A common question I get all the time is...
How can I get a job in cybersecurity without any experience?
You spend all this time acquiring IT certifications or degrees only to find out that no one will accept your application for an interview.
How frustrating 😤
Well, in this blog I am going to share with you 3 tips that helped me break through into cybersecurity that I think are NOT talked about enough.
Here we go...
Tip #1: Learn a Valuable Skill 📚
Here's the deal... A company is hiring for a cybersecurity professional because they have a problem they need solved.
I know this sounds like common-sense but, sometimes we need to be reminded of the big picture in order for us to set an objective.
That objective being... you getting a job in cybersecurity, of course 😉
When a company is hiring for a cybersecurity position, it is because they need someone to help the organization secure their data, protect their digital assets, and guide the leadership and various teams within the company through the ever-shifting landscape of data security & privacy laws.
This means that in order for you to be considered for that cybersecurity position, you need to know how to solve the problem that company is struggling with.
Notice here, NOT ONCE did I mention anything about getting a certification.
Thats because certifications do nothing more than prove that you passed a multiple-choice exam.
It doesn't show that you can solve a problem.
I'm embarrassed to say, but it took me years to realize this.
In November 2022, Meta (Facebook & Instagram) got hit with a $277 million fine due to a data breach that compromised 500 million users' personal information.
How about that little Cyberattack that knocked out the Colonial Pipeline in 2021?
Do you think these organizations were interested in whether their cybersecurity staff could pass the CompTIA Security+ or CISSP exam?
I'm going to say probably not...
They were probably more interested in finding professionals who knew what they were doing and could prevent that data breach from happening again.
That being said, my first tip to you if you are trying to get into cybersecurity is to learn the cybersecurity skills that are in high demand.
Not sure which ones to pursue? Here is a short list to get you started...
- Cloud Security
- Application Security
- Threat Intelligence
- Governance, Risk, and Compliance
- Penetration Testing
Okay... So hopefully by now I've given you something to chew on regarding the pursuit towards skills vs. certifications. If you are considering this new found pursuit to developing cybersecurity skills, I'd consider subscribing to my blog and my YouTube channel. I am going to be dropping some pretty mind-blowing knowledge bombs to help you accelerate your career in cybersecurity.
Tip #2: Leverage Your Background 👨🏽💻
If you have a background in another profession, you may actually have a leg up on your competition when applying to a new role in cybersecurity.
When I was transitioning into Cybersecurity, I had 2.5 years of undergraduate medical studies and 4 years of experience shadowing Primary Care Physicians and Surgeons.
While I didn't end up pursuing a career in the medical field, it did help me standout amongst my competition when applying for an application security role supporting Otsuka, one of the largest Pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Because I had been studying cybersecurity for software and cloud environments and had preexisting knowledge in medical terminology and HIPAA compliance.
So that being said, if you have a background in another industry, find a way to leverage that to your advantage.
This may end up becoming an Unfair Advantage that others do not have and can give you a leg up in the long run.
Tip #3: Find a Mentor 👨🏻🏫
"Your mentors in life are important, so choose them wisely."
- Robert Kiyosaki
Everyone in life has leveraged a mentor in one capacity or another.
Whether its someone you paid directly to coach you in a sport or new skill or someone you studied and modeled after indirectly... Truth is we all have some sort of mentor who we have allowed to influence our lives for better or for worse.
I personally look at a mentor kind of like a recipe for a new dish 🍲.
Can you make the meal without the recipe? Sure...
But if you follow the recipe, that new dish is probably going to turn out a whole lot better!
When I was going into cybersecurity, I had several mentors both directly and indirectly close to me that made a huge impact on the trajectory of my career.
To those accessible, I would go and ask questions and learn from them.
To those not so direct, I would spend countless hours studying their life choices, mistakes, and victories to get an understanding of how they thought and what made them tick.
You can do this too.
As a matter of fact, I highly encourage it.
There are going to be so many questions and pitfalls that you will encounter along your journey into cybersecurity... having someone you can bounce ideas off of will really help you avoid some of the common mistakes new cybersecurity professionals make when getting into the industry.
💌 Wrapping Up
At the end of day, there is no right way to getting into cybersecurity.
But if you are certain this is something that you want to pursue, these 3 tips really helped me and I think will really help you too!
If you find this newsletter useful and know other people who would too, I'd really appreciate if you'd forward it to them 🙏
Thanks for reading!