Getting into Cybersecurity with no IT/CS background

getting-into-cybersecurity-with-no-it/cs-background

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I’ve noticed the same thing. Tons of fresh faces talking about how much they love cybersecurity and they live it. Every time I see those posts I always wonder, “If the pay were half of what it is and/or it weren’t in the news constantly as being understaffed would there still be the love?”.

I also see a lot of those same people get ticked off when people tell them to take their hot off the press BS in Cybersecurity and apply for help desk and junior admin jobs.

I’ve really found it’s hard to have a true “entry level” cybersecurity position. Cybersecurity is broad, but there has to be some base knowledge there. Not just technical (although that’s important) but organizational. We are in a field that needs to provide value to businesses, and it’s hard to do that without some experience. Understanding why the CFO keeps shooting down your awesome $4 million dollar plan which is definitely the best security idea in the world. Or on the flip side why the company doesn’t want to accept the risk of the amazing security solution you built as a side project even though it’s free and will give your github mad creds. Or even stuff just as basic as the corners help desk and admin staff take and why they do it ….or the organizational pressures that make them do it. Really, an endless list.

Although there are those unicorns that actually developed something highly used on GitHub or had some great bug bounties before their first job and hopped right into security, that’s not the normal path. Most of my peers who were successful in security started elsewhere - help desk/admin/engineer, developer, auditors, regulatory, etc.

With the pay listed and experience requirements on our “entry level” jobs I don’t really think most are looking for fresh faces. Or even if they are, there is going to be experience competition for some of them. If, let’s say a junior admin in an area is making $70k/year and an “entry level” security job starts at $85k (but wants 2-3 years experience), that person will likely apply. So will straight out of college kids with their BS in Cybersecurity. Unless the junior admin really sucked at interviewing he will likely get the job and the other will be complaining on the internet about entry level security jobs.

The easy route is start in something else IT and move up. Maybe you will find a niche you “love” even more than security.

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