Cybersecurity affects us all. You may not own a network or application. But if you engage in online activities, the security of the platform you use affects you.
The global rise in cybercrime is a crisis that has presented vast opportunities for the field of cybersecurity as the demand for cybersecurity professionals has never been higher. However, like every digital phenomenon, the career path to cybersecurity is plagued with ungrounded discouraging myths.
Read along as we identify and debunk some common myths about having a career in cybersecurity.
1. Cybersecurity Is Only for Young People
The popular saying that age is nothing but a number couldn’t manifest truer in the cybersecurity profession. Unlike conventional security jobs, which require some degree of physical fitness influenced by age, cybersecurity has nothing to do with age.
Since cybersecurity is IT inclined, it’s dominated by young people who represent a significant percentage of the tech-savvy population. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for older people. It’s about interest. If you are fascinated with technology and how it works, you can secure a cybersecurity job regardless of age.
2. You Have to Be a Tech Wizard
The assumption that you have to be a tech guru to succeed in cybersecurity is arguably the most popular myth about cybersecurity. And Hollywood’s portrayal of cybersecurity professionals in this light has further fueled this myth.
While you need to be knowledgeable about IT to execute cybersecurity tasks, especially in the areas of risk management, networking basics, threat awareness, and tool kit maintenance, you don’t have to be a wizard to work in cybersecurity.
According to a research report by ESG & ISSA, roughly 23 percent of surveyed cybersecurity employees originally began their careers in a non-IT field.
3. The Pay Doesn’t Equate the Work Hours
The demand for cybersecurity professionals is on a steady rise, with job openings outgrowing the available workforce in the profession.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for cybersecurity professionals in the United States as of 2020 was $ 103,590. This amount equates to roughly $ 50 / hour, which is more than twice the annual average wage for all workers, which is $ 41,950.
Compared to other professions in the IT field, cybersecurity professionals are paid $ 12,700 more per year on average. So, it’s obvious that cybersecurity experts are getting their time’s worth on average. Of course, these wages would vary and increase with experience.
4. There Are Limited Opportunities in Cybersecurity
The cybersecurity industry is desperate for workers given the complexity of today’s interconnected world. The steady rise in cybercrime in recent years creates a need for cybersecurity professionals in organizations with job openings outgrowing the available workforce.
Cybersecurity is a big industry, and there are several cybersecurity careers for those interested in it. More businesses are training their employees on cybersecurity, and need experts in the field to organize such training. Some of the most common roles in cybersecurity include security analyst, penetration tester, security architect, and cybersecurity engineer.
5. Cybersecurity Is Not for Women
Although there are more men in cybersecurity than women, there are women who are doing well for themselves on the job.
Women are generally underrepresented in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This imbalance is gradually changing as more women build careers in these industries. In recent years, women have taken on major roles in the cybersecurity profession.
An example of this was in late 2011 when IBM, a world pioneering information technology company and a foremost player in the global cybersecurity field, announced Virginia Marie “Ginni” Rometty, who was in charge of the company’s sales and marketing department, to be its CEO. Rometty is just one of the many women who are experts and professionals in cybersecurity.
6. Career Growth in Cybersecurity Is Hard
As in every other field, attaining sustainable career growth in cybersecurity requires discipline and hard work. Nonetheless, it’s very feasible to attain.
In an ever-growing field like cybersecurity, there will always be room to grow personally and professionally. As new technologies emerge, loopholes for breaches will emerge too. If these alarming cybersecurity statistics are anything to go by, we need more cybersecurity experts on the job. Hence, cybersecurity has unlimited growth potential, from learning new and emerging skills to tackling rising challenges.
With opportunities for continuous learning in cybersecurity, you can grow tremendously. You can even maximize your potential and ditch job monotony by branching out into other fields of cybersecurity.
7. You Need a College Degree to Work in Cybersecurity
Getting to work in cybersecurity with no college degree may seem far-fetched, but it’s possible. Entry-level jobs in cybersecurity don’t require a college degree. You can also build a cybersecurity career without a college degree if you have fundamental IT skills and experience.
Another way of getting into the cybersecurity profession without a college degree is by having prior military experience. This would be a plus and give you an edge over those in your field with no military experience. Also, obtaining security-related certifications such as CompTIA Security + substitutes for a college degree in the cybersecurity profession.
8. Cybersecurity Experts Are Weird
It’s often thought that cybersecurity experts are anti-social, oblivious to reality, and always have their eyes on their digital screens.
People perceive cyber experts as nerds, but this isn’t always the case in the real sense. Many cybersecurity professionals live very active social lives with their families, friends, associates, colleagues, and communities.
Cybersecurity experts are rock stars in cyberspace, and most of them find the field to be enjoyable. The fast pace of change in technology, the challenge of solving problems, and the plentiful career opportunities across various sectors are exciting.
9. Cybersecurity Is for Hackers
There’s a general layman’s misconception of the term “Hacker.” People see hackers as bad guys. While there’s a group of hackers executing cyberattacks, there’s another group of hackers that prevent cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity professionals engage in ethical or white-hat hacking — a form of hacking that sets up digital or cyber-inclined measures that counter illegal black-hat hacking tactics by cybercriminals. Ethical hacking is necessary to save the world from the disruptions of cybercriminals, and cybersecurity professionals are doing an excellent job at that.
Leverage Career Opportunities in Cybersecurity
The myths about the cybersecurity profession discourage people from pursuing a career in the field, and as such, they lose great opportunities.
Cybersecurity is an interesting subject that meets the demands of today’s evolving society. Technology has come to stay and cybersecurity is here to stay with it. You can begin your cybersecurity career as early as today. The career opportunities are just a click away.