How to Become a Cyber Security Expert?

Since the advent of the internet, cybersecurity has drastically advanced from a nerd’s dream to a career that not only pays well but also keeps you in demand.

During the early days of the internet, it was pretty safe to browse online. Hacks were pretty rare, and those who browsed or conversed online remained pretty much anonymous. However, as the cyber world evolved, it became more and more difficult to control the growing bubble. Internet security was certainly not good enough to cover the system from being exploited.

Soon, digital thugs realized the opportunity and started practicing the art of hacking these vulnerabilities. You may have heard that wolves love to dwell at places where there are the most sheep. Criminals have the same mindset regarding unprotected rich people.

Unlike age-old theft, hacking allows cybercriminals to steal thousands, and sometimes millions, without even needing to be physically present at a location. Skilled hackers look for vulnerabilities in a company’s website or networks, and strike the moment they find the right opportunity.

With each passing day, hackers and malware are getting more and more intelligent, making it difficult for corporate companies to keep them at bay. Most realize the penalty they’ll have to pay if a hacker finds any vulnerability inside their network. Therefore, most companies prefer having a cyber security expert with them, who’ll help combat the evolving threats.

It’s prime time for individuals to consider Cyber Security Expert as a career option for their future. Becoming a cyber security expert may appear to be a bit difficult at first, but once you’ve achieved this milestone, you’ll be able to foresee any threats to the system under your care. And you’ll be able to find and eliminate any vulnerability present in the system in the most efficient way possible.

Of course, it’s not easy to become a cyber security expert overnight. It takes time learning and gathering all the information which can help you in tackling the cybersecurity issues.

Cyber world evolves more quickly than our thoughts, and so do the threats, which can only be tackled by a skilled cyber security expert. The task requires constant learning, even after you’ve reached the milestone, so you can continue to tackle new and emerging problems with relative ease.

For the benefit of our readers, we have compiled a series of important steps you need to take to become a cyber security expert. We’ve also added important and inspiring quotes in this article so you can start learning from some of the best cybersecurity specialists around the world.

How to become a cyber security specialist?

Given below are some of the fundamental steps that will help you in gaining professional improvement, as well as deep knowledge regarding cybersecurity.

Requirements for Beginners if they want to become Cyber Security Expert

Given below are the required certifications for a cyber security expert career:

Degree Level: Bachelor’s degree.

Degree Field: Computer-related.

Experience: It varies, but 1+ years would be preferred.

Cyber Security Expert Skills: Analytical, problem-solving, written and verbal communication, and organizational skills; also the ability to use network security or other related software and industry tools such as network analyzers.

Cyber Security Expert Salaries: $90,120 (2015 median of all cyber security experts).

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online

Cybersecurity Expert Career Paths

The following are the steps you’ll need to take if you want to become a cyber security specialist.

Step 1: Earn A Degree

A bachelor's degree is normally required to work as a cyber security expert. The program that you can choose include the B.S. in Information Technology Management and Cyber Security;  B.S. in Cyber security; B.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in computer and information security; and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Information Technology with a concentration in cyber security.

Classes in these programs may cover topics like UNIX and network security, cryptology, database design and administration, digital forensics and computer forensics. Some programs may also include the requirement of a senior project.

To pushup your chances for success, it’ll be helpful to complete an independent project. Many schools permit students to complete an independent research project or a senior project during their studies. Such project can allow students to obtain experience in working to resolve a computer security issue. Displaying this project or discussing its contents with potential employers can help the individual in standing out against his or her competition.

Step 2: Obtain Employment

Prospective cybersecurity experts can start their career in computer systems administration and networking or computer support positions, which typically do not require prior experience. Working as administrators can help professionals in learning how they can identify and analyze an organization's information security needs. Developing skills in training on software programs, evaluating computer systems and maintaining network security will also be helpful.

Earning certifications voluntarily may also assist an individual in advancing their career. The CompTIA Security+ offered by CompTIA, or the Network Security Administrator credentials offered by EC-Council, are available to individuals who work in the field of cybersecurity. Earning these credentials usually requires passing an exam.

Step 3: Gain an Advanced Cybersecurity Position

After obtaining a couple years of work experience, it will be possible for the individual to grow their career as a cybersecurity expert. These analysts are skilled in protecting an organization's cybersecurity situation. Their job tasks may include investigating any security breaches, developing new security standards for the organization, installing relevant security software programs, and teaching employees on how to use security software.

Cybersecurity Experts Success Stories

Now that you know how you can compete for cybersecurity expert jobs, it’s time to listen to some interesting success stories from renowned experts in the cybersecurity industry.

Eric Vanderburg Eric Vanderburg

@evanderburg

Eric Vanderburg has always been fascinated with technology. He tinkered with things growing up to figure out how they worked, occasionally breaking things along the way. This forced Eric to learn how to fix what he broke or live without it.  

Eric read computer manuals and taught himself several programming languages from library books. After writing several basic text-based computer games, Vanderburg wrote a file manager for DOS, a dial-up BBS system, and basic encryption programs for floppy disks and container files. 

Eric spent some time with Internet deviants and hackers in the 90’s and experimented with networks and systems in ways that possibly crossed a few lines. However, the allure of that life was short-lived and he soon found his calling performing security consulting. Eric consulted with businesses on technology and security to protect them from the increasing number of Internet threats and opportunities. Throughout his career, Vanderburg has been proud to work with a wide variety of companies including Dell, Carbonite, BitDefender, Microsoft, and AT&T. 

Vanderburg continued consulting throughout college, earning two undergraduate degrees, learning Japanese, then earning an MBA. He took certification exams to demonstrate credibility to his clients, earning over 40 certifications over the past two decades. His quest for knowledge never ended. Vanderburg pursued a doctorate in information assurance and continues to read articles and books on technology and security with a ravenous hunger.

Eric Vanderburg is a well-established writer, but he got his start by submitting ideas to magazines and blogging. Eric created a blog called Eric’s Cyber Soapbox, which later became his current blog, Security Thinking Cap. Vanderburg’s articles have appeared in Inc, CSO, Network World, Forbes, Business Insider, and many other publications. Vanderburg was approached by McGraw Hill in 2013 to write a Storage + guide and then a SCSP storage book. He is currently editing a book on cloud technologies. 

Vanderburg credits several mentors for a number of his successes. Mentors, he says, taught him from their experiences and helped him to avoid mistakes, set reasonable stretch goals, and critically analyze plans. He also attributes his success to the encouragement of his wife and the hard working example his parents set for him.  

Vanderburg has said that ideas need a dialogue to germinate and be refined. Only then must they be shared with the world. Eric worked with peers in the industry to form online discussion groups. As technology changed, these conversations have largely moved to social media where Vanderburg has garnished an impressive following. 

In 2006, Vanderburg joined JURINNOV to create a cybersecurity service and in 2016, JURINNOV was purchased by TCDI where Vanderburg now leads a growing cybersecurity consulting team. Eric continues to learn, write, and share knowledge. He has been the guest on radio and television programs and is frequently quoted on security in articles. Vanderburg says that every day is full of new challenges and opportunities. The key, he says, is to seize opportunities as they come and always focus on growing and improving.

Shira Rubinoff Shira Rubinoff

@Shirastweet

Shira Rubinoff – who trained in business and psychology – was a consultant to various firms in areas related to organizational dynamics, and has practiced as a psychologist.

In 2004, after witnessing the growth of phishing and other social engineering type attacks, Shira founded and served for a decade as President of online authentication vendor, Green Armor Solutions. Green Armor offers unique authentication and anti-phishing technology that leverages human psychology in their design. Within a year of releasing products, Shira grew the company to be a profitable concern; she more than doubled average deal size annually for three years consecutively, successfully executed OEM deals with major technology companies, and led Green Armor’s diversification across multiple industries. 

More recently, Shira started serving as the President of a social-media-security firm, SecureMySocial, whose technology warns people if they are making potentially problematic social media posts. Shira is also President and Co-Founder of a new tech incubator, Prime Tech Partners, which is slated to launch in September in NYC.

A recognized expert in the Human Factors of Information Technology and Security, Ms. Rubinoff was named one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business, was named by CSO Magazine as a Woman of Influence, and was honored by CSO and the EWF with their “One to Watch” award. She has also been calculated by analysts to be one of the top 5 female Cyber security & IoT influencers globally on social media.

Shira presently sits on the Boards of both the Executive Women’s Forum for Information Security and Leading Women in Technology, advocating for greater participation by women in the technology field that literally creates the future.

Shira has also published and lectured on topics related to psychology and information security, and holds several patents/patents-pending in areas related to the application of psychology to improve information technology and cyber security.

Sheheryar Ahmed Khan is a privacy enthusiast, currently affiliated with PureVPN. His reporting covers subjects related to online privacy, anonymity, and security. Also a believer in online freedom, Sheheryar likes to spend his free time streaming football matches and TV shows online.

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