How to get into cyber security.

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With the rise of new technology, companies are using computers and online tools to perform core functions and need protection from cyber attacks on their systems. Cyber security is an increasingly competitive field and demand for cyber professionals continues to rise. A career as a cyber security professional can provide you with many opportunities. Catena Media’s InfoSec team has gathered their top tips on how to get into cyber security. 

1. Decide if cyber security is the career for you

There are many cyber security clichés floating around in the media… hooded hackers operating in the shadows of society, geeky graduates earning €100,000 straight out of university, and suited and booted executives sweating it out in the boardroom. But how much of it is true? The reality is somewhere in between. 

Cyber security spans across a significantly larger space than people tend to think, with many different roles available. Have a non-STEM background? There’s a role for you. Like working on varied projects? There’s a role for you. As long as you’re open to learning new things, meeting new people and getting stuck in, there are many roles for you to discover. 

Researching the experiences of existing cyber security professionals can go a long way in helping you determine whether it might be the career for you. Weigh up the pros and cons, read about a typical day.

2. Get a foundational education

Despite what you may believe, it’s not necessary to have a degree to get into cyber security. There are many courses available online that offer a foundational or even advanced cyber security education for free and at your own pace. The ‘Introduction to Cyber Security’ course offered by The Open University via FutureLearn is a good start.

3. Consider your role

Once you have some foundational cyber security knowledge under your belt you may begin thinking about the role you might like to get into. Finding your forté or area of interest early on is a bonus, but not necessary to succeed. There will always be opportunities to change your role later on down the line. In fact, it’s encouraged, and you’ll find many seasoned cyber security professionals have performed various different roles during their career. If you have a long-term goal of where you’d like to be, mapping out a pathway early might help you stay motivated and on-track.

4. Consider getting a certification

Although not required, attaining an industry certification can go a long way in helping you bolster your cyber security knowledge, try your hand at practical application (in some instances), and secure your first position. A popular choice for those starting out is CompTIA’s Security+ certification.

5. Get some experience

As with any career, experience is key. Currently, the competition for junior positions is quite high, so ensure you demonstrate your commitment to the field as much as possible in your application. If you are able to include not just what you’ve learnt so far but the practical application of that knowledge (even if just in your home lab) it will give you an edge as an applicant. 

Don’t forget to also work on your soft skills. Cyber security is as much about knowing how people work as it is technology. If you are having trouble securing your first position, consider applying for IT positions too; these tend to have a lower barrier to entry and can help give you that initial step up.


Catena Media currently has multiple open positions to join our Information Security team, so be sure to check them out and apply if you are interested.