You’ve worked your butt off completing your cybersecurity training courses and certifications. You’ve finally scored your first cybersecurity interview. Are you doubting your skills and abilities? Are you starting to question why they would hire you? Do you begin to worry that despite the hard work you’ve put in, that you’ll be discovered as a fraud? The bad news is that you may have a case of imposter syndrome. The good news is that you’re not alone and it doesn’t need to hold you back.
The reality is that a lot of people in cybersecurity feel like imposters at least occasionally. While imposter syndrome isn’t unique to the cybersecurity career field, it can be amplified by the fact that there are a lot of smart people in cybersecurity. For a cyber topic that you’re okay at, it’s easy to find someone who’s really good. For a cyber topic that you’re good at, it’s not that hard to find someone who’s amazing. That can certainly lead to the feeling you don’t measure up.
I’ll let you in on a secret. The professional that you look up to in cybersecurity, those people who are at the top of the profession, who are technical experts… they all started somewhere and they all have things that they’re not good at. You’d be surprised by the cybersecurity leaders, who also feel like imposters from time to time.
Feeling like you’re not measuring up can be helpful, if it motivates you to learn new skills or practice tasks where you’re lacking. It’s not helpful, if it prevents you from leaving your comfort zone.
Take stock of what you’re good at, what you struggle with, and what you need to improve at to accomplish your goals. Cybersecurity is a big career field. You don’t need to be good at everything. You also don’t need to develop all your skills at once. Taking stock of what you’re good at is important. Give yourself credit for your strengths. Discover ways to leverage them.
At the end of the day hard work and intentional self-improvement will move you forward through your cybersecurity career. Lots of people want to be the Albert Einstein of cybersecurity. Einstein was a genius, but you don’t have to be. After all, science has been advanced for 9,000 years by people who weren’t Einstein.
Be your best self, work hard, play well with others, and keep learning. The rest will come together. It’s okay to feel like an imposter from time to time. Keep moving forward and the feeling shall pass.