We live in the digital age, where many companies leverage technologies to grow and evolve. It is a new connectivity model to communicate with users through different channels, exchanging information in a simple, fast and comfortable way.
However, access to these technological advantages requires some resources managed over the Internet, such as the cloud and the IoT world. As the technology used follows a continuous development process, becoming more sophisticated at times, cyber threats evolve at the same level.
That’s why cybersecurity infrastructure needs to be effectively addressed. The theft of information or data has become a common activity in our society and it is essential to keep up with its risks. For this reason, companies must have the implementation of security strategies that are able to eliminate such threats. If you are interested in studying cybersecurity and dedicating yourself professionally to this booming sector, read on and we will tell you more about it. How to become a hacker? What is the cybersecurity career like and what are the steps to follow?
Different ways to access the cybersecurity sector
More and more media reporting security breaches generated in large companies. For this reason, technology security experts have become part of the team of many of them. If you are wondering how to study computer security to get you fully into the world of cybersecurity, you have several options. The most classic is to study a technical degree, such as computer engineering and cybersecurity, and then reinforce it with some specialization through postgraduate or master’s studies.
However, many stakeholders are betting on other alternatives without having to study a career. In fact, you can directly access a specialized degree in the cybersecurity sector, although you should know that there are not many centers that have this option.
Another way envisaged are vocational training cycles, mainly for those students who are only practically motivated, something they can also perform in a self-taught way to move forward. There are many public and practically free programs where you can get very good basic training in computer systems or application development. From there you can make the leap to cybersecurity through complementary training and certifications that you can get on your own.
Later we’ll talk about cybersecurity courses or intensive courses known as cybersecurity bootcamp that, in theory, prepare students to jump into the job market in less time. How? By including a focused agenda around a number of small classes that only serve as something if there is a good pre-based basis.
There are also short and specific courses that are an excellent complement to university training or higher grade training cycles. On their own, however, they do not offer knowledge strong enough to address at the technical level everything that encompasses computer security, from programming languages to methodologies or procedures, to even notions of legislation.
In short, the path to the world of cybersecurity can vary depending on the needs and concerns of each person. Any of these possibilities are valid to train in this profession, although not all of the means used are so beneficial.
To what extent is it important to study a career?
As we mentioned, cybersecurity is at its peak, hence several universities have decided to include in their curriculum the expected degrees in Cybersecurity. In any case, some of them have added it as a specialization that is part of the Degree of Informatics, in fact, it is what we studied at the Carlos III University of Madrid. But is it really necessary to have a higher degree to work in computer security?
There is no doubt that studying a Computer or Telecommunications Engineering is a more than valid start. However, people who have opted for this career and have decided to pull for cybersecurity will need to acquire more specific specialized training.
Studying a career or engineering is not essential, but doing so is quite recommended for a simple reason, which is that higher education will always give you some fundamentals on which to focus the specialization to which you want to dedicate yourself. The university allows us to learn the most essentials and will allow you to lay the groundwork for creating and researching what comes next. College isn’t the only means we have, but it’s the best way to get started in this field and any other.
In addition, studying a degree such as Computer Engineering will provide you with solid knowledge, which will become a considerable encourage for companies looking for such profiles. And if the degree in question has a mention of cybersecurity, the technical profile will become very attractive to start a career in a large company.
The options are several, although some experts claim that the most recommended careers in this regard are: Computer Engineering (software or systems) and Mathematics.
The determining factor that leads a company to hire a professional is specific training and they have experience. However, when it comes to positions of great responsibility such as a security director, large companies tend to bet only on qualified profiles. Best of all, if you want to engage in cybersecurity, you don’t necessarily have to be a superior engineer.
The new reality behind Covid-19 has led many companies to implement major changes, using technology as their transformative axis. That’s why cybersecurity is giving so much to talk about and its training has undergone some changes to suit the student’s needs.
Teacher-student interaction has changed and, in addition to face-to-face classes, the student can use different telematics options and study online, although this measure will require a higher level of commitment on their part. In the approach to cybersecurity remains the same, what has increased are the possibilities to study it, leading to remote training.
The field of cybersecurity is very broad, although it is currently spreading further for anyone who wants to specialize in a specific area. There are certain certifications that, today, are being in high demand at the labor level such as CEH (Ethical Hacker Certificate), CHFI (Forensic Computer Piracy Investigator) and OSCP (Professional Certificate in Offensive Security). Certifications on products such
as IBM QRadar SIEM
from IBM have great market value.
Similarly, other complementary training that is increasingly being demanded among cybersecurity experts is that of legal and ethical issues.
To get us a rough idea we have the reference guide to the CISO White Paper, an initiative of ISMS Forum Spain (Spanish Association for the Promotion of Information Security), in which several directors have worked information Security to provide information regarding the number of functions and responsibilities associated with the cybersecurity sector. In fact, the number of certifications inherent in this figure is spectacular.
The student leaves the university on a general basis, although the real problems are seen on site in organizations and companies. Either way, this knowledge must be completed through specific cybersecurity learning. In this sense, specialized courses or bootcamps are a great bet to continue training in subjects such as forensic analysis, system securization or ethical hacking.
Seeing the heyday of computer security, some institutions specialized in consulting or advising on security projects, offer face-to-face and online courses, as well as specific certifications of great consideration in the sector. They even propose a specific action plan to enhance that knowledge.
Complementary training in law
Most of these specialized courses and these certifications are essentially technical. However, cybersecurity professionals must control other important issues inherent in the legal aspect.
In this sense, law has become a key thing that needs to be managed and controlled. Many cybersecurity experts believe that today’s professionals should have training in ethical and legal matters. Many techniques or tools to use may have the title of illegal in some countries.
The legislative field surrounding computer security is being expanded and increasing, hence some professionals are obliged to train in it: NIS, PSD2, GDPR, among others. The time spent on this need can be an inconvenience, as it cannot be used to obtain greater technical knowledge or improve those acquired. However, no knowledge of law is needed at an advanced level, only from a basic point of view to know the most important thing.
It is not the only thing, as it is also recommended to develop and improve the communication capabilities (written and oral) so that others understand us correctly. Keep in mind that this profession will lead you to report or expose problems or situations orally.
However, this complementary training will be acquired with time, even more so if you have your sights set in a position of greater responsibility. At the moment, the most important thing is to form in cybersecurity in order to apply that knowledge in our professional career. Everything else will gradually arrive, mainly when you have concerns that want to be resolved.
Once my training is complete, what do I do now?
You have to arm yourself with patience because the cybersecurity specialization comes over time. In fact, more and more specific studies appear on this sector. A person cannot gain knowledge overnight. In addition, it is necessary to acquire some experience before starting it.
To make this possible, some companies have generated new resources or areas of readiness at the service of the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. It is also possible to access certain events called CTF (Capture The Flag), equipped with different challenges to implement the knowledge. The idea is to make encounters with computer security lovers to demonstrate their skills in the world of hacking. One of the platforms that make it possible is Hack The Box, an initiative that will allow you to solve problems and make important contacts. However, to get an invitation you will have to hack the web, another challenge to beat.
There’s also no excuse not to practice on your own. There are amazing alternatives like Virtualbox, where you can create a custom lab. In this way you will be able to test different operating systems, explore their weaknesses, offer security solutions and even try to reinforce their weaknesses in the face of the execution of certain actions.
The important thing is not to stay in the general knowledge but to continue training with market-leading technologies. If computer security is something you are passionate about, research and will improve a lot, even through self-training, something complementary to what you will see every day in your work and that will allow you to not only improve your working conditions but learn and enjoy a lot.
Cybersecurity exits, functions and salaries
These experts should develop different strategies to prevent cyberattacks. When implementing these security measures, it is essential to work as a team, although any cybersecurity specialist who is self-considered must cover these tasks:
- Plan and develop security measures
- Create internal or external cybersecurity audits
- Manage the teams that establish security measures
- Locate and prevent potential cyberattacks
- Manage and improve the security mechanisms used
- Ensuring compliance with regulations related to data protection and storage
- Protect IoT environments such as those used in industries and hospitals
The average salary of one of these specialists is around 30000 and 100000 euros per year. The lowest salary concerns qualified technical professionals who have less responsibility and have less experience. This is the case with a security technician or network technician. On the other hand, the highest salaries are for the directors of information systems.
As for the professional outings of these cybersecurity figures there are many, although from here we can give you some ideas about it:
- Ethical hacking
- Computer security consultant
- Security Manager (networks and systems)
- Cybersecurity Project Manager
- Architect of risk analysis or security systems
- Technological judicial expert
- Sales or cybersecurity control engineer
- Forensic computer analyst
- Data protection manager