Breaking into cybersecurity is a challenging journey.
This field demands a strong foundation of knowledge, relevant skills, and a proactive mindset. The road to a successful cybersecurity career involve exciting challenges. Stay persistent, keep learning, and adapt to changes in the industry.
I often speak with people trying to land their first job.
Here is a snippet of advice I shared just today with someone who has their degree and is discouraged because they have not been able to get an entry-level position. I hope my advice is helpful to others:
You are not alone. Landing the first job in cybersecurity is the most difficult. Having a degree, certs, and IT experience is beneficial and will serve you well, but most companies are looking for experienced professionals. Which is ironic, as they are sometimes hiring for “entry-level” positions. You are witnessing that mismatch!
Here is my advice:
1. Look to gain real-world experience. Volunteer for activities, take part in events, and strive to get experience that you can showcase. It makes a huge difference and you will learn a ton!
2. Purposely build your professional reputation/brand. You are already on LinkedIn, so use it. Read and post your thoughts/comments on discussions. Remember, hiring managers will look at your LinkedIn profile as much as your resume. Make it stand out by showing lots of thoughtful and professional activity.
3. Follow others in the role you want to achieve. See how they describe issues, the tools they use, how they approach problems. It will help how you see and talk about the industry, which is really important in interviews and all forms of communication. Weigh in with your insights and questions. Be active and remember continual learning is essential.
4. Build your professional network by connecting and engaging with others in the industry. Talk about issues, solutions, news events, job opportunities, etc. Help them, even if it does not help you. Contribute to make everyone stronger. That network will be an asset in your first job and during your entire career in cybersecurity!
5. Don’t give up! Keep plugging away. Check out hiring sites that work with companies to properly write job req’s, like CyberSN.com to reduce some of the frustration.
Breaking into cybersecurity is a journey that takes time and effort. Frustration is a natural part of the process, but with dedication and the right approach, you can achieve your goals in this exciting and vital field.
Matthew Rosenquist is an industry-recognized pragmatic, passionate, and innovative strategic security expert with 28 years of experience. He thrives in challenging cybersecurity environments and in the face of ever shifting threats. A leader in identifying opportunities, driving industry change, and building mature security organizations, Matthew delivers capabilities for sustainable security postures. He has experience in protecting billions of dollars of corporate assets, consulting across industry verticals, understanding current and emerging risks, communicating opportunities, forging internal cooperation and executive buy-in, and developing practical strategies. Matthew is a trusted advisor, security expert, and evangelist for academia, businesses, and governments around the world. A public advocate for best-practices, and communicating the risks and opportunities emerging in cybersecurity. He delivers engaging keynotes, speeches, interviews, and consulting sessions at conferences and to audiences around the globe. He has attracted a large social following of security peers, is an active member on advisory boards, and quoted in news, magazines, and books. Matthew is a recognized industry expert, speaker, and leader who enjoys the pursuit of achieving optimal cybersecurity. Matthew Rosenquist is experienced in building world class teams and capabilities, managing security operations, evangelizing best-practices to the market, developing security products, and improving corporate security services.