Making a career change in whatever field can be intimidating due to the fear of failure and uncertainty. However, you can successfully transition from IT to cybersecurity without much hassle if you have the dedication and patience to adjust to a new field.
As technology continues to advance, it brings with it new cybersecurity challenges that make careers in cybersecurity lucrative. If you are interested in a career in cybersecurity and wondering how you can transition from IT and attain your career development goals, this guide is for you. Read on for tips on how to successfully transition from IT to cybersecurity and excel in your new field.
1. Get Training and Certification
After establishing that a career in cybersecurity is right for you, you need to identify the skills’ gaps that exist so that you can fill them and become eligible for the job. The best way to attain the necessary skills is by enrolling in cybersecurity training. There are numerous resources to help you learn more about cybersecurity and gain the necessary skills. Fortunately, general IT and cybersecurity share a lot of transferrable skills such as networking and programming which means you already have the foundation to build your new career on.
You should also get a certification to supplement your qualifications and show that you are capable of handling the duties of your new job. Some of the cybersecurity certifications you should consider include:
- Certified Ethical Hacker
- CompTIA Security +
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security,
- Certified Information Security Manager
You should also cultivate soft skills that are important in cybersecurity such as the ability to solve problems, excellent communication skills, analytical thinking, and attention to detail.
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2. Look for Work Experience
Although academic qualifications may get your foot in the door, relevant work experience hastens the transitioning process. After ensuring that you have the necessary knowledge and skills, you need to gain work experience by putting your knowledge into practice and solving real-world problems. There are various ways that you can gain work experience.
You can start by self-learning where you practice securing your computer and then hacking it to reveal security loopholes. Other ways to gain work experience on your own include creating open-source projects and engaging in cybersecurity training games and contests. You can also find vulnerabilities on open-source projects and sites that have bug bounties. When you do this, always document your work and findings so you can use them as leverage.
Other than self-learning, also consider volunteering and internships. Note that some of the internships may not offer payment but they give you valuable work experience. By taking up cybersecurity jobs whether paid or unpaid, you hone your skills and gain work experience that will help you land the job you want much faster.
3. Build Your Resume
With knowledge and work experience in cybersecurity, you are ready to start looking for a job in your area of interest. Create a resume that highlights your skills and depicts you as the ideal candidate for a cybersecurity position. When writing your resume, ensure that you include both hard skills and soft skills, academic and professional certifications as well as any relevant work experience related to IT security.
The work experience on your resume does not have to be formal employment and may include volunteer, internships as well as apprenticeships. Don’t forget to include your IT achievements like awards, certificates, and even scholarships. A resume is the first interaction that your potential employer has with you. Therefore, you should ensure that it makes a good first impression.
Networking helps you build meaningful relationships with people who can make your transition from IT to cybersecurity successful. As you transition, find professionals in cybersecurity who share the same interests as you and connect with them. You can do this by attending cybersecurity seminars and events, meeting people through others, as well as through social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
The people you connect with can support you during your career transition by offering you advice on how to go about the career change. They can also help you get a job by recommending you when they come across opportunities. As you network, find a mentor who will hold your hand as you transition to cybersecurity to ensure you do it right. This should be a cybersecurity professional with more experience than you who can guide and support you as you transition.
With the above tips, you can seamlessly switch from IT to cybersecurity and find employment in the industry of your choice. Take note that cybersecurity requires continuous learning as technology continues to advance. To achieve career development, you should continuously update your knowledge and skills to help you stay relevant in the ever-changing world of technology.
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