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In recent years, the Internet has become a digital Wild West, a place full of opportunities and vulnerabilities. Even though the rise of Big Data offers many attractive possibilities for tech-savvy businesses, cyber criminals can undermine them by fighting to seize and (mis)use) stores of sensitive, vulnerable data.

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That’s where you come in. Today, cyber security professionals serve as protectors against bad elements online, protecting consumers and businesses around the world from cybercrime.

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Looks interesting? In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about embarking on the cyber security career path.

Before you begin planning your cyber security career path, you need to understand what it’s like to work in the field and how you hope to specialize. After all, the industry is huge; According to the 2018 Aust Cyber ​​Report, the global cyber security market is approximately $145 billion. It is on track to grow 86 percent to reach $270 billion by 2026, far ahead of other industries.

This rapid growth is not surprising at all. As systems have become more sophisticated, hackers have redoubled their efforts to uncover vulnerabilities and expose vulnerable personal information such as credit card numbers, financial records and health care data.

In the third quarter of 2019, the RiskBased Data Breach Quick View report documented the occurrence of 5,183 separate data breaches, exposing 7.9 billion records globally. This is a 33.3 percent increase in total breaches over the previous year and more than double (112 percent) the number of exposed records.

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These numbers show why cyber security is such a high priority; Companies of all sizes and industries need to protect themselves from costly and confidence-breaking risk.

As a professional in the field, you have a choice in where your cyber security career path lies. Many industries employ skilled security experts; According to the 2019 (ISC) 2 report, 22 percent of cyber security professionals surveyed were in IT, 8 percent in financial services, 7 percent in government, 6 percent in manufacturing, 6 percent in healthcare, 5 percent in education, 5 percent work in engineering. , and 5 percent in retail.

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As this data shows, being a “cyber security specialist” doesn’t limit you to one job description. There are countless roles in the job market – so many, in fact, that you may need to limit yourself to a select few specialties.

As cyber security consultant Kevin Beaver shared for Security Intelligence, “Once I went out on my own as an independent consultant, [I] thought I was going to be doing all things security related. Erroneous – delusional for sure […] It became clear to me that I needed to specialize in something, so that’s what I did.’

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Let us look at some of the specialties that you can pursue while pursuing your career in cyber security.

One way to be sure that your company is building secure systems is to test them against various types of attacks.

Penetration testers attack processes and exploit vulnerabilities just as any other hacker might – with the organization’s permission, of course. Many penetration testers work for security companies that specialize in testing for a broad base of diverse business clients.

Cyber ​​security engineers specializing in data loss prevention (DLP) focus their attention on deploying security programs and ensuring that all protective software is up to date and functioning smoothly.

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These professionals troubleshoot programs that interfere with their security measures, manage data security on servers and databases, and handle user privacy concerns when they arise.

As the name suggests, a cyber security architect designs a secure framework to contain a company’s information. These professionals also develop business protocols, standards, and internal policies that all team members can follow to protect their company’s data.

Architects usually have a lot of experience working in IT and have a broad understanding of cyber security products and protocols.

It seems almost self-evident to say that authorization is essential in a secure system. At some point, consumers and business leaders need to know that the people accessing an organization’s data are authorized to do so.

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A cyber security professional who specializes in identity and access management is responsible for ensuring that a company’s identity, authorization and permission protocols are in place across all systems and at all touchpoints.

These experts have substantial expertise in how protocols differ between platforms (i.e., between desktops and smartphones, tablets, etc.). They are also tasked with learning and implementing identity policies within their organization.

For those working in forensic analysis and incident response units, work begins only after the worst has happened. These professionals analyze adverse security incidents to determine how the breach occurred and what needs to be done to eliminate the vulnerability.

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Depending on the issue at hand, forensic experts are also trained in how to collect evidence to be used in formal trials.

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As the name suggests, professionals specializing in secure software development work to develop secure software applications. Regardless of their function, these programs are designed and rigorously tested to ensure that they do not contain any vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. Secure software development specialists may work to develop programs to be used in-house, or may otherwise focus their efforts on developing software for consumer sale.

Do any of these roles appeal to you? Once you know where you want to specialize, you’ll have a better idea of ​​how to customize your education.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of roles for information security analysts will grow by 32 percent between 2018 and 2028 — more than six times the average for all other occupations. About 35,500 cyber security jobs will be added to the US job market. in that period.

Before you can build a cybersecurity career roadmap that best suits your chosen specialty, you need to establish your starting point and understand your existing skill set. The educational path you take for a cyber security career can vary greatly depending on your past experience and where you are in life.

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For example, if you already have programming experience but want to specialize in cyber security, your chosen educational path may be different than someone who has never written code before. That said, it’s important to stress that it’s still possible to become a cyber security professional even if you have no prior experience – as long as you have the right education and training.

Developing a clear picture of what you already know – and what you have yet to learn – is an important part of determining your optimal educational path. Let’s review some of the educational options that are available to aspiring cyber security professionals.

There are several avenues you can take to acquire the skills you need for a career in cyber security. Formal college programs and cyber security boot camps provide two of the most popular learning routes available to aspiring cyber security professionals, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Those who have already graduated with a bachelor’s degree may not want to invest the time to earn a second degree or will not be in a good position to invest in a master’s program. That said, attending college can be an excellent option for those who want a broad background in computer science or another cyber security-adjacent field and who have the time and resources to devote to a multi-year program. There are resources.

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On the other hand, boot camps provide intensive training in a comparatively shorter duration and at a lower cost. These courses provide the structured program and instructor support for a university education, but focus more on teaching the practical skills needed for employment. However, these courses often do not have the bandwidth to instruct learners in theoretical concepts or non-skill-based cyber security knowledge.

Once you’ve walked your educational path and built up a strong repertoire of hard skills, you can begin gathering job experience. Like most occupations, cyber security specialists typically begin their careers in entry-level jobs and work their way up to becoming senior specialists.

An entry-level job is one that, presumably, allows you to enter your chosen field. It is the beginning of one’s cyber security career roadmap.

However, the door that an entry-level role provides is not necessarily open to all; Even an entry-level cyber security job requires some degree of training and education. In most cases, employers will only consider applicants who can demonstrate that they have the skills and practical knowledge to get ahead.

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Entry-level roles offer aspiring cyber security professionals the opportunity to develop their talents and prove themselves through hard-earned expertise. Once you get that first job, you can plant the first seeds for a long and rewarding career.

Once you have a few years of experience in the field, you can start looking for opportunities to move up to a mid-level job.

As you climb to the intermediate level, you can take on additional management responsibilities, such as overseeing entry-level cyber security technicians, providing more project direction, or leading new initiatives. With more experience and better skills, you’ll naturally find yourself better positioned to understand cyber security issues and assume leadership positions.

As a senior level cyber security professional, you are at the top of your cyber security career path. you can drive your

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