How to Start Cybersecurity Training
If you’re wondering how to get started with cybersecurity and whether it’s the best career choice for you, this article can be a great first step. When you’re ready to start your cybersecurity training, the online and accelerated Cybersecurity Bootcamp at Penn State Behrend will help you build the skills and hands-on knowledge you will need to break into the industry in less than a year.
But why is cybersecurity in such high demand?
In 2021 the world saw a sharp rise in cyberattacks. Businesses suffered 50% more cyberattacks per week in 2021 than the previous year. Healthcare and medical institutions have a 68% chance of receiving sophisticated email scams each week.
Breaches like these will likely increase as technology continues to play a significant role in our daily lives. The fact is, if an organization has any sort of online presence, it will need a qualified professional with expert cybersecurity training to protect its data.
This is where you can become a part of the solution and begin training for a cybersecurity career. Currently, there are over 3.12 million unfilled cybersecurity job openings around the world, and trends in data indicate this labor gap will grow by 20 to 30%. Additionally, the average salary for cybersecurity professionals in the US is about $110k a year and has increased by 16% from 2019 to 2020.
Who Can Benefit From Cybersecurity Training Programs?
Whether you’re just getting started, changing careers, or you’re looking to level up your skill set, cybersecurity training programs are an excellent option for anyone at any experience level.
You don’t have to be a tech expert to get started in cybersecurity. These training programs are great for beginners looking to gain a ground-up understanding of cybersecurity. You will be able to develop technical knowledge and refine skills you may already have, such as problem-solving, attention to detail, adaptability, and more.
Cybersecurity is an excellent choice for those transitioning from military life to civilian employment. Cybersecurity, much like the military, is an objective-driven career with clear goals and deliverables. Additionally, this career path enables a clear sense of continuity as you will still be a valuable asset in this country’s defense, protecting our vital information.
Lastly, the military instills many of the same skills and standards employers are looking for, such as discipline, threat analysis, and maintaining composure when faced with challenging situations.
Current cybersecurity professionals can benefit greatly from a cybersecurity training program. As cybersecurity techniques continue to evolve, the unfortunate truth is that the cyberattacks will similarly change and improve. Bad actors will engineer their attacks to become more sophisticated and harder to detect to adapt to the improvements made by defense experts. For example, in 2021, healthcare systems saw a sharp rise in increasingly more legitimate appearing phishing emails, which can be costly for the victims.
Current professionals must consistently improve their skills to keep up with these ever-changing cyberattacks to better defend the world on the digital stage. In addition to staying relevant in your field, upskilling can make you stand out among your colleagues and help you earn your next big raise or promotion.
How Long Does it Take to Train for a Cybersecurity Career?
Getting started in cybersecurity can depend on several varied factors. The good news is that having a college degree or even a high school degree (or GED equivalent) are no longer barriers to breaking into the field.
Many companies have begun stating either a degree or equivalent experience as a requirement on their job postings. With an online bootcamp, you could potentially enter the field after a 10-month training period.
How to Get Started
It may seem intimidating to start a new career, and that’s understandable! Here is how you can jump into cyber training regardless of your background.
1. Decide the Method
There are several viable paths you can take towards getting started in cybersecurity that depend on your current commitments, lifestyle, or financial standing.
- A Traditional four-year degree can be an excellent way to connect with like-minded peers and learn cybersecurity essentials. However, this can be a difficult path to take due to current career or familial commitments.
- You can certainly self-train and learn the basic skills on your schedule and at a lower cost. There are a variety of materials online, and with dedication, learners can find potential networking opportunities. If you are brand new to the field, the learning curve can be quite steep and can make self-training difficult.
- An online cybersecurity training program is ideal for many because of the opportunity to receive hands-on training from active industry cybersecurity experts without the considerable time commitment required by other paths.
2. Commit to a Program
The next step is to commit to the path of your choice. If you lead a busy life with a packed schedule, an online cybersecurity training program may be the best choice for you. We’ve included a few important services to consider below as you start searching for programs.
What to Look For in a Cybersecurity Training Program
- Offers networking opportunities
- Assists in practicing for cybersecurity certification exams
- Dedicated career coaching
- Designed for busy schedules
- Provides job placement assistance
At the Penn State Behrend Cybersecurity Bootcamp, you will receive all of these services and support systems while learning cutting-edge cybersecurity skills and techniques. We offer our fully online classes in the evenings and on weekends to ensure you can still fulfill your current commitments.
3. Narrow Down Potential Roles
There are many potential careers within cybersecurity, each with its own goals and specifications. To make sure your career goals align with your values and interests, it’s best to do some research on available cybersecurity jobs.
If you’re concerned about the opportunities available to you as a beginner, don’t worry, there are numerous entry-level roles to suit a variety of interests.
Entry-level Cybersecurity Roles
- Information Security Analyst
These professionals typically monitor and investigate their organization’s networks for potential breaches.
- Digital Forensic Examiner
Professionals in this role collect, process, and analyze any computer-related pieces of evidence.
- IT Auditor
This position is responsible for analyzing and ensuring that an organization’s tech runs efficiently.
- Penetration Tester
These professionals perform authorized cyberattacks on an organization’s network or computer systems to test for potential vulnerabilities.
These are just a sampling of the roles available to you once you have gained enough training. As you build experience in cybersecurity you will likely gain access to even more opportunities in the industry.
4. Build Practical Knowledge
It’s good to learn the skills and fundamentals of cybersecurity, but it’s even better to be able to apply them in a hands-on, experiential setting. While you can read about the most effective procedures and techniques, hands-on learning helps you to think on your feet. Learning by doing allows you to examine your thought processes and “feel” the situation in an organic environment.
Balancing practical, technical, and theoretical skills is the best way to succeed in cybersecurity. Knowing what techniques you can employ, how to recognize different attacks, and being able to act in the moment will develop you into a well-rounded specialist.
5. Complete Entry-Level Cybersecurity Certification Exams
Certifications are a vital part of any cybersecurity professional’s resume. They’re an excellent way for beginners to build experience in the field. Additionally, they can help refine your skills for a specific discipline or software as well as demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers.
They can also be helpful to professionals looking to upskill as these certifications can help you stay relevant in your field and open up new career opportunities.
Certifications Available to Beginners
- CompTIA certification
- Certified Ethical Hacker
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification
Become a Cybersecurity Professional with Expert Training
It’s never too late to start a career in cybersecurity! In fact, we’d say your cybersecurity training is off to a great start! By searching for resources and reading blogs such as this, you’re demonstrating your resourcefulness, and that kind of curiosity can take you far.
Still curious? We’d recommend checking out the Penn State Behrend Cybersecurity Bootcamp. You’ll receive expert-led, hands-on training in a fully online environment with personalized student support and a dedicated career services team every step of the way.
Learn about our program and download the course catalog to see how you can start a cybersecurity career in just 10 months.