Currently, IT jobs and careers are very competitive, and the better individuals get the best career offers. But there is still ample space for anyone interested in moulding a career in the digital sector. There are enough opportunities for those entering an IT career and those already in IT but who would like to change their job role.

The financial payload in cybercrime goes into trillions of euros, and the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing exponentially, perhaps even higher than in other areas. The only areas to compete with cybersecurity are the areas in software development and data science. It is estimated that by 2022, there will be a global shortage of between 1.8 to two million cybersecurity professionals. Other studies put this figure even higher.

By 2022, there will be a global shortage of 1.8 to 2m cybersecurity professionals

Cybersecurity is a highly interesting subject and has the potential of attracting many prospective IT professionals. The is a wide range of roles within cybersecurity, so one’s career development will always depend on the role. They include those cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity architect, cybersecurity engineer, cybersecurity researcher, cybersecurity instructor, cybersecurity technician, forensic computer analyst and penetration tester, to mention a few.

But to make it simple, let’s focus on the cybersecurity analyst career. If one is embarking on an IT career in cybersecurity, then at a minimum, one should have basic knowledge about operating system security, such as Windows, Linux, etc. After this, one should learn about network technology to acquire a good knowledge of the network basics. Having access to hardware would be essential to get the right experience. In the meantime, one should take up basic industry certifications. 

I would suggest CompTIA Fundamentals, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Network+. This will give one enough knowledge breadth to jump-start a career in cybersecurity. As a foundation, one would need to have one to two years of experience. Going one step up to the intermediate level, one should consider CompTIA CySA+. Additionally, I would recommend the CREST Practitioner Threat Intelligence Analyst certification. Supplemented by CompTIA Cloud+ and CompTIA Server+, and with two to three years’ experience, one would make an excellent cybersecurity analyst.

Carrying on with up to five years of experience and getting certified even further with something like the CREST Registered Threat Intelligence Analyst would enable the person to get an advanced position. And if one would like to become an expert, I would suggest going in for the (ISC)2 CISSP and CREST Registered Threat Intelligence Manager.

Developing a career through industry certifications would make a professional complete and ready to meet industry requirements. Of course, there is an academic route by going in for a computer science degree that emphasises cybersecurity or for a computer science degree and master’s in cybersecurity. This is another career door one can open. One can then complement the career with some of the above-mentioned industry certifications. As mentioned, different job roles require different certifications and emphasis, but this applies to any career route.

This article was prepared by collating various publicly available online sources.

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