I get asked this question all the time, “I’m looking to break into Cybersecurity, what certification should I get, what should I do?” I never just list out things for people, but rather prefer to dive into their goals and experience before making any recommendations.
What Interests you?
My first response usually is, what about the Cybersecurity field interests you? My goal is to either find out where area the area which they are passionate about, because that passion and drive to learn will allow them to excel in those areas. Here is a list https://resources.infosecinstitute.com/job-titles/ to various security titles, while note exhaustive gives you some idea about some of the different avenues. If you are unsure as to what a role might entail, you can research the title, look at job descriptions, and even have informational interviews with practitioners in the field.
Next, I dig into areas which they feel like they have talents or broad experience in, and I draw parallels on how those skills might be valuable in their quest to become more focused on Cybersecurity. Many might already have transferable skills from their passions or previous work experiences that would be valuable in your next role. Once you know where you want to go, do a gap analysis of you current skills and what skills might be needed for that role (learned from the informational interviews) and go out to try to learn those skills. You might have many of the transferable skills needed, just need to fine tune it.
I ask them about their goals, or what they want to accomplish in the next 3-5 years. Based on their goals, experience and passions, I then recommend areas of possible interest within the Cybersecurity field.
Narrow down the roles
Cybersecurity as a field is broad ranging from awareness and training, testing for vulnerabilities, assessing risk within an environment, developing policies and procedures, auditing those items and a lot more. I think that those considering a career within this field, should think about what piece of the wheel they are passionate about and focus at becoming great at it. You can also choose another area to focus on once you have mastered it or realize that it would not be the best use of your time.
As for the certifications, they can be used to validate your skills or knowledge level at a point in time, but they shouldn’t be the only thing to focus on. You need to balance your experiences, skills and knowledge, with the certification helping to validate that you are at least able to reach that bar. While they might be great for differentiating you from others who don’t have it, ensuring that you have the experience and expertise to back it up is critical.
If you are looking for coaching or guidance in pivoting your career reach out to me at https://cpf-coaching.com