Now more than ever, deciding on a career is a daunting prospect. Yes, unemployment’s at a record low, and new jobs will inevitably replace whatever jobs are lost to “progress.” But those seeking new careers now have to consider that their next career will probably not be their last one. Between artificial intelligence, robots, and other forms of technology and automation, many of those embarking a new career today will have to start yet another one during the next two decades.
Not interested in starting over—again?
The burden of finding a new career is particularly heavy for adults entering the civilian job market for the first time and those re-entering the workforce after an absence. These job seekers include:
- Stay-at-home parents whose children have left the nest
- Other caretakers who no longer need to supervise their wards full-time
- Early retirees who find that full retirement isn’t compatible with their goals
- Veterans who have recently left long-term service
- People who have overcome medical conditions that prevented them from working
If you’re of a certain age and in search of a new career, you’re probably hoping to find a field that not only offers stability but also values life experience as much as job experience. If so, you should consider a career in cyber security. Cyber security is an area where the wisdom and maturity that come from living a life are incredibly strong assets.
Because you have experienced life, because you have seen or heard how bad people behave, you will be great at thinking like a hacker and thus will be excellent at stopping one.
—Apoorva Phadke, associate principal consultant
You might find that for all the technical know-how of young new graduates, their haste, impatience, and impulsiveness can be a liability. Instead, a strong candidate for a cyber security position needs these characteristics:
- Patience to follow best security practices and to guide others to do so, even though dangerous shortcuts are so much faster
- Foresight to consider how today’s actions lead directly to tomorrow’s results—or repercussions
- Persistence to dive deep into an issue to find its root cause, rather than just fixing the symptoms
- Good judgment to allocate resources judiciously between short-term emergency responses and long-term security strategies
- Perspective to remember why the field of cyber security really exists (not for shareholders but for anyone whose data could be stolen or privacy breached)
We all know people that have had their data used maliciously, and we’re working to prevent that pain.
—David Harvey, principal consultant
These qualities and many more that you’ve developed through life experience are invaluable in the field of cyber security. And one of the best things about this field: Whether or not it’s your first career, it very well may be your last one. The same advances in technology that are making other fields obsolete are introducing new weaknesses and vulnerabilities on a grand scale, and the work needed to secure all that new technology will never end. With five-year projections of unfulfilled cyber security jobs in the millions, job security in the field is almost guaranteed.
What security consultants say about a career in cyber security
In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we asked several of our consultants about why people who have a nontraditional employment history but plenty of life experience should consider a career in cyber security. Here’s what they had to say:
Apoorva Phadke, associate principal consultant
Cyber security is a great option to give your professional life a second opening:
- You don’t need to have a professional degree to become a cyber security expert. Knowledge, talent, and hard work are sufficient.
- Because you have experienced life, because you have seen or heard how bad people behave, you will be great at thinking like a hacker and thus will be excellent at stopping one.
- You can keep your own hours, for the most part. A lot of work can be done remotely. It’s not physically taxing.
- It’s exciting and a great-paying career!
- There’s a lot of demand, and it’s going up. And it will always go up!
Sudeeptha Adgal, senior security consultant
Let’s start broad: Everyone wants to protect their assets and valuables. For an individual, this may be a bank account and its application log-in; for a company, it may be their business strategy in a document; and for a country, it may be its military secrets stored on a hard drive. In other words, almost everything today revolves or is controlled by cyber and software.
So if you want to know how to protect assets (yours, those of the company you work for, or your country’s), you need to understand how to be able to identify threats, resolve issues when they arise, and find secure solutions. Cyber security teaches you just that in simple terms.
Justin Soderberg, senior security consultant
I think the best thing about security for any stage of a career is the variety of work available in the industry. You can work on things such as writing security policies, monitoring network events, threat intelligence gathering, penetration testing, and many other possibilities. The industry is still growing, and a potential employer is any organization that relies on technology to accomplish work.
Christopher Cummings, associate principal consultant
Cyber security is a very dynamic field. Many people begin careers in security without previous technical or security specific experience. Security can be self-taught and is great for motivated individuals who like to understand how things work. Understanding and grasping security concepts focuses purely on the idea of asking questions and working through scenarios that aid in misuse. Security careers tend to also be very flexible, allowing for remote work. Working in security allows one to truly understand how technology works and what steps should be taken to secure personal use of an ever-evolving technology-centric world.
David Harvey, principal consultant
Other than the obvious, tangible benefits of working in a field with solid job security and serious growth potential, I’d say the biggest benefit is you’re doing something very worthwhile. Bottom line, in this career you’re helping a company protect customer data. We all know people that have had their data used maliciously, and we’re working to prevent that pain. I can think of few careers in software engineering or computer science, and I’ve had a few in 35 years working of life, where you have that kind of direct impact.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Software Integrity authored by Synopsys Editorial Team. Read the original post at: https://www.synopsys.com/blogs/software-security/consider-career-cyber-security-ncsam/