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Cyber Pathways: A Look into the Cyber Security Career Field
We live in a complex world. Everyone has busy lives and careers, and navigating them can be a complicated and daunting task. Due diligence and research are a requirement for many large decisions we must make in life, to get where we want to be. One of the largest and most important choices being our careers. Including what we choose, and what path we choose to get there. There are many different careers to choose from and the one we are going to dive into is the exciting field, of cyber security. Not only is it a mysterious and sophisticated subject to study but the career pathway can be too. With the many specializations like cloud security, database security, security management, and many more it can be hard to decide what to settle on and how to educate yourself or prepare for the job. We are going to investigate just a couple of careers in the field. Cyber security is a diverse and complex field of study and with a little planning, and research it can help you navigate the career and subject alike.
When we think of cyber security, we no doubt think of the hacker at some point, and while crime doesn’t pay, hacking for the good guys does. If this sounds enticing the penetration tester or ethical hacker job is for you. The role is for a trained professionals who is paid by a large or small company either by contract or in house employment to try and hack into or infiltrate their computer systems or network. The ethical hackers job is to find any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the network, infiltrate them, and then report them to the customer or employer for them to patch up before any actual harm is done by the bad guys. This way when an actual malicious hacker tries to get into the network to steal data or cause damage that vulnerability is already patched or remedied and the network is more secure. Becoming a penetration tester can also be a lucrative career, paying an annual median salary of one-hundred and three thousand, five-hundred and ninety dollars a year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found on cybersecurityeducation.org.
Educational Background Needed
Becoming a penetration or pen-tester requires a wide array of skills from coding to networking and even writing and communication. No technical skill goes unused as every bit of knowledge increases your effectiveness in the job. Typically, a bachelor’s or even master’s degree is preferred and a job history of a more entry level security or information technology job is needed. Past that there are plenty of certifications that can be acquired and often required by employers to show the level of skill someone has in the field. The C.E.H. or certified ethical hacker exam by the EC-Council might be the most useful in this job role as it tests practical knowledge and is a direct exam on your ability to crack computer systems. As listed on coursera.org the certification requires two years’ experience, about a thousand dollars and can be useful in a list of cyber security jobs but a penetration tester probably being the most applicable one for this certification. Like most cyber security jobs, it does require constant updating of your knowledge base as well so if you love the idea of always learning and have the motivation then becoming a pen-tester might be the right job for you.
The Future of the Ethical Hacker
Computers and computer networks are constantly changing and becoming more advanced just as well the security challenges and hackers who seek to infiltrate them. on the one end this makes things always more challenging but on the other these factors lead to a very promising and in-demand future for the pen-tester. Security is becoming more and more of a concern for large companies in order to protect their profits and public images. In a study by ISC2, with the rapid evolving economy we are going to require two point six million cyber security jobs soon, as listed in a magazine article by Soma Tah from PC Quest. Many of these which will be penetration testers or ethical hacking jobs. The field is sure to continue to grow in demand and evolve in ways that can not yet entirely be foreseen. With the growth in A.I. and machine learning as well as quantum computing there will be new technologies to understand and test which may become a part of company networks and a target to hackers. While the exact picture of how the field will develop alongside these technologies is shrouded one thing is clear and that is the demand for the penetration tester job will only grow.
The security administrator role in an organization or company is arguably the center of a their security department. The job consists of many different aspects of security from a defensive standpoint and must deal with many other job roles in the IT department and even management or c-suite positions. Their responsibilities include enacting and helping shape the security policy of a company, implementing security safeguards, and monitoring the safeguards that have been implemented. They also may have some personnel working under them and must deal with legal issues or report to chief security officers or other management personnel. This role really brings things together and is good for anyone who wants o work in cyber security but doesn’t quite know if they want to specialize in something or what to specialize in. Last but not least is that a security administrator can make anywhere from eighty-four thousand a year to a hundred thousand a year in salary according to cybersecurityeducation.org.
Just as the job is very diverse in responsibilities so is the educational requirements. A security administrator needs a well-rounded knowledge of the cyber security and information technology field. For starters a bachelor’s degree in something closely related to cyber security is preferred and any further college education welcome. Experience from other network related, IT, or cyber security jobs will transfer well and be looked upon favorably in the hiring process. Social skills will also be an asset due to the very collaborative nature of the job. Aside from schooling and experience there are several certifications that can help you land the job and perform as well. The CEH mentioned earlier would also be a nice addition in your portfolio. One of the most popular entry level certifications is the security+ by CompTIA and is widely known to demonstrate a general cyber security knowledge from a high-level approach. Even further is the CISSP or certified information systems security professional by the ISC2 organization which is one of if not the most coveted high-level management of cyber security certifications you can get. It could lead to even further up the chain security jobs like the chief information security officer if you wished to move up the ladder one day as mentioned on the Coursera website along with all these certifications.
Security Administration in the Future
Just like all technology and cyber security related fields there is considerable job growth to be expected for the foreseeable future. According to cybersecurityeducation.org a thirty-three percent growth rate is expected in the security administrator position alone through the year twenty twenty-nine. With any security job continuing education is going to be incredibly important not to mention most certifications required to keep in good standing with the certification’s renewal dates as well. The more you look ahead in the future the better prepared you will be to stay competitive in the field.
Overall cyber security is a fast paced, rapid growing field, which can be competitive, challenging and fun to the right person. Weather you want to be a penetration tester, security administrator, or any other of the numerous roles, job security is very strong if you stay educated and up to date. All positions work in tandem to protect the integrity of the cyber world from those that wish to corrupt it and cause harm. The last part of the equation is just to figure out which piece of the puzzle you want to be in the large and exciting field of cyber-security.
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