Starting a Career in Cybersecurity: The Beginner’s Ultimate Guide

5 Mins read

What is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity is the act of using technologies, processes or any other electronic preventive measures to protect networks, programs, data and other electronic communication devices against cyber-attack.

The daily increment in the number of devices connecting to the internet has made a more significant part of our activities online. Data like health records, financial information, physical addresses, security number and much other tangible information are stored on the internet (cloud). The implication of not protecting those data can cripple businesses, disrupt government or endanger human life. The need for cybersecurity professionals is now a priority for those organizations.

Why do you need to study Cyber Security?

Nowadays, the most deadly criminals are not those who use guns and other physical objects but those who perpetrate evils with their electronic gadgets.

The fast-growing of crimes in the tech world has brought Cybersecurity to the centre of attraction; the need for people with the knowledge is skyrocketing daily with no sight of dropping. Another primary reason why there is a need to study Cybersecurity is the juicy pay and numerous job opportunities.

According to statistics made available by International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)²’s in 2019 during the Cybersecurity Conference, it was made public that the percentage of security experts available is not enough to face the security challenges in the Information Technology arena.

The number of unfilled jobs is at 2.93 million in 2019 and is expected to be approximately 12 million by 2025. The data pointed out that those who understand Cybersecurity very well would surely not be jobless either now or in the future as the available jobs are more than those who know.

 Also, the pay for an entry-level cybersecurity job is likely to be at least 10 per cent higher than fellow entry-level Information Technology officer in most companies, while at least 16 percent higher for Cyber Security Professional than other IT Professionals.

What skills do you need to have?

Like every other profession, everyone must have some general skills before deciding to start any career in life. The issue is the same in the cybersecurity world.

Here are three basics skills that you must have in other to be successful in the field:

a. Ability to research

The field is a dynamic field that changes every second, so those who wish to remain relevant must be ready to study frequently to know the latest in the area.

b. Ability to think deep

A cybersecurity expert’s main aim is to prevent an attack or to detect and thwart an attack. In other to do this, such a person must be able to think like an attacker. 

c. Keeping record

Recordkeeping ability is also paramount for cybersecurity officers. There is always a need to document steps taken when defending against different kinds of attacks to have a signature when similar incidents occur. Without documentation, the pace of defending against a known attack might be slow, which might have caused havoc.

Some professional skills are also expected of someone who wishes to start defending the world against cyber attack. Before starting at all, there is a need for you to evaluate yourself against the following two skills set:

1. Basic Networking Knowledge

For anyone to start a career in Cybersecurity; there is no need for basic networking knowledge. The reason why networking knowledge is sacrosanct isn’t far-fetched; there is no way anyone can control what they don’t know.

Since everything happens over the network, there is need for Knowledge of basic networking terms like Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), Open System Interconnection (OSI) Model and its operation. The functions and usefulness of networking devices like routers and switches are needed. The service of some standard network ports is also important before starting a career in Cybersecurity.

2. Familiarity with Programming

Although programming is a distinct area in the world of technology, anyone with cybersecurity ambition cannot ignore the importance of programming knowledge. The skill isn’t expected to develop a software or code a website at the beginning for those who want to go into Cybersecurity. Still, you must be able to identify the language used with little or no research.

The ability to also interpret lines of codes is another skill that is a must for someone who wants to go into the security world. Computer and other technologies devices you are defending are made with codes. It will be a hazard for anyone to protect what they don’t understand.

Significant configuration, attacks on network or information are carried out with codes, defending against such without adequate Knowledge will be impossible.[1]

Questions to answer before starting the career

Although I do not doubt that you have interest in Cybersecurity for you to hang around until this stage, you must recheck yourself maybe it is something you would like to do with the rest of your life.

If possible, kindly pick a writing material and answer the following questions:

  1. Do you have the three general skills mentioned above? 
  2. Do you know the two professional skills listed? 
  3. Are you the type that enjoys working with electronic gadgets?
  4. Do you like a good-paying job?
  5. Are you ready to spend the rest of your life defending against an attack?

Great if all answers to the following five questions are “Yes”, we can move to the next stage, which is career paths available in the field. If you have “No” in any of the above and you are ready to work towards yourself, please proceed with us.

Career options in Cybersecurity

 As juicy and easy the field is, it is effortless to get lost. There is a need for anyone who wishes to embark on a journey into Cybersecurity first to understand the field’s paths. It is not a field where you enter to be a jack of all trades and master in none. It is a field that recognizes and appreciate Jack of all trades and master in one. 

It’s imperative to know that the road to be successful in the field won’t be easy when someone uses the approach of jack of all trades and master in none.

Picking a Career path

So before you start, decide on what do you want to be master in?

  1. Network Security Engineer: Those who specialize in protecting the network against any form of cyber-attack using perimeter devices like firewalls, VPN etc.
  2. Application Security Engineer: those who have their focus on safeguarding applications from threats. They provide security for applications like Whatsapp, Bank Application, Facebook APP etc.
  3. Governance, Risk and Compliance Engineer: those who provide oversight function on regulatory and legal compliance and organizations’ general practices. 
  4. Penetration tester Engineer: those who have the legal backing to hack into the systems to identify vulnerabilities and defend against such before attacker exploit such.
  5. Cloud Security Engineer: The role involves providing security support for cloud-based platforms.
  6. Identity and Access Management (IAM) Engineer: The role focuses on digital identities and user privilege right within an organization to prevent unauthorized use.
  7. Forensics Analyst Engineer: They work to decrypt encrypted files, retrieve deleted or corrupted files related to cyberattack. They work mostly with law enforcement agencies all over the world.


A career in Cybersecurity is a promising and rewarding one, irrespective of your present field, joining the domain isn’t herculean as many think. Anyone going into the field must be ready to adapt to the constant demanding problem-solving associated with the field. Grounded Knowledge about how computer works, readiness to learn the essential operation of how computers communicate over the network with a bit of programming language, the world might be expecting a new security lord in you.

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