28 Bits and Bytes About Cybersecurity Careers You (Probably) Didn’t Know

According to a report from ProtectWise and Enterprise Strategy Group, only 9% of millennials said they are interested in pursuing a cybersecurity career at some point in their lives. Much of the reasoning behind the low percentage of cybersecurity professionals is due to lack of awareness around cyber. Many are aware of other computer-related fields including video gaming, engineering and IT but “cyber” never quite rises to the top of the list during career path conversations with aspiring professionals.

To bring cybersecurity to the surface as a strong and lucrative career option for young professionals, we’ve taken the liberty to share some fast facts and fun things about the industry.

Fast Facts About the Cybersecurity Industry

·     The market is expected to grow to over $300 billion by 2024 according to a report from Global Market Insights

·     The demand to fill cyber jobs is great – over 300,000 cyber positions are available in the U.S alone

·     There are 33 distinct areas of cybersecurity work according to NIST/NICE

·     The national average career salary is $93,000 (on the low end) for a security-related position in the U.S. according to the Robert Half Technology’s 2019 Salary Guide

·     Earning cyber certifications like CompTIA Security + Certification and Certified Information System Security Professional is highly regarded and respected amongst prospective employers (impress the hiring manager and prove your value)

·     Information security jobs are expected to increase by 32% through 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Technical Abilities and Knowledge Needed for the Cybersecurity Industry

·     IT fundamentals like system and web application administration

·     Coding skills (C, C++, Java, Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP)

·     Understanding network architecture, administration and operating system functionality, policies, performance, and features

·     Database knowledge from permissions access to structure to storage security

·     Understanding of how attackers operate and function

·     Foundational understandings of things like risk management, networking basics, toolkit maintenance and situational awareness of what’s happening in the industry today

Professional Skills Needed for the Cybersecurity Industry

·     Leadership – Call the shots alongside a team of cyber pros to build decision-making skills

·     Communication – Articulate what and how threats need to be mitigated to teams

·     Analytical thinking – Reflect and continuously learn the hacker mindset to grow your understanding of why and how attacks happen

·     Passion for learning and developing skills – Learning never stops as long as technology keeps advancing. You’ll find new ways to secure assets and data with every keystroke and software update

·     Determination – You’ll want to protect critical assets just as your own PII is at stake (imagine having your own bank account hacked and wanting to do something proactive about it)

·     Collaborative – You’ll likely work alongside a crew of cyber enthusiasts, and will need to work in harmony in order to keep security posture hardened

·     Writing – Developing reports to roll up to your security and business supervisor will require stellar writing skills so they can understand the technical jargon in laymen’s terms

The Benefits of a Cybersecurity Career

·     You’re never bored—there’s always an attacker to stop or a vulnerability to assess

·     You get to learn about and use cutting-edge technology

·     There’s always a new challenge to tackle (and if you’re a problem-solver, this is fun!)

·     You’ve likely got job security as positions like information security analysts and penetration testers are in demand in every industry

·     You can advance in your expertise as a professional (there’s no limits to moving up the ladder or laterally across it to grow in knowledge and abilities)

·     Remote work in cybersecurity is prevalent as cloud-based services and VPNs are expected parts of how companies operate today—you can live and work anywhere

·     A cyber career straddles both public and private sectors, so you can have the benefits either division brings based on your professional preference

·     Increasing your value in cyber is easy with persistent training platforms like Project Ares that can complement degree programs and virtual, online courses

·     Recruiters will look for candidates on LinkedIn so if you think you’ll have a sweet gig out of college or your school training, just wait. Google might call. No, seriously.

Getting a job in cybersecurity doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. If you haven’t been taught the basics and/or are looking to change careers for something different, launching a cybersecurity career can start with basic learnings that lead to more formal training, certifications, and skills development. And there are several online resources for developing security competencies that are free or at minimal cost. These can be complemented with cyber range training to expedite learning to land the cybersecurity job you want.

In addition to your own search about how to start a cyber career, NIST/NICE is kicking off National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week (November 11-16, 2019) by asking for commitments from businesses and professionals: commitments to promote the awareness and exploration of cybersecurity careers via event hosting, sharing materials on social media or distributing creative assets. Be on the lookout for these businesses sharing important details about job postings, hiring in their own company or distributing materials and advice to help career searchers learn, grow, discover, and thrive in this dynamic industry.

Happy cyber career searching!

Photo by Danial RiCaRoS on Unsplash
Photo by Fabian Grohs on Unsplash

Living our Mission Blog Series: Hitting a Home Run with Circadence’s Security Management, thanks to TS Reed, Cybersecurity Engineer

The journey to cybersecurity engineer has been an exciting one for Circadence’s TS Reed. The former baseball pro turned security tech expert found his passion for problem solving at Circadence. After completing an undergraduate degree in criminology at Cal State Northridge, he pursued a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at CSUN and then a master’s in cybersecurity engineering from the University of San Diego.

TS started as an intern at Circadence and was quickly onboarded as a full-time employee for his technical prowess, adaptability, and knowledge of modern security functions and processes. For the past three years at Circadence, TS has monitored the company’s network security, tested the security of its products (including Project Ares) and learned how and what to look for to stay one step ahead of attackers.

“It’s impossible to be bored in this job. Security is always changing: the way people build it, the way people attack it. You have to continuously learn and teach yourself the latest and greatest practices,” said TS.

But cybersecurity management wasn’t always in the stars for TS. Prior to joining Circadence, TS coached division one baseball at the University of San Diego and was also an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. A Cal State Northridge Alum, TS was a well-respected baseball player, hitting home runs in the athletic industry (named a CIF California Player of the Year and a Division 1 All-American at CSUN) with the fourth highest batting average at the 2008 Big West Conference. After college he went on to play one year of professional baseball in St. Louis for the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League.

He traded in his baseball cleats for cybersecurity after discovering the inherent problem-solving nature of the field—a part of the job that greatly intrigued TS to dive into a completely new field of study and long-term career trajectory.

For TS, one of the best ways to “win the game” in the security field is to think like a hacker. By understanding what vulnerabilities they look for to exploit and why, security engineers like TS, know how to harden systems and deploy preventative measures beforehand. And while open forum online communities help TS and other security professionals “understand the mind of a hacker” there is always a level of uncertainty he has to deal with.

“Hackers are attacking constantly and finding new ways to infiltrate networks,” said TS. “We have to stay as close to them as possible,” he adds.

While TS’ professional journey has been unconventional at best, he has noticed many lessons from his baseball career that have translated into the cyber arena.

“Teamwork is huge; I learned early on in baseball that every teammate receives things differently. You have to take the time and care enough to figure out how your team members communicate. [In cyber security], everyone communicates differently too. Both in receiving communication and externally communicating. Step one is always getting a feel for that in order to be as effective as possible when communicating with teammates/team members.”

Likewise, TS learned that in baseball, a player’s own skill level and performance weren’t the sole indicator of how “good” a teammate was. The greatest measure, he says, is how effective one is at making others better and serving them.

“To be good at and handle your job is one thing but whenever you have a team involved, the greatest measure of a player or cyber employee is the capability to lift up those around them and make them better,” he advises. Empowering teammates, teaching them, and learning from them is the approach he lives by at Circadence.

We are proud to have TS as part of the Circadence family and know while he’s not hitting balls out of the park at the stadium, he’s hitting home runs with Circadence, hardening its cyber security posture.

Photo by Joey Kyber on Unsplash