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Do you ever wonder what it takes to join the world of computer security and defense? Cybersecurity is a hot topic in today’s pervasive digital world. In fact, it's one of the fastest-growing industries globally. Predictions place spending on endpoint security tools at $128 billion by the start of 2021 and spending on cloud security tools at $12 billion by 2023.
With this demand, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue the information security profession. Not only is there plenty of work, but the work comes with a sense of accomplishment in knowing that you’re a part of a greater good. Learning how systems work and how to make them safer can be rewarding as both a career and a hobby. Whether you want to change careers or explore an interest, here are five tips to immerse yourself in the cybersecurity field.
BUILD YOUR SKILLS
Cybersecurity is constantly changing. A passion for lifelong learning and a strong work ethic is a must for information security professionals. Staying ahead of the bad guys means keeping up with the changing threat landscape and the tools necessary to stop malicious actors in their tracks.
Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable cybersecurity training resources to choose from. Attending workshops, seminars and specialized training on a regular basis can help level the gap in your skills or knowledge. Additionally, classes can offer a wealth of information at your fingertips. Harvard and other Ivy League universities offer cybersecurity courses that are entirely online, allowing you to connect with top educators without leaving home.
ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY
Getting involved with groups, meetups and forums is a great way to engage with the cybersecurity community and get to know the field. LinkedIn has several online forums that can help professionals keep up with the latest in digital forensic, incident response, job opportunities, training and more.
SANS Industrial Control Systems offers a community forum where professionals discuss current security events, share tips, ask questions and connect with others who are passionate about securing the critical infrastructure. The forum aims to equip professionals with the security awareness, work-specific knowledge and hands-on technical skills they need to secure automation and control system technology.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
There are a plethora of resources for aspiring cybersecurity professionals looking to master the fundamentals and gain experience in the field. These free resources will supplement learning and keep you up to date on the latest industry trends and topics.
From blogs and webinars to easily accessible training courses and eBooks, keeping yourself well-versed on cybersecurity topics has never been easier. Cybersecurity resources help both newcomers and professionals stay informed, secure and sharp.
ATTEND FREE EVENTS
Conferences are an important part of any industry, giving professionals the opportunity to learn about new developments, get valuable insights from leading experts and network with other professionals. In few fields do conferences play such an important role as they do in cybersecurity.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are virtual events that you can attend from the comfort of your own home or office. Even at virtual events, there’s an opportunity to meet other cybersecurity experts and build your network. To successfully leverage your attendance, publicize your attendance pre- and post-event on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Make sure to take advantage of the event’s mobile app or webpage, many of which have community boards. Take the extra step to peruse the community board’s participants and add them on your socials. Lastly, participate in message boards during seminars. Your question or comment could lead to a new connection or spark an informative discussion.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Navigating today’s cybersecurity resources can be a major challenge. Webpages, white papers, tweets, podcasts and blogs — the list goes on. In such a dynamic space, it is hard to stay up to date on current events and topics. Cybersecurity is a complex topic with constantly evolving strategies and several blind alleys you want to avoid. To stay abreast of the latest and greatest, follow cybersecurity experts who are thought leaders, accomplished speakers and active in the cybersecurity arena.
Cyber threats and their countermeasures are always evolving — there’s no end to what you can learn. Once you feel that you’ve mastered the basics of the field, begin thinking about ways to further integrate this knowledge into your decision-making and leadership.