The digital age that we live in today offers a lot of comforts as well as dangers. We generate an enormous amount of data every day and gathering that information doesn’t require much effort. You must have already come across links that redirect you to an unsecured website asking you to fill in sensitive information. You can fall prey to cyber attack by clicking on such links. Knowledge of cyber security can help prevent these attacks.
Cybersecurity, a part of information security, refers to the processes and activities performed to secure computer systems and networks from unauthorized access or cyber attacks. Robust cyber security has become a necessity for every organization since there have been numerous cases of data breaches all across the world. According to a news report, a total of 12449 data breaches were confirmed during the year 2018, which was 424% increase in comparison with 2017. Renowned names like Facebook, Google, and Marriot too appeared on the list of companies facing cyber attacks. This explains why the need for cyber security is at an all-time high.
The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has predicted that there will be a demand of 1 million cyber security professionals by 2020 in India alone. With the widening skills gap, time is ripe for professionals to gain expertise in cyber security concepts and contribute their efforts in mitigating any data breach that occurs in an organization.
There are many cyber security jobs available for individuals who are starting their career in IT security. Some of the job roles included in this field are:
- Information Security Analyst
- Security Engineer
- Security Architect
- Penetration Tester
- Security Administrator
- Security Software Developer
- Chief Information Security Officer
While the responsibilities for each role may vary depending on the organization you work for, some of the common tasks handled by a cyber security professional include:
- Planning security measures for computer systems and networks
- Monitoring computer systems for any unusual activity, phishing, or malicious emails
- Stay updated with the latest techniques used by hackers to compromise the data
- Design a disaster recovery plan to be followed in case of emergencies
- Increase awareness among team members regarding security processes
- Ensure that there is no data loss or service interruptions in the organization
- Inform the management about any security enhancements required in the existing systems
As the techniques used by hackers continue to become advanced, cyber security professionals need to upgrade their skills to remain relevant in the job market. The growing adoption of digitalization has led to newer ways of penetrating computer systems and compromising sensitive information. Dealing with such a vulnerable environment requires a candidate to have exceptional skills in securing networks. Some of those skills include:
- Have an in-depth understanding of web applications, penetration testing, networking, system administration, operating systems, etc
- Stay up-to-date with the latest best practices regarding privacy and security regulations
- Ability to dig into the system and find any ongoing suspicious activity and take the necessary steps to mitigate them
- Vulnerabilities assessment skills to prevent any possible cyber attack
Certifications in Cyber Security
Individuals willing to enter the cyber security domain generally have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or any related field. Certain organizations prefer candidates with an advanced degree like Master of Business Administration in Information Systems for a cyber security job. There are many recognized certifications in cyber security which can help you validate your knowledge and skills.
Cyber Security Career Learning Path
CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
Offered by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council), the Certified Ethical Hacker certification is ideal for entry-level professionals looking out for their first cyber security job. Ethical hackers look into the vulnerabilities of the computer systems and networks and protect them from any possible threats. Aspirants should pass the 312-50 ECC Exam to obtain the CEH designation.
CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
This credential is offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). Aspirants need to be well versed in topics like information security management, information security incident management, information risk management, and more. Professionals who wish to achieve this certification should have at least five years of experience in the security domain. They should then pass the CISM exam which consists of 200 multiple choice questions.
It is also an entry-level certification for which aspirants need to learn about the network security concepts, access controls, threat management, and more. To achieve this certification, candidates need to pass the SY0-501 exam. It is preferred to have work experience of at least 2 years in network security domain before preparing for this certification.
CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium or (ISC)2 provides the CISSP certification. It is a highly regarded certification for cyber security practitioners. This certification validates your knowledge in building, guiding, and handling security standards and policies of an enterprise. Appearing for the CISSP exam requires the candidate to meet a certain experience level in information security.
Cyber Security Jobs – Salary Earned
Regardless of the certification you pursue, you are paving the way to a high paying career by exploring the world of cyber security. As per Glassdoor, the average salary earned by a Cyber Security Engineer is $1,29,847 in the United States. For other related roles, the salaries are:
- Cyber Security Analyst – $80K
- Information Security Engineer – $114K
- Information Security Analyst – $81K
- Network Security Engineer – $83K
By looking at the above figures, you can do a huge favor to your career by becoming a cyber security professional.
Companies have now understood the importance of hiring cyber security talent looking at the current scenario of IT security. As new variants of malware are being developed every year, you can start thinking like a hacker and protect your organization’s systems against any such threats. Wait no more! Take up a cyber security course and plunge into this promising career.