Is a Career in Cybersecurity Right for You?

One of the stated traits referenced in the bestselling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is to begin with the end in mind. If the goal of your educational journey is to end with you starting a great career then you should at least consider a career in Cybersecurity. If you are looking for a career that involves jobs that are in demand, you should consider a job in cybersecurity. If you are looking for career that is in demand everywhere you go, you should consider a job in cybersecurity.

It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 1.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States.

If you look internationally, the numbers are even more daunting. One reason that many young people overlook careers in Cybersecurity is they get intimidated by the complexity of cyber. We must keep in mind everything that you are doing for the first time appears to be complex and intimidating. There was a time when all of us were stumbling around holding on to coffee tables and walls as we tried to learn to walk. After some practice and effort, for most of us, it became so easy that most of us don’t even think about it. Learning to walk is not much different then learning most things in life. Crawl, walk, and run, anything that you are learning for the first time may seem daunting at first glance but after some exposure, practice and effort, we can learn to do most anything. If we can internalize the fact that this is the process for learning anything, life itself gets easier.

Cybersecurity jobs

There is a wide variety of cybersecurity jobs.

One of the misconceptions is that cyber jobs are limited to just “geeks”. While there are many jobs for good geeks, there are many positions for other personality types as well. The National Institute for Cyber Education (NICE) has developed a great tool that shows us what the proper career pathways are and how a cyber aspirant can proceed to their specified goal.

While there are many pathways to a successful career in cybersecurity, as an employer, I have found more success using Apprenticeship as a development tool. Development of cyber skills will require a combination of education, training and experience. This is analogous to the process of learning to drive a car. You must read the drivers manual. This is the education. You have to drive around a few parking lots or dirt roads. This is training. Then you move to driving on streets with other drivers. This is experience. If you short change any part of this three-step process, you will be an insurance company’s nightmare. As a Cyber Professional, if you make the proper investment in each step you can have a long and prosperous career.

As each of us explore career opportunities, we have to consider the long-range viability of our choices. There was a time in this country that coal mining, elevator operator and stock brokers were all great jobs. Changes in technology and lifestyles can be very disruptive. It is imperative that each job seeker considers the long-term viability of their employment pursuit. As society automates, cybersecurity will increase in importance and its viability will increase. As we see the Internet of things (IOT) extend to our vehicles, appliances, homes, toys and more, cybersecurity will increase in importance.

Currently, we see cyber related salaries skyrocketing.

This is a function of low supply and high demand. It would be my recommendation that if the only thing that is motivating you to enter into a cyber related career is money, I would say that is not enough. You should only pursue a career in cybersecurity if you can see yourself being fulfilled. Doing any job that does not provide fulfillment can lead to a miserable existence.

Apprenticeship is a great development tool to get young professionals engaged.

It requires the employer to make an investment in the employee and the employee to trust the employer to help them to develop. As the employer invests in the employee, the expectation is that the employee is going to be appreciative of the investment and will in turn be loyal to the employer long term. As an employer, I recognize that my teams are only as good as the talent that I can employ, so making this investment is not a problem.

In summary, my company made an investment into Apprenticeship and it has been a tremendous benefit to us in finding and keeping very talented people. If you are looking for a career that will be in demand and you will be able to command a better than average salary, consider Cybersecurity. If you are interested in getting connected to an employer that is going to assist you in your development consider Apprenticeship.