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How to become a Cyber Security Professional

3 months ago by Wajiha Yasmeen in How To 10 min read

How to become a Cyber Security Professional

Cyber security is a relatively younger profession that originated in the early 2000s. In this digital age, where computers are replacing humans, data is generated at an accelerated rate thus increasing the rate of a cyber attack. A cyber attack can be defined as the breach of someone’s digital property by attacking their information system and network system. Recently, there has been a boom in the number of cyber attacks hence generating a high demand for cyber security professionals.

What is a Cyber Security Professional?

A cyber security professional is an IT professional whose prime responsibility is to protect the computer and network systems of an organization for cyber attacks. They work to create effective security systems, test them for various risks, and analyze the previously existing security systems.

One does not necessarily have to complete a university degree in order to enter the field of cyber security. All you need is some education in information technology either as a university degree or associate courses. To protect a computer system it is essential to understand their architecture and how they work.

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How to become a Cyber Security Professional?

In this article, we will guide all the aspirants on how they can earn a job as a cyber security professional. The guide is broken down into four parts; education, experience, certification, and skills.

1. Education:

Let’s start with one of the vital ingredients i.e. relevant formal education. Having an undergraduate or at least a graduate degree is very important for getting a job in this field as it speaks volumes for your talent and expertise. Even if you have a bachelor’s degree in any computer related field such as software engineering, computer science, telecommunications, and networks, you can very easily apply to a Master’s degree specializing in cyber security.

Moreover, for many entry level jobs a computer degree with a specialization in computer or network security can be sufficient. 

Here is the list of Pakistani universities offering degrees in cyber security:

  1. The Islamia University Of Bahawalpur
  2. Air University, Islamabad
  3. Comsats University, Islamabad
  4. National University Of Computer And Emerging Sciences, Islamabad
  5. Khawaja Fareed University Of Engineering & Information Technology, Rahim Yar Khan
  6. Riphah International University, Islamabad
  7. Sir Syed Case Institute Of Technology, Islamabad
  8. Minhaj University, Lahore
  9. The Superior University, Lahore
  10. University Of Management And Technology, Lahore
  11. Institute Of Southern Punjab, Multan
  12. Riphah International University, Faisalabad Campus
  13. Air University, Aerospace & Aviation Campus Kamra
  14. FAST NUCES, Karachi

2. Experience:

Formal education coupled with industry experience is a surefire way to break into this field. Most employers prefer individuals with hands-on experience in the computer science or information technology fields, as nothing compares to the real world experience. You can prove your readiness for a cyber security specialist position by completing internships during university or entry-level jobs in an IT related field.

Given below is the list of entry-level IT jobs that pave the way for a cyber security career include:

  • Systems administrator
  • Database administrator
  • Web administrator
  • Web developer
  • Network administrator
  • IT technician
  • Security administrator
  • Network engineer
  • Computer software engineer

In addition to improving your resume, such jobs can help you network with professionals and  build connections in the field.

3. Certifications:

With certifications, you can focus on a particular career stream  within cyber security. Furthermore, they serve as an attestation of your skills to potential employers. They are necessary for individuals who have a generalized degree in the field of IT. Professional organizations in the field offer a wide range of certifications. A few of the most common include:

  • EC-Council Network Security Administrator
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate – Routing and Switching
  • Certified Information Security Manager
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • CompTIA’s popular base-level security certification
  • EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker

4. Hard and Soft Skills:

As a start, tech pros need to be familiar with operating systems especially linux. By familiarity we mean they must be able to understand  their architecture, administration, and management. 

Secondly, they must be proficient in programming languages such as Java, C++, PHP, Python, and Perl. Among examples of hard skills are secure coding practices, vulnerability assessments and reports, switching and routing on computer systems, and proficiency with multiple operating systems.

Every job requires a unique combination of soft skills, for example, cybersecurity experts are often needed to perform under critical conditions. So the ability to handle pressure is a must for them. Effective communication, teamwork, and adaptability are some of the essential skills to have in your arsenal if you are aiming to enter the cyber-security workforce.

Cyber Security Career Path:

Security Architect: Someone who is in charge of ensuring that all the computer systems within a company are well maintained and secure enough against any potential malware attack.

Security Consultant: They are responsible for evaluating the security measures of an organization. Testing and analyzing security of computer network systems, researching potential breaches, and supervising solution deployment are among their duties.

Penetration Tester/Ethical Hacker: This job involves performing tests on computer systems to find security weaknesses that may be exploited by criminals.

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO):  Chief information security officers (CISOs) are senior -level executives who are  in charge of handling the strategic, operational, and budgetary components of data protection. These professionals are responsible for developing information security policies and procedures for businesses and organizations.

As you can see the job responsibilities for each career stream are different, therefore, instead of jumping head first, assess where you want to be in future and then enroll in relevant certifications.

FAQs:

What does a cyber security professional do?

A cyber security specialist works to develop, assess, test, and overlook the data protection, data management, network security, and computer system security of an organization.

How Do I Become a Cybersecurity Analyst With No Experience?

Gain basic knowledge in networks, information technology, and computer security. Earn required certifications, and aim for entry level jobs in the related field.

What is the average salary of a cyber security professional?

Globally, a cyber security expert earns up to $10k per month on average. However, locally their salary is around 100k PKR per month. The salary range varies greatly depending on seniority and experience.

Wajiha Yasmeen
Author: Wajiha Yasmeen

Biography of Wajeeha Yasmin

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