4 Cybersecurity Career Paths and How to Train for Them

Published: Aug 16, 2019

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The cybersecurity industry is growing at an exponential pace—and so are cybersecurity job postings. Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, as companies in just about every industry need to protect their businesses from data breaches and cyberattacks.

If cybersecurity is a tech specialization that interests you, you should become familiar with the different cybersecurity career options and the recommended training for each.

How to get started 

There isn’t one clear way to begin a cybersecurity career; people access the industry in many different ways, from taking on a position straight out of postsecondary education to transitioning from another IT field. In any case, it’s clear that you need general IT experience so you understand how technology works. This can be gained many ways, through jobs like IT administrator, technician, web developer, and more. You should also be getting additional, specialized training and education. The more certifications you can get for certain industries that interest you, the more likely you are to be hired by the companies in those fields. Here, we explore the four main cybersecurity career options.

1. Security architect

This career path is perfect for those who enjoy solving problems and creating an overall cybersecurity strategy for a company. According to Peter Greer, an information security analyst at Write My X and Brit Student, “The main duties of security architects are designing, building, and implementing the computer and network security of a company. They are the ones who create the security structure in a way that works to fight any cyberattacks, intrusions, and malware.”

The recommended training for security architects is quite lengthy because it’s considered a senior level position. You will need accredited certifications on your resume in order to stand out to a potential hiring manager. These trainings and certifications will support the skills that you need for the role, like network security, network architecture, testing for vulnerabilities, and managing risk.

2. Security consultant

This position is a jack-of-all-trades in cybersecurity. Within a company, security consultants will run risk assessments, identifying problems and solutions to keep their data secure. This is sometimes referred to as an information security consultant or network security consultant. These people deal with many variables, but they still need to have expertise in all, showing flexibility across systems in different industries.

For security consultants, it definitely helps to get certifications on your resume because they will give you the right skills you need, like ethical hacking, encryption technology options, and protocols to prevent data breaches.

3. Ethical Tester/Hacker

These people, known as penetration testers or ethical hackers, essentially test IT systems and networks for weaknesses as if they were a criminal hacker. They simulate real-life attacks to identify gaps and weak spots in an organization so that the company can address the failure in their security system.

According to Rufus Williams, a network administrator at 1Day2Write and Next Coursework, “Penetration testers need to constantly be updating their certifications and training because cyberattack methods are constantly changing. You need to be familiar with modern ethical hacking practices, different operating systems and software, and protocols for communications and networks.”

4. Chief information security officer (CISO)

This career path is for people who want to manage a security team and lead IT initiatives within a company. Becoming a CISO is a rewarding senior level position because it comes with a lot of power and creative liberty associated with it. CISOs build their security teams and manage entire IT security programs, often reporting directly to the CIO or CEO of a company.

There is no other way about it but to get accredited certifications if you want to reach this management position. Show initiative by continuing your education with the proper certification, and show your engagement with IT security. 

A final note

There are many different career options for those interested in cybersecurity. Since cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries, it’s important to take the necessary training to get the best skills and certifications in the field. Whether you’re just getting started or about to make the move into management of an IT security team, look into the right training for you to move your career in the right direction.

Joel Syder, a security manager and writer at Origin Writingsand PhD Kingdom, writes articles sharing his expertise in the security and IT fields. He loves helping individuals and companies explore ways to enhance their network security. You can also find his work on Academic Brits.