Is a Cyber Security Career Right For You?
Cyber security is one of the most rapidly advancing tech fields in the digital era. If you’re interested in a cyber security role, you might be wondering if cyber security is hard to learn. This is a valid question and we want to answer it the best way we can.
To help you in your journey through the vast field of cyber security, we’ve created this guide that contains everything you need to know. We explain what it means to be a cyber security professional and provide a list of the best education paths at your disposal as you chase your dream cyber security career.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is a tech field that deals with protecting computer systems, programs, and communication networks against attacks from hackers and cyber threats. The goal is to ensure that cyber attackers don’t gain access to important information.
Cyber security professionals prevent denial-of-service, malware, phishing, and ransomware attacks as well as credential reuse and any other activity that might compromise the security of an organization’s systems. They monitor systems and identify security vulnerabilities before the system can be breached.
Cyber security doesn’t focus on just one action; it is a combination of strategies implemented in all the systems within a company. While cyber security is a tech discipline, these experts don’t just work for tech companies. They can work in finance, education, government, or any other industry that relies on computer-based systems.
Is It Hard to Work in Cyber Security?
Yes, cyber security can be a challenging field. Being responsible for the security of a digital network, especially for a big firm, can put you under a lot of pressure. If you want to complete cyber security tasks efficiently, you need to be a resilient person who pays close attention to detail.
Is Cyber Security Hard to Learn?
Yes, cyber security is generally considered a hard subject to learn. However, with dedication and hard work, anyone can become a cyber security professional. The field requires many skills used in other tech disciplines, such as communication, systems management, and an understanding of computer systems.
How to Learn Cyber Security: Five Ways to Get Into Cyber Security
You can learn cyber security in college in an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree program. Another popular cyber security educational pathway is attending a bootcamp that offers fast-paced training. Self-study is also an option: there are hundreds of classes online that can help you gain the skills required.
Cyber Security Associate Degrees
An Associate Degree in Cyber Security is an undergraduate degree that can serve as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree. Associate degrees are usually offered by community colleges and take two years to complete. You will find plenty of online degree programs in cyber security.
The credit requirement to graduate from an Associate Degree in Cyber Security is typically 60, give or take a few credits. With an associate degree, you can get an entry-level position in many companies.
5 Best Associate Degrees in Cyber Security
- Associate in Applied Science in Cybersecurity and Computer Networks | Bismarck State College
- Online Associates of Applied Science in Cybersecurity | Prince George’s Community College
- Associates of Arts in Cybersecurity Online | Western Nebraska Community College
- Associates in Science in Cybersecurity Online | Georgia Military College
- Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity: Penetration Testing | Mount Hood Community College
Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degrees
A bachelor’s is a four-year undergraduate program and the most popular degree option after finishing high school. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security, you can get an entry-level job with slightly higher pay than someone with an associate degree.
If you already have an associate degree in cyber security, you can get your bachelor’s degree in just two years as long as you have transferable credits.
5 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Cyber Security
- Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity | Champlain College
- Bachelor’s in Cyberdefense | Davenport University
- Online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity | Maryville University of Saint Louis
- Bachelor’s in Information Technology and Security | Baker College
- Online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Maryville | University of Saint Louis
Cyber Security Bootcamps
A cyber security bootcamp is a tech institute that offers fast-paced training to determined students. The training typically lasts 12 to 24 weeks and covers the core principles of cyber security. Cyber security bootcamps also teach important soft skills to succeed in this field.
Attending a coding bootcamp gives you an edge in the job market because most bootcamps have hiring partners looking for fresh tech talent. Bootcamps also boast career preparedness services that make it easier for students to find jobs after graduation.
5 Best Cyber Security Bootcamps
- Evolve Security Academy
- Fullstack Academy
- Penn LPS Coding Boot Camp
- University of Miami Cybersecurity Professional Bootcamp
Online Cyber Security Courses
If you decide to teach yourself, you can take online classes from universities and professional cyber security experts who offer courses at relatively affordable prices. These courses are usually short, from a few hours to a few weeks.
Some online courses are introductory and some focus on specific aspects of cyber security. If you can prove to a prospective employer that you’ve mastered the core cyber security skills on your own with these courses, you stand a chance of landing an entry-level job in the field.
5 Best Online Cyber Security Courses
- Cybersecurity Specialization | Coursera
- IT Fundamentals for Cybersecurity Specialization | Coursera
- Introduction to Cybersecurity Tools & Cyber Attacks | Coursera
- The Complete Cybersecurity Course | Udemy
- The Absolute Beginners Guide to Cybersecurity 2021 — Part 1 | Udemy
Cyber Security Certifications
Professional certification in the cyber security field serves as an additional layer of validation and proves that you have master specific skills. You can look for certification in a particular cyber security sub-field or find a credential that is more general in nature.
Most certifications target experienced professionals. However, you may be able to find an entry-level certification that doesn’t require prior experience.
5 Best Cyber Security Certifications
- CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
- CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
- CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
- CompTIA Security+
- ECSA (EC-Council Certified Security Analyst)
Top 5 Entry-Level Cyber Security Jobs in 2021
|Entry-Level Cyber Security Job||Median Salary|
|Cyber Security Specialist||$111,052|
|Information Security Analyst||$99,944|
|Junior Penetration Tester||$97,838|
|Digital Forensic Investigator||$79,084|
Cyber Security Specialist
These experts are charged with securing IT systems in an organization. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to, responding to security events, detecting possible bridges, assessing cyber security risks, and monitoring systems. They provide round-the-clock network protection.
Information Security Analyst
This is a security engineer who provides system protection by installing firewalls, security patches, and new software. If they notice that the security software is compromised, they recommend a solution or new software. These experts must have good analytical skills to thrive.
Junior Penetration Tester
A penetration tester is an ethical hacker who is authorized to test security systems and search for vulnerabilities by hacking them. With permission from the company, they simulate cyber attacks and collect feedback that is used to improve the system.
IT auditors assess and analyze a company’s computer infrastructure, ensuring that they comply with industry and regulatory standards. Some companies have IT auditors on their payroll while others invite them to perform audits periodically.
Digital Forensics Investigator
A digital forensic investigator is a forensic scientist who specializes in the investigation and recovery of digital materials related to cyber crime. The data they collect is crucial and can be presented as evidence during court proceedings.
Why Start a Career in Cyber Security?
You should start a career in cyber security if you want to dive into one of the most in-demand fields in the tech industry today. Cyber criminals are learning new ways to launch attacks on companies and individuals, meaning cyber security professionals are in high demand.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that openings for cyber security roles will grow by 31 percent between 2019 and 2029. Job growth isn’t the only thing you should consider. It is also important to note that, in the United States, the average cyber security expert earns $103,590.
Is Cyber Security Hard FAQ
Why is cyber security so hard?
Cyber security is hard because it involves the complex management of risk across an IT department. Apart from technical skills, security experts are expected to be excellent collaborators since they will be working closely with almost every other department in an organization to curb cyber security threats.
Is cyber security a good career?
Yes, cyber security is a good career anywhere in the world. Becoming a cyber security expert gives you a chance to work across borders. In addition, these professionals are in high demand which means the risk of unemployment is low. Finally, cyber security professionals enjoy handsome salaries.
Does cyber security require math?
Yes, you need a strong background in math and every other STEM subject to thrive in cyber security. You will also need soft skills like time management and communication.
What major is best for cyber security?
Cyber security, computer science, information security, network administration, database management, computer programming, and computer hardware engineering are some of the best majors for a career in cyber security.