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Cybersecurity Career Awareness

Week 3, Cybersecurity Awareness Month

By Tonia Dudley

With the large gap in the cybersecurity workforce, it’s not surprising that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advocated to reserve week 3 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month for this theme. This week ‘s theme is in coordination with the NIST National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). If you’re looking to move into one of these roles, throughout this week there won’t be any shortage of resources, many of these free, to help you navigate this journey.

You have skills. Needed skills. The first step to identifying how you can move toward a cybersecurity role is taking a look at the NICE framework. Using this framework, you’ll be able to assess the skills you already have to identify how those align to roles for you to make that step. Then start looking for job titles or descriptions that match. Leverage your network to see who might already be doing that job you desire, how they got there and if they know of others that have an opening.

For organizations looking to build out their InfoSec teams, the NICE framework is also a great resource when it comes to writing job descriptions, certification requirements, salaries or career development paths.

As someone who started a career in finance (several different roles), migrating to IT then onto information security (InfoSec), I can tell you it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips I can offer if you’re looking to make this change:

  • Making a career change to a completely different role is easiest in your current organization. Build relationships with individuals and hiring managers in your future role or department.
  • Look for shadowing opportunities. As you build your internal network, inquire if they allow “shadowing” of entry level roles so you can get an idea of what it would be like to sit in that seat.
  • Volunteer to work on special projects. This can get you exposure to the people making hiring decisions and visibility into your skills.
  • If you’re looking for a more technical role, build your “home lab.” It’s not uncommon for a leader interviewing for a technical role to ask what you are working on in your spare time. This is a great way to demonstrate your ability to learn and grow.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a lateral move. Career progression isn’t linear; it’s a wide and winding path.
  • Join industry organizations that sponsor certifications, even if you don’t yet qualify for those certs (number of years’ experience). These organizations will often provide ongoing training opportunities for free to members.

When you’re searching for your next role, don’t forget to look at cybersecurity vendors or service providers. We need individuals with your skills too! Check out our career page to openings in Sales, Software Engineering, Customer Support and several others.

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