How Do I Become a Cyber Security Professional?

How Do I Become a Cyber Security Professional?
How Do I Become a Cyber Security Professional?

The prevalence of cyber threats in forms like ransomware and various malicious softwares is much more active today than what it used to be 5 years back. This has laid a great deal of responsibility on cyber watchdogs, who are responsible for tracking such intrusions, reporting them, and immediately targeting them through their solutions. But how does one get into this role of a cyber watchdog?

Being a cyber security professional is an extremely rewarding career, both in terms of reputation as well as the salary it offers. Employees serving in these roles in an organization have a lot of burden on their head, and thus deserve all of this. The quickest way to become a cyber security expert would be to join an online Cyber Expert Course, appear for an interview and get the job. However, this won’t be long lasting as you would not be giving enough time for your overall grooming.

Online certification courses are essential and basic building blocks in your Cyber Security journey, but they need to have various addons. Before joining any online certification, you need to have your basics clear about the industry, understand what all skills are being demanded, which organizations offer such roles, and what would be the actual work you would be doing. After all, cyber security isn’t really about wearing a black hoodie and just working on your laptop.

Below we are discussing key aspects of cyber security which you need to entertain before jumping into this sector. Have a look.

What is Cyber Security?

IT sectors like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Data Science and Cyber Security have a very fascinating appeal. Students, especially those still pursuing graduation, easily get lured towards this before giving an understanding to what the sector is all about. It is important to know what you are heading towards.

Cyber Security is the practice of protecting computer systems and networks from threats, data leaks, hacking, malicious malwares, or any other misuse by any one. The attacks can be targeted upon the hardware, the software and even upon the stored data files, 3rd one being the most common scenario. IBM has divided cyber security into 7 subfields, thus giving a better understanding of the entire sector.

  • Network Security: This subfield focuses on securing both wired and wireless networks, for example Wi-Fi.
  • Application Security: In this subfield, cyber experts keep a check on the applications in a system, even if those applications are pre-installed and operate without an internet. It is also to be checked what actions are being performed by these applications and what all data they are accessing.
  • Critical Infrastructure Security: This is an overhaul of all the fields, including hardware, software, network, and all other assets.
  • Information Security: Cyber experts, here, deal with data sets and the information stored in them, the major work being protecting information from any leak or theft.
  • Cloud Security: Businesses are placing their servers on cloud services like AWS, Azure, GCP, and thus the security of cloud becomes of paramount importance. This subfield focuses solely on this.
  • End-User Education: Cyber Security is not just about controlling the threats but also making people educated about how to stay safe. This field is generally entertained by people from all other sections.
  • Disaster Planning: This is the backup plan for any sudden threat of a very large scale. For example, past cases like WannaCry which have put the entire world on its heels.

The cyber security market is getting bigger at a Cumulative Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.7% and is expected to touch $350 billion cap by 2026 [Source: Markets and Markets]. This makes the craze among students obvious, but as we said, it is imperative to clear your basic knowledge before you step into the ring.

How Do I Become a Cyber Security Expert?

Once you have all the prerequisite knowledge about the sector, it is time to learn about what all is expected from you and how you can achieve all those milestones. The most important thing is skill building so let’s discuss that.

Cyber Security Professional – Skills Required

A part of the IT sector, Cyber Security asks for some basic skills like Programming, Networking in addition to some high-level skills. Described below are some key skills required in this sector.

  • Programming: Coding is one field which you cannot skip and you need to have an expertise in this. Some of the preferred languages are Python, Assembly, JavaScript, C++, etc.
  • Networking: This forms an essential component of a computer system which can be hijacked. You should be familiar with Firewalls, IP Addresses, HTTPS, TCP Communication, VPNs, Intrusion Prevention Systems, etc.
  • Ethical Hacking: To catch your attackers, you need to think like them and always stay 1 step ahead. Ethical Hacking allows you to penetrate your own systems, with due authorization from the management, so that you can discover loopholes and bugs which can be exploited by a potential hacker.
  • Communication Skills: Cyber Security role will ask you to deal with various people and coordinate with various departments. Thus, you should have good communication skills so that you can put your ideas and interjections across the table.

Online Courses

For building skills, you need to join an online certification course. Such courses give you a comprehensive learning at one place, including all the essential study material. Online courses these days are also coming with hands-on exercises for students. Many websites do tie-ups with companies like IBM and Facebook, thus offering industry exposure also. Some of the popular Cyber Security courses are listed in the table below.

Course NameProviderDurationFees
Cyber Security ExpertSimplilearnSelf-paced for lifetime₹75,499
IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional CertificateCoursera + IBM8 months (Self-Paced)Coursera Subscription
The Complete Cyber Security Course: Hackers Exposed!Udemy12 hours₹490
Introduction to Cyber SecurityFuture Learn + The Open University, England8 weeks (3 hours/week)$23.33/month
MicroBachelors® Program inCybersecurity FundamentalsedX + New York University1 year₹1,02,224

These courses give an overall grooming, and many of them also come with EMI options, thus making learning affordable.

Cyber Security is a field which is always updating itself. What is true today might not hold tomorrow. Therefore, it’s better to quickly build your skills and then adapt yourself to this changing sector. The more you adapt, the more you are able to feel like your attackers and thus make better decisions.

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