Considering a career in the exciting field of cybersecurity? That’s great to hear, because the world needs more experts who are willing to learn cyber security! As cyber-crime perpetrated by hackers, criminal groups, and terrorists continues to rise, so does the demand for professionals who can help stop these attacks.
Here are a few reasons why it’s a good reason to learn cyber security:
- The technology “skills gap” means there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021
- Employer demand for cybersecurity professionals will continue to rise due to rising threats and expanding regulations
- A recent skills gap analysis calculated a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals currently
- The cybersecurity field is estimated to experience a 28% rise in jobs between 2016 and 2026 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Not only are professionals with this skill set in high demand, but the lack of qualified candidates means there’s less competition for open jobs. This means you’ll have high odds of landing a job once you learn cyber security. If you’ve recently begun considering this field, then now is the perfect time to start learning cybersecurity.
How to learn cyber security?
Thanks to the profusion of information on the internet, there are quite a few ways to learn everything you need to know about cyber security. Whether you’re looking to earn a traditional degree in cybersecurity, pursue a professional certification, or pick up skills all on your own, the right option is out there. The field is also just as friendly towards newcomers as it is with career changers, so with the right education, you can feel confident breaking into the infosec field.
The first option is the most traditional route: a college education. Both 2-year colleges and 4-year universities offer degrees related to cybersecurity. Studying computer programming, information technology, or software development are all good jumping-off points for your cybersecurity studies. Simply supplement these subjects with cyber-related coursework to ensure you have the right background for the job you want after college.
The second option is earning professional certifications. In fact, most cybersecurity professionals earn certifications, whether or not they also have a college degree. Certifications are a huge part of your cyber education and teach you the skills you need to succeed in the field.
There are also a ton of product-specific courses offered by companies like Microsoft and Cisco. These credentials teach you everything you need to know about the security of their devices, software, hardware, networks, and more.
The third option is taking free classes online on a site like EdX, Coursera, or Lynda. While these courses don’t lead to a traditional degree or diploma, they may supplement your degree or professional certification in cybersecurity.
How long does it take to learn cyber security?
Cybersecurity is a rapidly changing field, since it’s based on technology that’s constantly evolving. As a cybersecurity expert, your job is to stay one step ahead of cyber-criminals looking for the next big hack or exploit. The best cybersecurity professionals treat learning as a never-ending part of their careers, so you should expect to stay updated with coursework, conferences, certificates, and tech news.
In the short-term, learning enough about information security to land your first entry-level job doesn’t take very long. Earning the right certifications and taking free online courses can be done in just a couple of months. However, if you opt to go down the traditional college pathway, you’re looking at two to four years before you graduate. Both options are equally valuable, but one may fit your goals and lifestyle better than the other. It’s all up to you!
Keep in mind that the content you learn from classes and certifications will eventually grow stale as technology evolves and becomes obsolete. Most certifications have an expiration date attached to them, typically between one to three years from the date you earned it. That means you’ll have to re-take the test when the time comes or participate in professional development opportunities like conferences and workshops to keep your skills sharp and up-to-date.
How to learn cyber security on my own?
You don’t need to enroll at a college to take a cyber security course. In fact, there’s a ton of coursework right at your fingertips. If you’re a newbie to the field, start with some free online courses. There are many free online courses, so you can get your feet wet before you start investing money. This also gives you a chance to decide if infosec is truly the right career path for you.
Once you’ve conquered some of the entry-level courses, you can move on to higher-level options like professional certifications. To earn a certification, you simply have to pass a test covering the core skills related to that certification.
Common topics covered by information security certification exams include authentication, access management and certification, staff onboarding and offboarding, cloud security, device security management, threat assessment, and risk analysis. You can sign up for the test after studying independently, or you could take a preparatory course through a training program that meets your needs.
At this point, you probably know enough about cybersecurity to decide which area you’d like to specialize in. Instead of becoming a “jack of all trades,” you’ll want to find a technical niche that you can fill. This will give you the best foothold for gaining your first job. You can even decide to become an expert in a specific security product or function such as email security, privileged account management, cloud security, and user training.
Can I teach myself cyber security from scratch?
Info sec is a skills-based discipline, so getting started in the field is as easy as picking up the necessary skills. Due to the large skills gap in the field, you should be able to land an entry-level position without having a college degree. Start building up your resume by earning the core entry-level certifications. These include Certified Access Management Specialist (CAMS) and Certified in Data Protection (CDP).
Enhancing your knowledge with skills in computer programming will also give you the well-rounded background recruiters are looking for. Be sure to take some free courses for programming languages like C, C++, PHP, Perl, Java, and Shell.
How can I benefit from learning the cybersecurity courses offered by Identity Management Institute?
The Identity Management Institute (IMI) was founded in 2007 to provide training and professional certification to identity management students and professionals across the globe. IMI specializes in topics like identity and access management, identity theft protection, fraud protection, data protection, compliance, governance, and technology risk management.
Members of Identity Management Institute pursue and earn any of the certificates they feel appropriate for their careers. To customize the program to fit your career path, you have the option of choosing one of eight pathways to specialize in. These pathways include risk management (CIAM), implementation (CIMP), governance (CIGE), identity theft (CIPA), data protection (CDP), access management (CAMS), ID fraud prevention (CRFS), and technology (CIST). Click here for more details.
These certification options ensure members can choose which path they want to specialize in or which credentials to earn. This will also ensure they’re prepared to jump into any of the core industry feeder roles such as audit and monitoring, access management, process re-engineering, product implementation, or system architecture, design, and engineering.
What are the benefits of learning cyber security?
Learning cyber security is your first step towards starting a rewarding career defending the world’s data and information against cyber threats. The biggest benefit of learning cyber skills is employment. With the right skills and credentials in hand, you’ll have access to entry-level jobs like identity and access management engineer, architect, and managers.
With the right knowledge under your belt, you can look forward to a profusion of job opportunities in a growing field. The demand for skilled professionals is on the rise, and there currently aren’t enough professionals to fill those roles. With your new skill set, you’ll be in high-demand and won’t have to worry about not being able to find a job in your field.
Whether you’re brand new to the technology field or looking to transition from information technology to information security, learning core infosec skills will help you achieve your goals. Once you’ve gotten started in the field, earning additional skills will open the door to future promotions and raises.