How to Get Hired as a Cybersecurity Specialist

There are many complexities involved when embarking on a career in information security these days. A well-rounded background ensures the ability to work well with marketers and web developers on a team, as well as the ability to remain flexible in terms of industries in need of cybersecurity specialists.

For example, the healthcare and genome-mapping industries are newly in need of individuals well-versed in both health and human services and information security — not merely cybersecurity skills. To get your proverbial foot in the door, you’ll have to not only be well-versed in DDoS, ransomware, cryptography, firewalls, and Linux, but you should also feel comfortable in a variety of settings, from conference rooms and corporate offices to healthcare clinics and hospitals.

Here are a few tips that will help you get started, land an interview, and finally land that entry level job in cybersecurity.

Be Open to Different Industries & Alternative Positions

You may realize this already, but Silicon Valley and Seattle aren’t the only hubs for information security analysis and cybersecurity. In fact, every major industry is being threatened by security breaches, but one that perhaps stands to lose the most is the healthcare sector.

In addition to the need for tighter security measures for healthcare apps, wearable technology, and medical databases, cybersecurity is now needed to protect highly-sensitive genetic information, as well. That’s because the genomics industry is enabling massive numbers of DNA strands to be stored online on cloud servers. According to Adam Tanner, even if these strands of DNA are de-identified, they may still be re-identifiable in the future and could potentially be used for identity theft purposes or singled out as high-risk by insurers and potential employers. Therefore, information security specialists will be crucial to the success of the genome-mapping industry going forward — lest private DNA data fall into the wrong hands.

Stay Current with Industry Trends, Memberships, and Certifications

Although cybersecurity skills are in high demand at the moment, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for a well-rounded portfolio of experience and industry contacts. That means you should not only learn about cybersecurity essentials, but according to Sean Tierney, you should also learn the fundamentals of data networks, system administration, and scripting languages like Python and Bash. Moreover, the ongoing importance of networking cannot be overstated. In addition to attending meetups and conferences, invite professionals in the industry out for coffee and ask them for advice on the latest cybersecurity concerns and industry trends.

For example, one trend in the hacking world these days unfortunately involves the darknet and black market data. From online account data to information gleaned from downloading phone apps, sometimes services that appear on first glance to be “free” come at the price of personal data distributed to marketing departments planning to target new potential customers.

Your medical data and information from discarded devices like computers and smartphones can also be used against you by malicious hackers hoping to sell your data on the “darknet,” so it’s crucial that your devices be properly wiped of existing data using a degausser — a device that uses a strong magnetic field to erase confidential data. There is even an NSA-approved list you may consult, if interested in more information.

It should go without saying, but a Google employee’s recently leaked memo, among other controversies and lawsuits in Silicon Valley, have made it clear that working well with others is the new order of business in the tech world. This new normal is becoming increasingly important in a rapidly changing world in which we interact with an increasing number of cultures, languages, and demographics on a daily basis.

In order to make it in the cybersecurity world, professionals should be aware of the need to work together, regardless of personal background or cultural differences. What other traits do you think are mandatory for prospective professionals in cybersecurity? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Image Source: Yuri Samoilov