Have you ever thought about how to become a cyber security specialist? If so, there’s no better time to get started than today!
We’ll discuss all the crucial things you need to know become a cyber security specialist. Let’s dive in!
What Is a Cyber Security Specialist?
A cyber security specialist is a professional with knowledge and experience in the implementation of security technology, processes, and controls to improve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an organization’s data and IT infrastructure.
Why become a Cyber Security Specialist?
Here are some of the reasons why pursuing a career as a cyber security specialist is one of the best career decisions:
High demand: The need for security experts for both small businesses and large enterprises is ever-increasing. Every company that relies on computers will at some point need your services, either as an employee or consultant.
Increasing cyberthreats: Our increased reliance on computers and the internet is an opportunity for criminals to profit. Security specialists save the organizations their protecting from the potential mess that can be created by these attackers.
It’s fulfilling: Everyone needs to have a job where they have an impact on the company’s operations. Protecting your company’s IT infrastructure from cyber threats is one of those jobs that will fulfill your career growth.
Lots of exciting challenges: If you’re the kind of person that loves handling exciting challenges, you’ll probably encounter a lot in your security career. Cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways of accessing our computers and data. So, figuring out how to prevent them from doing so will be a daily task.
What Do Cyber Security Specialists Do?
Though the responsibilities of a cyber security specialist can vary, let’s look at some of the common responsibilities:
You’re a Specialist. That’s the primary reason for your role. As a specialist you’ve been hired because you possess sufficient security knowledge and experience that a potential employer may value.
Counseling. Because of your knowledge and experience, be prepared to spend a significant amount of time educating your employer regarding: security recommendations, cybersecurity practices, security vulnerabilities and mitigation techniques, and other measures that could improve their security posture.
Assessment and Reporting. You may be involved in, or even lead, security assessments in order to understand and report upon areas of security concern or improvements that should be made.
Development and Implementation. Once deficiencies have been identified, you’ll aid in developing and possibly implementing strategies to mitigate security concerns while optimizing the IT infrastructure.
Monitoring and Evaluation. Monitoring security upgrades and evaluating their ability to mitigate previously identified security vulnerabilities becomes crucial to understand if the organization’s security measures were successful.
Salary of Cyber Security Specialist?
Since security specialists play a crucial role in any IT department, their salaries are quite decent.
The average salary of cyber security specialists in the US is about $83,000. As you gain more experience, security specialists can be paid up to $146,000 per year.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Cyber Security Specialist?
Before you qualify as an expert, here are a few skills to possess:
Professional Knowledge: Above all else, in-depth knowledge and the ability to provide quick resolution to complex problems in your area of security specialization is an absolute must. If you come across a job listing that closely matches your skillset, but not completely, that’s the time to research whether any deficiencies exist.
Cyber Security Tools: Because cyber security is such a vast field, there are hundreds of tools available for users. You should be heavily experienced in the tool sets common to your specific field. A minimum of two years of experience with any security tools should be sufficient to declare yourself “skilled” for that particular toolset.
Soft Skills: As with many jobs, communication and technical writing skills, problem-solving skills, attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure, positive attitude, teamwork, and a good work ethic are always expected.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Cyber Security Specialist?
Some employers require college degrees, whereas some just need to test your raw skills before giving you the job.
If you need a job in those old-school companies where papers are still important, having an Associate’s degree in a cybersecurity-related course is a must.
There are also many companies that’ll hire you if you have the right certifications.
However, your goal should be to acquire the relevant skills required to perform your day-to-day tasks.
No matter the degrees or certificates you have, your job will be at stake if you can’t solve problems.
That’s why it’s important to continue with self-education even after getting your college degree or certification.
Some of the popular cybersecurity certificates you may consider getting include:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
How Long Does It Take to Be a Cyber Security Specialist?
Most companies require you to have some working experience before hiring you.
On average expect to have a minimum of 5 to 10 years of experience in your specialization before you can be considered a specialist.
The actual years of experience required will usually depend on the role they’ll want you to take on.
What Makes a Good Cyber Security Specialist?
If you’ve just completed your course, you can further enhance your skills by doing personal projects that challenge you to learn new things.
Consider signing up on freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork; they have several opportunities for cyber security specialists.
Doing client projects on these sites will help you to gain experience that you can later use to get bigger opportunities.
You also need to continuously educate yourself in order to keep up with the new technologies and how to use them to handle new threats.