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A Career in Cybersecurity: The Education and Training You’ll Need

Staff @InterCoast

Staff @InterCoast

Editorial Team

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Cybercriminals steal billions of records every year (CF Those records contain personal data, including Social Security numbers and financial information.

Intrigued by technology and feel passionate about safeguarding sensitive information? A career in cybersecurity might be right for you! 


What’s one of the best ways to get a job in cybersecurity? It starts with education and training.


You can just read on to explore cybersecurity career training. It’s one of the best steps before applying to a certificate or degree program.


Understanding Cybersecurity: Why it’s Critical

In today’s digital world, security has become a critical aspect of life. We need gatekeepers, known as cybersecurity professionals.


Cybersecurity practices and techniques are used to protect electronic devices and computer systems. Because of the cybersecurity field, businesses can prevent unauthorized access, theft, or damage. 


Cyber threats can take various forms, including viruses, malware, phishing attacks, and ransomware. You’ve likely heard about some of these common cyber threats:


    • Backdoor attacks

    • Formjacking

    • DDoS attacks

    • Cryptojacking

    • DNS poisoning attacks

The impact of a cyber attack can be devastating. Individuals and businesses alike may experience financial losses. Identity theft and privacy breaches are other consequences of cyber attacks.


Basic cybersecurity – strong passwords and software updates are imperative and may help prevent some cyber threats. Others require more advanced tools and techniques.


Large businesses and individuals need cybersecurity professionals that help individuals and large businesses protect their digital information.


Education Requirements for Cybersecurity Jobs

Before starting a career in cybersecurity, you’ll need to meet certain education requirements. Specifics may vary depending on the job you want and the employer. Most employers want applicants to have some level of formal education or training.


You could qualify for an entry-level position with only a certificate. However, some employers prefer applicants to hold an associate’s degree. Advanced positions may require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. 


Common majors and programs for students interested in cybersecurity careers include:


    • Computer Science

    • Information Technology

    • Engineering

    • Cybersecurity 

The best programs offer a strong foundation in computer systems. They also provide training on networks, security, cryptography, risk management, and cybercrime investigation.


There are many reputable schools and programs offering education and training in cybersecurity. We’ll look more closely at those next.


Where Can You Earn a Cybersecurity Certificate or Degree?

Before you apply for a certificate of a degree program, it’s important to do your due diligence. It’s part of finding the right program for you. Look for accredited programs and those that have a good reputation in the cybersecurity field.


Several colleges and universities offer cybersecurity programs. Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offer robust programs.  The University of California-Berkeley and Purdue University also have top-rated programs.


Another option is a vocational or trade school like InterCoast Colleges. As an accredited college, we offer programs that have a great reputation in the field of cybersecurity. We have cybersecurity certificate and associate degree programs to prepare you for entry-level employment in an exciting career in this growing field.


How long does it take to complete a cybersecurity program?


It depends on which program in which you enroll.  You can complete a cybersecurity program in as little as 40 weeks. Check with an admissions representative who can help you determine a program plan based on your desires, career, and educational goals.


Why Are Cybersecurity Certifications Essential to Success?

Outside certifications after training are another stepping stone in the field of cybersecurity. Without certain certifications, it will be difficult to secure a job. Certifications show that you have the skills and knowledge to handle cybersecurity tasks. They also show your commitment to the field, increasing your chances of getting hired. You will need to participate in independent certification testing after graduation.  The employer will want the certificate from an authorized certification organization to prove you know what you’re doing.


There are many certifications available in the field of cybersecurity. Your specific needs will depend on your job role and the employer. Some of the most common certifications in the field include:


CompTIA Security+

This certification covers foundational cybersecurity skills and knowledge.  You’ll learn about network security, risk management, and cryptography. This vendor-neutral certification allows for a broad look at different programs and tools.


You’ll likely need this certificate for most entry-level cybersecurity positions.


Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

This certification is for more advanced cybersecurity professionals. The topics covered include access control, cryptography, and security operations.


Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Professionals with CEH certification know how to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks. The certification covers many topics, including network security, cryptography, web application security, and penetration testing.


Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

This certification is for cybersecurity professionals with management or leadership responsibilities. It covers risk management, incident response, and security governance.


Earning a certification generally means passing an exam. There may also be other requirements, such as work experience or formal education.  This is typically not an entry-level position right out of school, and employers will require significant experience in the field.


CompTIA and TestOut, (ISC)² and EC-Council offer certification programs. Choosing the program that best aligns with your career goals is essential. 


How to Enter the Field of Cybersecurity

Formal education helps prepare you for an entry-level job in cybersecurity. However, many employers want more than a piece of paper. 


Certificates and degree programs help you build a strong foundation in cybersecurity practices. But what do you do when a potential employer wants experience?  

Many aspiring cybersecurity professionals earn advanced degrees. Others look for cybersecurity internships. Besides the formal training and education, as well as certifications through testing, there are other things you can do to help break into the field.


Here are some other action steps to consider taking: Here are some other action steps to consider taking:


    • Gain fluency in cybersecurity technical language 

    • Take an entry-level technical job or related field

    • Network with cybersecurity groups 

    • Document your training and skills 

    • Stay current with your knowledge and certifications, as applicable.  The industry changes frequently, and you want to stay on top of these changes.

    • Work with your career services office at your school to help you locate entry-level job openings that would help you get your foot in the door.

Also, stay up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity trends. These steps can help you stand out when looking for a job in the cybersecurity field.


Ready to Pursue a Career in Cybersecurity?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, there are a variety of education and training paths you can take. Formal education can give you a strong foundation in cybersecurity concepts.


At InterCoast Colleges, we offer a variety of programs that can prepare you for a career in cybersecurity. Our instructors have real-world experience in the field and a commitment to helping you succeed. 


We invite you to contact us for more information or apply to one of our programs.


A new career starts with the right education and training. Choose a rewarding career in cybersecurity to positively impact the world of technology. Click here for more information.




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