How To Get Into Cybersecurity: Your 2024 Guide

How to get into cyber security


Entering the field of cybersecurity is much like preparing for a marathon. It’s about committing to a journey of learning, preparation, and strategic planning.
This guide is your training plan for launching a successful career in cybersecurity. From understanding the basics to landing your first cybersecurity job, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get you across the finish line.

Let’s lace up our shoes and take the first step together as we find out how to get into cybersecurity.

5 people are learning togther what is cybersecurity

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a multifaceted field that at its core is about thwarting cybercrime and securing digital information and assets. As more and more of the world comes online, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals increases exponentially.

A Brief History of Cybercrime and Cyber Attacks

The dawn of cybercrime was marked by the Creeper virus—a self-replicating program that underlined the need for digital security protocols.

The Morris Worm in 1988 was one of the first cyberattacks to gain widespread attention, and more recently, the WannaCry attack in 2017 disrupted hundreds of thousands of computers in over 150 countries.

The Impact of Cybercrime

Cybercrime leads to financial losses and data breaches and erodes trust in digital systems while disrupting lives, economies, and national security. Attacks can be small in scale or complex threats targeted at governmental systems and critical infrastructure.

Interviewing over the phone about Cybersecurity Jobs and Careers

Cybersecurity Jobs and Careers

The cybersecurity industry is booming, with opportunities at every level of experience—and the need for qualified individuals is only growing.

Employment Outlook

The cybersecurity field is experiencing explosive growth, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 32% increase in employment from 2022 to 2032. Currently, there are over 700,000 open cybersecurity positions in the U.S. alone, underscoring the critical demand for professionals.

Salary Outlook

Due to the high demand for their skills, cybersecurity jobs command higher-than-average salaries, and positions in specific sectors and regions requiring advanced expertise can earn even more.

Cybersecurity Learning Options

Sitting in front of a computer screen and learning cybersecurity
Still deciding how to get into cybersecurity? There is no wrong way to do it. To simplify your options, however, we’ll focus on the best 4 options.

Cybersecurity bootcamps

Accelerate your journey to a career in cybersecurity with bootcamps. These bootcamps offer comprehensive training taught through immersive, hands-on labs and classes led by cybersecurity experts active in the field.

ThriveDX’s 36-week Cybersecurity Professional Bootcamp can help you become part of a thriving community that opens doors, builds connections, and doesn’t stop at graduation. The curriculum is aligned with the NICE/NIST Framework to teach you the skills needed to succeed in a cybersecurity career.

College degrees

Embarking on a traditional college journey provides an immersive dive into foundational theory, enhances critical thinking abilities, and sharpens problem-solving skills within a formal educational framework. The decision to pursue a college degree or a bootcamp depends on individual learning styles, professional aspirations, and existing time and financial commitments.

Online learning

For individuals curious about how to get into cybersecurity with a focus on online learning, then the ThriveDX Bootcamp is the way to go, with its emphasis on foundational knowledge and hands-on learning. Other digital platforms can offer supplemental study resources.

Online learning environments like the ThriveDX Bootcamp offer the flexibility and convenience needed to design a personalized educational journey, accommodating tight schedules and specific interests.

Vocational schools

When exploring avenues into the cybersecurity realm, vocational schools emerge as a practical alternative. These institutions prioritize hands-on, applied training aimed at readying students for particular positions in the industry. Vocational programs are ideally suited for those eager to get into their cybersecurity careers quickly.

Cyber security Learning Options - ThriveDX

Developing Cybersecurity Skills

Determining how to get into cybersecurity is more than just a choice— it demands clarity, dedication, and passion. Your growth will be determined by a mix of education and self-exploration, from academic journals to research papers and online webinars to social media.

Essential Skills for a Cybersecurity Specialist

Navigating the path into cybersecurity requires more than just an interest in technology—it requires a diverse set of soft skills.

Can you enter cybersecurity with a non-technical background?

Absolutely. In fact, you probably have many essential skills needed to succeed in cybersecurity already. If you’re curious about how to get into cybersecurity from a different industry, a significant first step is to learn the basics and close your knowledge gaps.

Transferable skills

The cybersecurity field values a wide range of skills, many of which can be transferred from other careers:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Time management
  • Ethics and integrity
  • Creativity
  • Continuous learning

Incorporating these strengths into your skill set not only answers how to get into cybersecurity but also prepares you for a successful career.

Technical skills

To excel in cybersecurity, one requires a strong blend of technical and soft skills:

  • Technical aptitude: A strong understanding of networks, systems, and security technologies is crucial.
  • Knowledge of security across various platforms: Familiarity with operating systems and network types.
  • Fundamental computer forensics skills: Processes for investigating cybercrimes.
  • An understanding of hacking: Knowing how hackers operate helps defend against them.

sitting next to a table learning Programming Skills

Programming Skills Needed To Get Into Cybersecurity

Programming skills are crucial when figuring out how to get into cybersecurity. These skills empower cybersecurity professionals to understand the inner workings of software and systems and security tools to more effectively identify and resolve vulnerabilities.

In the cybersecurity realm, critical programming languages have specific importance:

  • Python: A favorite for scripting and automating cybersecurity tasks.
  • JavaScript: Vital for web security, especially in preventing attacks like cross-site scripting (XSS) and cross-site request forgery (CSRF).
  • C++ and C: Critical for system programming and understanding how software interacts with hardware.
  • SQL: With databases being a common target for attacks, expertise in SQL is vital.

For anyone aiming to break into cybersecurity, a grasp of these languages can significantly enhance their skill set and effectiveness in various cybersecurity roles.

Cybersecurity Career Paths and Specializations

For those wondering how to get into cybersecurity, the cybersecurity field offers a diverse range of career opportunities.

Core cybersecurity roles

Security Analyst

This role involves monitoring an organization’s security systems, analyzing potential threats, and responding to security breaches.

Ethical Hacker

Also known as penetration testers, they use their skills to test and bypass security systems and identify vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

Security Architect

This role is critical in planning, researching, and designing the security elements of an organization’s digital infrastructure.

Emerging specializations

Cybersecurity is rapidly evolving. This evolution is driven by emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing.

IoT Security Specialist

IoT Security Specialists focus on protecting networks and devices like smart home systems and industrial sensors from cyber threats, ensuring the safety of interconnected technology.

Cloud Security Architect

Cloud Security Architects design and implement security measures to protect data and infrastructure in the cloud environment—safeguarding against data breaches and unauthorized access.

Cybersecurity Data Scientist

Cybersecurity Data Scientists utilize big data analytics to predict, detect, and respond to cyber threats.

Specialized cybersecurity pathways

Cybersecurity experts can shape their careers around particular industries or specific cyber threats based on what interests them and where the market needs them most.

Financial Cybersecurity Expert

Focusing on combating cyber theft and fraud, financial cybersecurity experts safeguard the digital assets of banks and clients.

Healthcare Cybersecurity Specialist

They keep medical records, patient info, and other private data under lock and key within healthcare systems while adhering to healthcare regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

People are sitting next to a table looking at the screen and sitting next to a table - the learning never stops
The Learning Never Stops

In the fast-paced world of cybersecurity, ongoing education is crucial. Regularly engaging in training, webinars, workshops, and conferences is critical to keeping your edge sharp in the field.

Certifications and Further Education

Here’s a list of relevant certifications for specialized cybersecurity fields:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): Ideal for experienced cybersecurity practitioners, managers, and executives.
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): Focuses on managing and governing a cybersecurity program.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): Emphasizes offensive tactics through ethical hacking and penetration testing skills.
  • CompTIA Security+: Provides foundational knowledge in network security and risk management.
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP): Specializes in cloud security.

Navigating the Cybersecurity Job Market

The cybersecurity job market is thriving, with a high demand for skilled professionals. If you’re wondering how to get into cybersecurity, it’s essential to consider the following tips to set yourself up for success.

Tips for cybersecurity job hunting and standing out to employers

Crafting a compelling resume

Here are some helpful tips to highlight your cybersecurity skills, certifications, and experience effectively to stand out from the rest:

  • Tailor your resume
  • Gain certifications
  • Detail your experience
  • Include soft skills
  • Show your learnings
  • Quantify your achievements
Leveraging LinkedIn and other platforms

To effectively use professional social networks like LinkedIn to showcase your expertise in cybersecurity and connect with hiring managers:

  • Optimize your profile: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, with a professional photo, compelling headline, and a summary highlighting your cybersecurity expertise and interests.
  • Highlight skills and certifications: List your cybersecurity skills, certifications, and any relevant courses or training you have completed.
  • Showcase experience: Detail your work experience, focusing on specific cybersecurity projects or roles.
  • Publish content: Share articles, write posts, or publish papers on topics related to cybersecurity. This demonstrates thought leadership and keeps you visible in your network.
  • Engage with industry content: Like, comment on, and share relevant cybersecurity content. This can increase your visibility and show your engagement with the industry.
  • Networking: Connect with peers, industry thought leaders, and hiring managers. Personalize your connection requests with a short message about your shared interests or goals.
  • Join groups and participate: Join LinkedIn groups related to cybersecurity and actively participate in discussions. This can help you stay informed and get noticed by industry professionals.
  • Seek recommendations: Ask colleagues, clients, or instructors to write recommendations for your LinkedIn profile, endorsing your cybersecurity skills and experience.

By actively managing your LinkedIn profile and engaging with the community, you can effectively showcase your expertise and connect with potential employers.

Preparing for cybersecurity interviews

Staying ready for various questions that test your technical knowledge and problem-solving skills is paramount. Here are some common types of questions and how to approach them:

    • Technical questions: These may involve specific technologies, tools, or methodologies. For example, “How do you stay updated with the latest cybersecurity threats?” Be specific in your answer, mentioning blogs, websites, or forums you follow and how you apply this knowledge.
    • Scenario-based questions: These test your problem-solving skills. For example, “How would you handle a detected breach in the company’s network?” Outline a straightforward, step-by-step approach to address the situation, demonstrating your logical and systematic thinking.
    • Behavioral questions: These assess how you work. For example, “How do you handle stress when managing urgent security issues?” Describe specific strategies or experiences that showcase your ability to maintain performance under pressure.
    • Knowledge of current trends: Be prepared to discuss recent cybersecurity incidents or trends, showing you’re up-to-date with the industry.Clear and concise answers, backed by specific examples or experiences, can effectively demonstrate your expertise and problem-solving abilities in a cybersecurity interview.

People are sitting togther seems to be in a meeting about cybersecurity
Showcasing hands-on experience

Practical experience, such as internships, personal projects, or participation in hackathons, is crucial in the field of cybersecurity for several reasons:

      • Application of theoretical knowledge: These experiences allow you to apply what you’ve learned in a real-world context.
      • Skill development: Hands-on experience helps you develop and refine technical skills that are critical in cybersecurity.
      • Problem-solving: Working on real or simulated cybersecurity challenges enhances your problem-solving skills.
      • Networking: Participating in internships, projects, and hackathons exposes you to professionals and peers in the industry, helping you build a network.

Importance of networking and professional development

Knowing how to get into cybersecurity is about much more than just who you know—it’s about what you can learn. Networking is not just collecting contacts—it’s opening yourself up to a world of expert advice, mentorship, and authentic industry knowledge.

Building a professional network

Here are some strategies to effectively network in the industry:

Attend industry conferences: Conferences are great for meeting fellow professionals. Engage in discussions while collecting business cards to follow up with new connections post-conference.

Join cybersecurity forums: Online forums and platforms like Reddit, Stack Exchange, or specialized cybersecurity forums are excellent for virtual networking.

Participate in local cybersecurity groups: Join local cybersecurity groups or meetups. These settings can help you form stronger connections, engage in group activities, and volunteer for events.

Seek mentorship: FInding mentors in the field is pivotal to your growth, as mentors offer guidance, introduce you to their network, and provide career advice.

Remember, networking is about building genuine relationships, so focus on how you can add value to your connections.

Leveraging mentors and peers

Finding a mentor in cybersecurity offers several key benefits:

Guidance and advice
: Mentors provide valuable insights based on their experiences, guiding you through career decisions and challenges in the field.

Skill enhancement: Mentors can offer targeted advice to improve your skills and recommend resources and strategies that work for them.

Networking opportunities: A mentor can introduce you to professionals in the field, expanding your network and opening up job opportunities.

Feedback on progress: Regular interactions with a mentor can provide constructive feedback on your progress and areas for improvement.

Peer learning is also crucial as it allows for exchanging ideas and knowledge among individuals at similar career stages.

Staying updated with industry trends

For those intent on figuring out how to get into cybersecurity, staying updated on the latest cybersecurity threats, technologies, and best practices is essential. Consider utilizing the following resources:
Online publications and blogs: Websites like Krebs on Security, Dark Reading, and The Hacker News offer up-to-date information on cybersecurity trends and threats.

Industry reports and journals: Regularly read industry reports from Symantec, McAfee, and the SANS Institute. Journals like the Journal of Cybersecurity also provide in-depth analyses.

Newsletters and magazines: Subscribing to cybersecurity newsletters and magazines can keep you informed. Examples include CSO Online and Cybersecurity Magazine.

Webinars and online courses: Many organizations and educational institutions offer webinars and online courses that cover current cybersecurity topics.

Professional associations: Joining groups like ISACA, ISC2, or the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) can provide access to a wealth of resources.

Social media and forums: Following cybersecurity experts on LinkedIn or X and participating in forums like Reddit’s r/cybersecurity can be insightful.

Conferences and meetups:
Attending industry conferences virtually or in person is a great way to learn about current issues and network with professionals.

Regularly engaging with these resources can significantly enhance your knowledge and keep you at the forefront of the field.

Finishing a job interview for a cybersecurity career
The Future of Cybersecurity Careers

Knowing how to get into cybersecurity is one thing, but what about the industry’s future?
As the field continues to innovate, digital technologies integrate more and more into every aspect of our lives, growing the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Emerging trends in cybersecurity and their impact on careers

Emerging trends in cybersecurity significantly impact the landscape of cybersecurity careers, offering new challenges and opportunities. Here are some key trends:

Internet of Things (IoT) security: With the expansion of connected devices, securing IoT networks is critical. This creates a demand for professionals skilled in IoT security.

Cloud security: As more organizations move to cloud-based solutions, the need for cloud security experts is growing, leading to specialized roles in securing cloud environments.

Mobile security: With the widespread use of mobile devices, mobile security is a growing concern, opening up career paths in developing secure mobile platforms.

Regulatory compliance: Increasing data protection regulations like GDPR create demand for cybersecurity professionals who can navigate legal and compliance aspects.

Cybersecurity automation: Automating repetitive tasks to improve efficiency and response time is gaining traction, leading to roles focusing on integrating automation technologies in

Threat intelligence: Careers in threat intelligence involve analyzing and understanding cyber threats to develop more effective defense strategies.

Remote work security:
The rise in remote working necessitates enhanced security measures for remote access, leading to careers focused on securing remote work environments.
These trends suggest cybersecurity is moving towards more specialized roles, requiring continuous learning and adaptation to new technologies and threats.

The role of AI and machine learning (ML) in shaping cybersecurity jobs

AI and ML are increasingly used for threat detection and response. Careers focusing on developing and managing AI-driven security solutions are on the rise, so for those wondering how to get into cybersecurity, AI and machine learning are great opportunities for specialization.

Advanced threat detection: AI and machine learning algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to detect anomalies and potential threats more efficiently than traditional methods. This creates roles for professionals skilled in designing, implementing, and managing AI-driven security systems.

Automating security tasks: AI automates routine cybersecurity tasks, like monitoring network traffic or scanning for vulnerabilities. This shift allows cybersecurity professionals to focus on more complex tasks, requiring skills in managing and overseeing AI-based automation systems.

Predictive Analytics: AI and machine learning enable predictive analytics, which uses data to predict potential security incidents. This leads to roles specializing in data analysis within the cybersecurity domain.

Response and Remediation: AI systems can also assist in responding to and remediating security incidents more rapidly. This development demands professionals who can integrate AI strategies into incident response protocols.

Skills Evolution: As AI takes on more routine tasks, cybersecurity professionals must develop higher-level skills in areas like AI system design, ethical considerations of AI in cybersecurity, and strategic implementation of AI solutions.

Looking at the camera smiling

As you stand at the starting line of your journey into cybersecurity, remember that the race ahead is not just about speed but also about strategy, resilience, and the continuous pursuit of improvement.

Some runners excel on flat terrain (like mastering foundational cybersecurity concepts), while others gain ground on the hills (tackling advanced specializations and practical experiences).
Now, with your training behind you and the course ahead, it’s time to take that exhilarating first step. The journey to becoming a skilled cybersecurity professional might feel like a marathon, with its highs and lows, but remember, the most rewarding part is the race itself.

Lace up your shoes, set your sights on the finish line, and embark on the run of a lifetime toward a fulfilling career in cybersecurity.

FAQ Section

How do I start a career in cybersecurity?

Start by exploring foundational knowledge through online resources, books, and courses. Consider obtaining certifications like CompTIA Security+ to validate your skills.

What do you need to get into cybersecurity?

A strong interest in IT and information security, basic computer skills, a formal education or certification, and a willingness to learn are essential.

How do I get an entry to cybersecurity?

Apply for entry-level positions using a well-put-together resume and learn to master the interview process.

Is cybersecurity hard to get into?

While the field is competitive, the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals creates numerous opportunities.

What are the skills needed for cybersecurity?

Essential skills include technical knowledge of networks and systems, understanding of security principles, problem-solving, attention to detail, and effective communication.

How do I prepare for a cybersecurity job?

Gain knowledge through study and practical experience, obtain relevant certifications, and stay updated on the latest security trends and threats.

How do I get a job in cybersecurity in the US?

Focus on building a strong foundational skill set, obtaining certifications, and creating a professional online presence. Apply to roles and network within the field.

Is cybersecurity in demand in the US?

Yes, it is. There are over 700,000 available jobs just waiting to be filled by skilled professionals.


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