurity professional.

Cybersecurity certifications can assist you in this regard as reputable training organisations will have links with the industry and connect you with teachers who have real-world experience and ongoing professional associations within the industry. In addition you can subscribe to technology publications and newsletters from security companies as a valuable way of staying abreast with the latest cybersecurity information.

Launch your career as a cybersecurity professional with AIICT   

Catapult yourself into the fast-paced, dynamic world of cybersecurity with AIICT’s Certified Cyber Security Professional program. The course consists of three separate certifications from global IT leader CompTIA, allowing you to develop a broad base of practical skills and knowledge.

The course is delivered 100% online, meaning you can study anywhere, anytime – and with AIICT’s ‘start together, finish whenever’ ethos, you can learn at your own pace. At the completion of the course AIICT offers an Industry Partner Program which will connect you with potential employers, allowing you to get a headstart in your chosen role.

To launch your career as a cybersecurity professional, enquire with us today!