How Hard Is It To Get A Job In Cybersecurity?

How Hard Is It To Get A Job In Cybersecurity?

This article is sponsored by NTT.

The word ‘cybersecurity’ is undeniably a little intimidating. For many, it probably evokes a scene from an early 2000’s movie in which a few monstrous desktop computers receive a massive ‘ERROR’ sign. Or, it might call to mind this iconic ad from yesteryear.

But what does cybersecurity actually entail? And how hard is it to get into the industry if you’re not a seasoned hacker (who uses their powers for good, obviously)?

According to John Karabin, Senior Director of Cybersecurity from NTT (a global technology and business solutions provider), it’s one of the fastest-growing facets of the digital world. However, there is currently a serious skills shortage in the space, and those with experience in various fields are both needed and wanted right now.

Here’s a deeper look into what getting a job in cybersecurity looks like.

Gizmodo: What is cybersecurity?

John Karabin: Cybersecurity is such a broad field that there are many ways you can define it. The best definition is an all-encompassing one — cybersecurity is the process and technologies whose mission is to keep a digital environment safe from bad actors.

Is it difficult to get into cybersecurity as a career?

It’s not difficult to get into because jobs are abundant within the industry. Our industry is currently suffering from a skills shortage, which may be a mix of the increasing need for cyber roles and a reluctance of people to go down the cyber career path. It may be a perception issue that a job in cybersecurity is highly focused or super niche, but it’s not. You are essentially at the front end of threats — similar to a first responder — so it may not be for everyone, but there’s a wide variety of jobs you can fulfil depending on your skillset and ambition.

Last year, women only made up 25% of the global cybersecurity workforce. We can never have enough cybersecurity experts as the industry constantly evolves and expands. Therefore, it’s important to encourage diversity and avoid a homogenous workforce to encourage the innovation and creativity required to work in this industry.

What kind of jobs are available in the cybersecurity space?

There’s the human side, such as lawyers with their cyber divisions. Then, there are the deep coders, also known as the DecSecOps pros, who learn about weaknesses in firmware and software. Finally, there are incident responders and ethical hackers who conduct vulnerability tests and penetration tests where they attempt to break into systems to test the strength of an organisation’s cyber protection.

You also have those working in governance risk and compliance — people who help set up the structure of an organisation on an architectural level.

What sort of skills are essential to work in the cybersecurity space?

Being a force of nature and having energy will be a strong driver in your success as a cybersecurity professional, especially if you’re starting. It’s a vibrant and active career with many climactic moments, especially when something like a breach occurs.

It’s essential to be curious and desire to see the bigger picture. Cybersecurity can be interesting for people interested in understanding how the dots connect.

The classic stereotype of a cyber professional is an introvert. However, extrovert characteristics are just as important because of the need to communicate effectively with non-cyber security people within the business.

What steps should someone wanting to get into the industry take to get there?

The industry is strongly mission-driven, so it’s important to understand that your role is to protect against threat actors. You’ll need to be curious and aware of technology, but don’t let the technical side scare you. Do some desktop research on what different roles are available and what each one offers.

Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door and expose yourself to the cyber world. NTT offers one with Deakin University, and most recently, NTT was ranked the #1 Top Intern Programs 2022.

It’s a great way to gain a better understanding of the breadth of what you can do in a cyber career. Additionally, more universities and TAFEs are offering courses that will help boost your credentials and also offer networking opportunities.