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Cybersecurity is a growing area, and in the current climate, it is more important than ever before. Companies need to have an appropriate IT system in place that is protected against cyber attacks or threats, regardless of the industry they are in, so it is not only financial institutions and banks that require cybersecurity teams nowadays. Almost every organization and e-commerce company around the world that either has an online presence or works off a shared database or system will need effective measures in place to keep internal data and information safe and secure.
The cybersecurity field is growing rapidly, in particular since the arrival of COVID-19 and the shift from a centralized workplace to employees working from home. Almost three-quarters of large companies in the world are planning for greater investment in cybersecurity post-COVID as cyber-crime grows and criminals find new ways to attack businesses. Technology is constantly evolving and new and more advanced hacking methods are continually being created. The skillset required by cybersecurity professionals goes beyond simply hacking and branches into areas such as web development, reporting, incident response, and data analysis.
Although hacking is a crucial part of the job for a lot of cybersecurity professionals, the full scope of roles in this area goes way beyond just that. Analysis, reporting, building apps and systems that protect internal information and data are also part and parcel of the day-to-day work for many employees on a cybersecurity career path.
- Software developers- Developing the software and apps that protect IT systems against malware or phishing attacks - so the focus is on the development rather than the actual hacking or penetration testing.
- Management - overseeing the daily tasks and activity of a team or multiple teams.
- AI experts- developing and training AI tools to predict security breaches or phishing attacks.
- Incident responders - rather than simply testing and hacking into a company’s IT system, incident responders work to minimize the damage caused by an attack when it occurs.
Incident responders are especially important for companies that handle any kind of consumer data or financial information such as credit card details. They may need to report on an incident, notify the wider team and all employees across the company, or notify company leaders. Incident responders need to ensure they are constantly up to date with the latest cyber threats that are constantly developing. Although they may need to understand hacking and system architecture overall, the day-to-day work requires lots of research and constant training. Knowing how to decipher digital data from various sources as well as handling digital evidence is of great importance.
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There are some general skills required when starting out in a career in cybersecurity which are relevant for both ethical hacking and other roles. For example, it is good to have one or two coding languages, though as time goes on, professional IT teams may need to add to their repertoire, depending on the needs of the business. There are many transferable and soft skills that can support you in a position in cybersecurity and hacking. For instance, the ability to analyze a situation, strong time management skills, reading and understanding data, and reporting are all excellent skills when beginning a career as a cybersecurity professional.
Even if you are new to IT and transitioning from another career path, it is relatively straightforward to learn how to hack. Plus, is not only fun, but it provides an invaluable skill set that is useful for lots of roles in IT. One of the best ways to learn how to hack is to perform attacks in real-time on actual computer systems and networks. Before reaching the stage of actually learning and testing hacks, it is important to understand IT fundamentals and cybersecurity in general. The main elements of penetration testing as well as the primary tools used for this task are also essential for anyone who wants to learn how to hack.
Anyone who wishes to progress into a management role within cybersecurity will benefit from transferable skills like people management, project management, and leadership. In order to analyze a network's weaknesses and understand potential ways an external hacker may gain access, it is beneficial to have a solid understanding of IT systems and protocols in general. As mentioned previously, understanding at least one or two coding languages such as HTML, Java, Python or CSS can also be very beneficial. Beyond hacking, conducting vulnerability reports, and compliance scanning, cybersecurity managers need to be in-the-know about the most recent market trends and the latest threats.
Depending on the type of company you work for, the main focus of daily work may be in one area over another. Software companies that work with a variety of platforms and apps may require a wide array and variety of IT protection across different programs, for example, while a financial institution may have a stronger need for configuring and using firewalls. In any case, cybersecurity requires a broad skill set and is an interesting and fruitful career path to explore.
The best way to acquire the knowledge for a career in the cybersecurity industry is through a combination of theoretical study and practical application, both of which are covered in the Ironhack Cybersecurity Bootcamp. This is an essential foundation for those wishing to learn how to hack or explore other careers within data protection. It will also lay the foundation for anyone interested in a cybersecurity career that goes beyond hacking and into other areas of web development, IT support, or AI.
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