How To Start a Career in Cyber Security: A Roadmap to Success


The continuous rise in digitization has led to an increase in cyberattacks. The solution? More cyber security professionals.

If you’re looking into career options, let us introduce you to the many roles available in cyber security. This industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors and provides jobs full of opportunities for success. Want to know how to start a career in cyber security? Read this article, and you will be equipped with all there is to know about beginning your cyber security journey.

Why Choose Cyber Security?

Cyber security is a sector with job titles consistently ranked high on the lists of the best careers. From the low unemployment to financial profits, here are some great reasons why it will be a great idea to start a career in cyber security:

High employment rates

One of the biggest incentives to choose cyber security as your career is the guaranteed available positions for the job. There is still a high demand for cyber security positions throughout different industries, as they try to battle the continuous rise of data breaches. The unemployment rate for this career dropped to 0% in 2016, and it has remained there ever since. Preparing for this career will provide you with a skill set that will enable you to find work easily and consistently.

Versatile career paths

Cyber security offers various career opportunities, and you can choose whatever aligns with your interests. Let’s say you enjoy problem solving and strategic thinking, then the path of a cyber security architect would be ideal for you. Or, if you desire to lead others and help secure systems, then you could follow the path towards becoming a chief information security officer. There are many job titles to choose from: security analyst, engineer, consultant, information security analyst, security software developer, cryptographer, and many more. Each role contributes to cyber security but they follow unique career paths.

Competitive salary

Cyber security professionals are invaluable assets to any business. So, when it comes to financial compensation, cyber security professionals are some of the highest paying professions. The average salary for cyber security professionals is estimated to be $76,808 per year in the United States.

Job satisfaction

Apart from financial profits, cyber security also offers job satisfaction. In fact, according to a workforce study, job satisfaction in the US is high. Around 71% of respondents reported being satisfied with their cyber security job, and 36% of those people reported being very satisfied. In addition, 84% of the respondents remarked that they are where they expected to be in their career, considering their experience and skills.

Cyber Security Job Outlook

Cyber security seems to have a bright outlook. Jobs in this field are in high demand, and it does not seem like the need for them will diminish in the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cyber security will experience a 31% growth rate between 2019 and 2029. The rate exceeds the average for all other occupations.

How to Get Into Cyber Security?

There is not one single path you must follow to have a successful career in cyber security. Some people start preparing early and pursue undergraduate cyber security degrees, whereas others might transition from other IT roles. So, how to get into cyber security? Well, let us introduce you to some steps you can follow. If you are determined, then regardless of when and where you start your cyber security journey, you can find ways to succeed in this career.

1. Get a degree

The most common path people take when pursuing a job in cyber security is getting a degree. Generally, such people enroll in an undergraduate program for cyber security, data science, IT, computer science, or information assurance. When chasing a higher position, some employers might require a master’s degree as well.

2. Enroll in online cyber security courses


If you are not interested in pursuing formal education in cyber security, an excellent solution would be enrolling in online courses. Such programs are available for all students, including first-time students and those changing their major or career.

Online cyber security courses are a great alternative because they are more affordable than most options while still equipping you with the basic skills required for the job.

3. Get numerous cyber security certifications

Certifications can be a big help in your cyber security journey. They show employers how dedicated you are to improving your skill set for the job. Some great certification options that have few or no requirements include:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA PenTest+
  • CySA+: CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst
  • CASP+: CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner
  • GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials
  • OSCP: Offensive Security Certified Professional

4. Develop the cyber security skills

To build a career in cyber security, you need to develop some basic cyber security skills. Some technical and non-technical skills required for most cyber security roles include:

  • Analytics
  • Networking skills
  • Programming skills
  • Data  Protection Management (DPM) skills
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving skills

5. Get practical experience

How to start a career in cyber security when you have no prior experience and can’t get a job because of it? Besides the typical pathways, there are many other cyber security internships or activities you can participate in to practice your skills and gain experience. The first step is to gain as much knowledge in the IT and cyber security field as you can, then you can:

  • Work on a basic technology project for yourself or someone else.
  • Volunteer to help organizations with cybers security services.
  • Attend cyber security competitions.

Another step is to advertise yourself and your skills. The more people know about you, the better the chances for new opportunities to gain experience.

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What Can You Do with a Background in Cyber Security?


Cyber security professionals can be found in every sector, working in various roles. If you have a background in cyber security, then you can be eligible for a great number of jobs, such as:

These positions, and many more, are most commonly found in:

  • Finance departments
  • Law enforcement departments
  • Healthcare departments
  • Education departments
  • Government agencies

The Bottom Line

Now that you know how to get started in cyber security, if you are interested, do not let your current education background or career path limit your options. As long as you develop your cyber security skills, opportunities will arise. The key to a successful career in cyber security, or any field for that matter, is simply working for it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What qualifications do I need to start a career in cybersecurity?

While specific qualifications may vary depending on the job role, a strong foundation in computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity-related fields is beneficial. Certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) can also enhance your credentials.

What skills are essential for a career in cybersecurity?

Critical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, and technical proficiency are crucial. Strong communication skills, teamwork, and staying updated on the latest cybersecurity trends and technologies are also essential.

How can I gain practical experience in cybersecurity?

Seek internships, volunteer opportunities, or entry-level positions in IT departments or cybersecurity firms. Hands-on experience with security tools, systems, and practices is invaluable. Participating in capture-the-flag (CTF) competitions and contributing to open-source projects can enhance your practical skills.

What are the different career paths in cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity offers diverse career paths, including roles such as

  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Penetration tester
  • Security engineer
  • Incident responder
  • Security consultant

Depending on your interests and skills, you can specialize in network security, application security, cloud security, or digital forensics.

Do I need to pursue higher education to succeed in cybersecurity?

While a bachelor’s or master’s degree in cybersecurity, computer science, or a related field can provide a solid foundation, it’s not always required. Practical experience, certifications, and continuous learning through self-study or professional training programs can also lead to a successful career in cybersecurity.

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