At a time when layoffs are painfully common, now might not seem like a great time to look for a new job or switch careers. Or, is it?

The cybersecurity skills gap has not gone away, and companies of all kinds are in need of people with knowledge in this area. And, it’s not just the wealth of jobs that make a cybersecurity career compelling right now. An increasing number of companies are offering remote options, which means location is less of an obstacle to someone with the right qualifications. 

If you don’t have the skills to jump into a new career right away, now is an ideal time to get training. Most cybersecurity skills training and certifications are offered online, which makes these education opportunities accessible to a wider variety of people.

No matter where you are in the world, there are options available for learning new skills, and for finding a high-paying and satisfying career in the security industry.

Cybersecurity Career Initial Steps

Whether you’re just starting to consider a cybersecurity career or you’re looking to level up your existing skills, there are a few things you can do to gain experience without already having the job you want to move into. The strongest approach is a combination of these four strategies: 

1. Certification

One of the most straightforward ways of getting credentials to show you have the knowledge you need to succeed is by getting a certification that applies to the position you’re looking for. This is especially helpful for entry-level or junior security positions.

2. Online Training

A growing number of students say finding and being accepted to a cybersecurity or computer science degree program in person is increasingly difficult. The increased availability of online degree programs is making a huge difference in removing this bottleneck, as class sizes are not limited in the same way in-person learning is. 

3. Volunteer Your Time and Expertise

There’s never been a better time to volunteer your time and expertise. Many organizations, especially non-profits, are struggling to keep their data and systems safe online while their staff is working remotely. Many individuals could also use your help navigating the online world safely.

You can build a home network or lab, create tools, participate in open-source projects, make demonstrations videos, participate in cybersecurity competitions or write blogs to document your learning process. All of this experience can looks good on a resume, as it demonstrates your drive as well as your skills. By sharing your experiences publicly, you can increase your visibility within the security community.

4. Networking

Most people in this industry will tell you the best way to get a job in cybersecurity is to know and someone already working in the field. There are many online groups, including forums, where you can mingle with security practitioners who could introduce you to your next job opportunity. 

The potential for making a difference in the world as a cybersecurity professional has never been greater. We have collectively had to make a huge leap into being more virtually connected, with very little advanced planning. By joining this industry or increasing your existing skillset, you have the opportunity to protect a lot of people who desperately need your help.

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