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14 December 2023 - 5 minutes

How to Begin a Career in Cybersecurity Without Previous Knowledge

Don’t let your lack of experience stop you from this fast-growing field.

Juliette Carreiro - Tech Writer

We’ve all felt the effects of when companies don’t make cybersecurity a priority. You might even have had to bear the brunt when companies don’t invest in their cybersecurity yourself: personal data gets leaked, sensitive information is spread across the web, and life savings can be lost if you give the wrong company your bank details. 

You’re probably sick of this happening and we get it. That’s why it’s time to become a cyber warrior and kickstart your career in cybersecurity – even if you don’t have any previous knowledge. 

Cybersecurity may seem complicated to those on the outside, mostly because it comes with a dictionary’s worth of jargon. But anyone with a little technical knowledge and the desire to learn can launch themselves into this exciting career path. But that begs the question…how do you go about getting a cybersecurity job when you’ve got no experience?

Before we answer that burning question, let’s first break down exactly what cybersecurity is.

What is Cybersecurity?

First things first: let’s truly understand what cybersecurity is, as it’s never been more important than it is today. With many companies shifting to a remote/hybrid working model and the vast expansion of the online space, there is an increasing need for businesses to invest in IT security and protect themselves from threats such as hacking, data compromise, and identity theft.

Technology is getting smarter, but that means that hackers and cybercriminals are too. The range of cybercrimes is widening rapidly, but some of the most common are: 

  • Cyber-extortion: demanding money in exchange for not hacking, damaging, or deleting information

  • Ransomware attacks: locking or limiting access to data in exchange for money

  • Identity fraud: pretending to be you to gain access to your personal information

  • IOT hacking: accessing or manipulating IoT devices and servers 

  • Malware: software designed to steal or copy a person’s information

  • Phishing scams: sending fraudulent emails, pretending to be someone else to gain bank or personal information

What Does a Career Path in Cybersecurity Look Like?

With a growing demand for trained professionals, the cybersecurity industry has a lot to offer prospective employees. Salaries in this field tend to be lucrative and there is ample opportunity for career growth and development. The demand for roles in this area is also set to increase rapidly over the coming years and decades

As such, there has never been a better time to explore cybersecurity and explore the various career options out there for cybersecurity newcomers. 

There are many areas for specialization and advancement which you’ll be able to branch into, depending on your skills, experience, and career goals. And as the digital world is always changing, new areas that we can’t even imagine today will inevitably reveal themselves! Take a look at some positions, depending on your experience level:

  • Entry-level positions include roles such as Cybersecurity Specialist or Technician, IT auditor, and Incident Responder (anyone interested in cybersecurity for beginners should research these roles as a starting point!)

  • Mid-level positions include Cybersecurity Consultant and Penetration tester

  • Advanced level positions include Cybersecurity Engineer and Managerial positions

There are various roles available at each level when it comes to IT security, with plenty of scope for development further down the road; the demand for training in cybersecurity is rapidly on the rise, meaning you may like to branch into this area in a company for which you already work, or that you are looking to pivot completely into a new career.

What Does it Take to Break into Cybersecurity? 

The first thing you need to tackle when it comes to cybersecurity is the basics of IT systems and networks; for example, the different types of available networks and their protocols. Once you are familiar with the fundamentals, you can dive into the basics of networking traffic, security, and communication principles.

Learning how to create and analyze network servers is also important when it comes to cybersecurity for beginners, while data decryption and encryption are also useful, along with topics such as backup processes and data recovery. Discovering how to prevent hacks is also a crucial subject when it comes to cybersecurity for beginners.

As technology advances and the online space grows, there are greater opportunities for cyber attacks and hacks to occur, especially when it comes to mobile payments, e-commerce, and cloud computing.

Machine learning, social media, and the vast array of apps that many of us use on a daily basis make it easier for criminals to find ways to hack systems to steal data and financial information. The risk for businesses is especially high and this is where cybersecurity professionals come into play: building and maintaining secure systems is essential for most organizations and businesses in the modern world, and expertise in this area is heavily in demand.

Breaking into cybersecurity through a bootcamp

Courses or bootcamps in cybersecurity for beginners will prepare you for roles such as incident responder, forensics analyst, and cybersecurity analyst, among others. Over time and depending on the size of the company you work for, you may have the chance to branch into a management role, taking control over a cybersecurity team. 

Similarly, you may choose to specialize in a single area of cybersecurity in networking, software development, systems engineering, or risk analysis. 

Breaking into cybersecurity with no previous experience

Cybersecurity is an exciting and ever-changing career path, with high stakes and high rewards. The demand for professionals in this field is extremely high; there are many opportunities available for anyone interested in developing a career in IT security. But, as with any job, getting started can feel like a huge wall to climb if you don’t have any previous experience.

But don’t worry: regardless of your background and previous experience, transitioning to a job in cybersecurity is very achievable with some foundational training, thanks to the recent rise of cybersecurity. The best place to start is with a cybersecurity bootcamp for beginners that covers the basics and the main areas of IT security and data protection.

With Ironhack's Cybersecurity Bootcamp, you don’t only get the foundational knowledge and hands-on experience that you need to succeed in your first cybersecurity role; but we’ll actually support you in finding that role. Our Careers Services and Outcomes Team are rockstars at getting you job-ready, helping you figure out the messy middle of job hunting.

Why not check it out for yourself?! 

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