In recent years cybersecurity has really come into the spotlight. It has made it into mainstream media courtesy of a growing list of high profile cyberattacks. What is it like to be a cybersecurity professional though? Despite the limited representation in popular culture, cybersecurity probably isn’t what you think.
As you work towards a career in cybersecurity, leverage available resources to gain an understanding of what the day-to-day of a cybersecurity professional is actually like. There is no one cybersecurity job. On the contrary, there are numerous types of cybersecurity roles. Getting an understanding of cybersecurity roles from actual professionals will help you determine what sorts of cybersecurity roles would best suit you. It will also help you prepare to find and achieve those opportunities.
Start With Your Network
Informational interviews are a great place to start in getting exposure to a new career field. Utilize LinkedIn to find cybersecurity professionals in your network. While first degree connections are the simplest to engage, certainly request introductions to second degree connections in cybersecurity as well. Contacting someone whose cybersecurity role is similar to what you think you want to do can be very helpful. In the absence of that opportunity, mid- to senior-level cybersecurity professionals should be able to discuss a variety of roles.
What makes informational interviews so effective is that you’re essentially interviewing the professional. They also learn about your interests and background though. Someone who had an informational interview with you is more likely to take an interest in your cybersecurity job search.
Shadow Your Company’s Cyber Team
Your current employer's cybersecurity team may be able to let you shadow their folks for a day. Even if they don’t have a formal job shadow program, they may be able to set something up if you talk to the right managers. [Note: This will undoubtedly be more challenging to accomplish during COVID-19 restrictions.]
Given the global workforce shortage of cybersecurity professionals, corporate cybersecurity teams are incentivized to find new candidates internally as they already know the company’s operations. Exploring the day-to-day of cybersecurity with your internal team can be more insightful. As an internal employee they may be willing to share more information with you than someone external. After all, they are already your colleagues.
Finding Your Fit
There is no one cybersecurity role. The job descriptions at times can sound similar. It can be hard to get a feel for what the day-to-day of various specialties are like. While there’s a lot of good training available and cybersecurity bootcamps, they are more focused on providing a new technical skill set than providing a solid understanding of what the actual jobs are like.
Knowledge is power. Getting a better understanding of cybersecurity roles can help you determine which roles suit your skillset (current and planned) as well as your interests. Use the resources available to you to learn more about where you’re trying to go on your cybersecurity career pathway. That knowledge will help light your path.