As a relatively new field in tech, and even newer in the bootcamp world, cybersecurity professionals are used to receiving a wide range of reactions when they share their profession with others. Some might be surprised and others may be impressed, but one thing is certain: the vast majority of the general population don’t actually understand what it means to be a cybersecurity professional.
But before we dive right into the amusing or even frustrating comments you might receive on a nearly daily basis, let’s review the basics of cybersecurity, what cybersecurity professionals do exactly, and then the things that only cyber professionals will understand.
A Day in the Life of a Cybersecurity Professional
As a newer and rather broad field, the responsibilities and exact job titles of cybersecurity professionals vary quite a bit from one role to another, but we’ll try to sum it all up here. Generally speaking, cybersecurity professionals are tasked with protecting the company’s internet presence, ensuring that both business and client data remain protected and free from harm.
In addition to this, cyber professionals may specialize in specific areas of cyber threats, such as malware or hacking, or spend time educating colleagues on potential threats in the cyber sphere. Therefore, a cybersecurity professional’s day-to-day looks something like this:
Team meetings: to know where they should focus their efforts, cybersecurity professionals will meet with other teams to highlight any potential threats or problem areas at the beginning of their day.
Brainstorming: cybersecurity professionals must be creative and ready to throw around ideas, searching for the perfect solution to any problem that arises. Brainstorming sessions serve as a great place for this kind of thinking to occur.
Researching new solutions: in such a new field and one that’s constantly changing as tech advances and develops on the daily, cybersecurity professionals are required to stay up-to-date with the field’s latest advancements so that no new threat takes them by surprise.
Run demos: for those focusing on the preventative side of cybersecurity, they’ll be tasked with running demos of their new ideas to see how they work in action and what changes need to be made.
Things Only Cybersecurity Professional Will Understand
Some people may see you as a computer genius sitting in a dark room all day and others may think of you as a hacker who’s actually behind all their problems. But no matter what other people think, we know the truth. And these are just a few things that only cybersecurity professionals will understand:
When someone says “I can’t believe you get to hack people for a living.”
Yes, it’s true: cybersecurity professionals do hack but no, it’s not what you think it is. In order to properly protect their company and their systems from attacks, cybersecurity professionals must know exactly what’s out there and find any vulnerabilities in their system–this means they must attempt to hack their own systems and identify problems. It may seem a bit iffy, but there’s an entire speciality devoted to ethical hacking and ensuring that those tasked with this job follow strict guidelines and regulations.
Our tip: while frustrating, this just shows how little people actually know about hacking and cybersecurity in general. When faced with this statement, try to hold back your frustrations and instead focus your energy on showing this person exactly how hacking can be used for good and how it helps improve your company’s overall cybersecurity systems instead of damaging them.
If someone thinks passwords are for logging in and not protecting yourself
We’re almost in 2024 and you’d think that by now, people understand the importance of choosing new and secure passwords for every log in so that they’re able to protect themselves and their sensitive information, but many people still choose to use easy and repeated passwords that make their log in process easier–across all accounts and devices.
Our tip: teaching an old dog new tricks isn’t impossible, but it will take some effort and dedication on your part. After all, you, as a cyber professional, understand the risks of using the same or basic passwords for multiple accounts, but others might not and prefer the simplicity of repetition. While you can’t force them to use more complex passwords, you can help them understand the risks of repeated passwords.
When someone thinks you just wait for something bad to happen all day
Just like some people may think you hack all day, others may think your job revolves around waiting for something to happen and then acting. However, cybersecurity professionals know that a large part of their responsibilities include preventative work, which helps build the protections surrounding the company’s data and systems. In addition, many cybersecurity professionals help educate colleagues about cybersecurity concerns and how to best protect their data and online actions.
Our tip: even though people may think you’re spinning in your desk chair all day, cybersecurity professionals know that the preventative and educational measures that they take are crucial components of the cybersecurity role and essential parts of protecting your company. And since many people don’t understand the importance of this preventative work, take the chance to help them understand!
When people think your job is one and done
That’s the case, right? If you stop one cyber threat or create a protection surrounding your system, you’ve completed one step of the puzzle, but your job isn’t done yet. As the techniques you use to combat cyber threats advance and become more complex, so do the bad guys’--meaning you’ll have to constantly check your vulnerabilities and systems to make sure you’re protected against the new forms of attacks.
Our tip: like with everything on this list, this comes from a place of ignorance and you shouldn’t let it get to you–it may be annoying to have others think your job is so simple and straightforward, but at the end of the day you know the intricacies of cybersecurity and how vast new threats evolve and come to be. Take care to explain how frequently new vulnerabilities arise and why your role is so crucial.
At Ironhack, we’re focused on creating the next generation of cybersecurity professionals through expert-designed curriculum and a focus on the latest advancements in the field; we’re convinced that our graduates will have what it takes to make waves in the field of cybersecurity. If you’re interested in becoming the next cybersecurity professional, you’re in the right place.