Starting a Cyber Security Career: a Presentation for Summer Discovery

Our VP of Strategy Josh Selfe recently presented to a cohort of students from the Summer Discovery program online.  With more than 500,000+ cyber security job openings across the U.S. today (CyberSeek.org) and only 3% of bachelor’s degree graduates have cyber-related skills, there is a clear need to communicate the routes to starting a cyber security career path to today’ students.

Josh discussed several key points related to pursuing a career in cyber security. Namely:

  • Myths and misconceptions behind the field of cyber security
  • How interconnected our common devices are (and prone to cyber-attacks) — cyber is relevant to everyone in and outside the IT field
  • Steps to exploring specific disciplines in the vast world of cyber security
    • Follow cyber and IT influencers online to learn vernacular and specialty areas
    • Learn about specific subsets of cyber practices and tools
    • Gain hands-on experience building skills in a gamified cyber range
  • Technical, professional and academic skills needed to thrive in the sector

Watch the entire presentation below and let us know what steps you took to enter into a cyber career that the future workforce may find helpful.

 

Other resources

How to launch a cyber career 
What you need to know about a cyber career
Kickstarting a cyber career (webinar)

Cyber Learning During the Pandemic: Online Training and Networking 

We’re living and working in a virtual world these days since the pandemic halted the traditional and routine in-person activity. For cyber professionalsyou may feel challenged more than ever to work and learn remotely. Yet those challenges shouldn’t stall your ability to learn. Learning can happen anywhereand as we’ve all experienced, out of times of chaos and uncertainty, can emerge opportunity. There’s never been a more ideal time to advance in the cyber security profession than now. 

  • You have to keep company networks and systems hardened now that access and utilization is occurring remotely.  
  • You are having to monitor systems and devices closer since more adversary attacks are on the rise since the pandemic.  
  • You’re having to ensure all employees practice cyber safety.  
  • And so much more! 

So we’re taking this article to speak to all the cyber analysts, IT managers, network security administrators, and like-minded cyber professionals to say: you have great opportunity to upskill and retool virtually – you just have to know where to look.   

It’s possible to stay active in the industry and continue to advance skills with professional IT/cyber groups, online trainings, engagement with cyber game activities and more. Here are a few opportunities you’ll benefit from 

Online Cyber Training  

There’s an increase in cyber-attacks since the pandemic with more professionals working remotely (some on their own personal devices). New threats are becoming more prevalent and the need to protect company data has heightenedAs a cyber professional, you need the flexibility and access to upskill on your terms, so you know how to tackle the hottest problems in your company’s cyber security arena.  

This means you need the ability to “break things” in virtual environments, test out new cyber defense tactics and learn new tools and procedures. Right?  

Luckily, online cyber training platforms make it easy, accessible and fun for cyber professionals to learn new skills from anywhere, at a pace that works for them.  

Circadence’s Project Ares hands-on training platform allows you to build skills via engaging, specialized scenario activities. Gamification and intelligent tutoring helps attract and sustain your attention while real virtual machines and real content teach foundational and specialized cyber practices you’d experience in the workplace. It gives practitioners like you the ability to address real, current cyber threats across multiple industry settings, providing a comprehensive level of knowledge and practical experience.  

Learn more about Project Ares subscription plans

Available for both Individual Learning (Academy & Professional Subscriptions) & for Organizations/Academic Classrooms (Academy Plus & Enterprise Subscriptions)

Network with InfoSec and Cyber Experts Online 

Cyber professionals are in high demand right now. According to a report from cyber security nonprofit (ISC)2 there are currently about 2.8 million cyber security professionals around the world, but that workforce volume would need to increase by 145% to meet the global demand. Since cyber careers are in high demand, it’s important for cyber professionals to network and put themselves out thereonline. A few underrated ways professionals can use digital channels to learn are:  

 

  • Follow and engage with cyber influencers on social media (i.e.; Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook)  
  • Track topical hashtags like #cybertraining #cybersecurity #blackhat #infosec #digitalforensics #hackathons  

 Keep Learning, Connecting, Growing, Protecting  

Dramatic changes in cyber threat frequency, remote working, system access and online meetings are impacting how and where cyber professionals like yourself train and upskill. It’s important for all of us to continue to take part in being cyber-safe personally and professionally, but also to do our part in keeping the companies we work for, and the broader economy, safe from the increasing prevalence of costly cyber-attacks.

While you may be feeling overwhelmed with existing workloads, ill-equipped to address new threats, or simply feeling shut off from the rest of the world, know there are options in our expansive virtual world to connect with colleagues, build useful skills, advance in your career and help your company thrive during these uncertain and unprecedented times. You got this! 

 

Photo by Yusuf Evli on Unsplash

Real World Cyber Security Experience: From Learning to Earning

Real world, experiential learning helps students develop knowledge, skills, and abilities that they can take directly from the classroom to the workplace.

This direct connection from learning to earning is important to all students, but none more so than adult learners who have gone back to school, often while continuing to work full-time. Maybe their goal is to grow in their current job role or career. Maybe they are ramping up for a job or career change. Maybe they are exploring new interests. Regardless of motivation, after juggling the many demands of working while going to school, most adult learners expect to graduate with skills that they can immediately apply in the workforce or other direct activity.

To say that the cyber security industry is seeking skilled job candidates is an understatement.  Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 3.5 million (that’s million) unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021.   The interactive Cyber Seek website shows over 500,000 U.S. cybersecurity job openings as I write.  With gaps of this magnitude between open jobs and applicants, cyber security is a perfect discipline for educators to focus on and provide experiential learning that students can directly apply outside the classroom.

Capella University, an online university headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, recently did just that by adding a hands-on lab component to the capstone course for its BS in Information Technology, Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program.  One of their over-arching design goals was to make the course as close as possible to the “real world” of cyber security work. We are proud that they chose Project Ares by Circadence to deliver this critical element.

In a recent Circadence webinar, Dr. James W. Barker, Adjunct Faculty in the School of Business and Technology spoke in detail about the process the team at Capella went through to integrate Project Ares into their capstone course.  Project Ares enabled them to address three objectives:

  1. Give students hands-on practice using their cyber skills against a variable adversary
  2. Provide authentic learning scenarios that students could report on to demonstrate their knowledge of the attack and recommendations for future prevention
  3. Create an opportunity for teamwork and collaborative problem solving, which are essential skill requirements for cyber teams and hiring managers

“By the end of the second week of the course,” said Dr. Barker, “almost to an individual, students stated that this is the most realistic, engaging, and challenging course that they have taken.  One group was so engaged and motivated by working on the Project Ares platform that they completed their final group mission two weeks early.”

From his faculty point of view, Dr. Barker is pleased that Capella has delivered the equivalent of a formal cyber security internship and cannot envision a better means of exposing their learners to “real world” security work.  And Capella isn’t stopping here; they are considering plans to incorporate Project Ares learning exercises into other courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Check out the webinar where Dr. Barker shares more about how he set up the course syllabus and learn more about the power of Project Ares as an on-demand and hands-on learning platform ​that uses cyber range-as-a-service technology to deliver Virtual Machine-based cyber security training exercises.

 

Photo Credit: Thanks to Joshua Ness for sharing their work on Unsplash.