How to Career Change into Cyber Security from a Non-IT Background

career change into cyber security

If you are considering a move into cyber security but feel like it is impossible because you do not have any IT experience – you are not alone. Thousands of professionals across Asia Pacific (APAC) are turning to cyber security to build their careers. This includes those from a non-IT background, as the cyber security field yields an exciting career with great employment opportunities and generous remuneration. As of April 2021, there were over 4 million unfilled cyber security jobs globally. If there was ever a time to enter this booming industry, it is now.

Let’s explore how you can make a career change into cyber security from a non-IT background.

Firstly, find out if you are passionate about cyber security

First and foremost, are you truly passionate about cyber security?

You will not get far in the cyber industry without the passion and inner drive to protect your organisation and understand client needs. Furthermore, organisations will not have confidence in hiring someone who lacks that drive. Having a passion for cyber security will also make learning comprehensive technical information and practical skills much easier.

According to Deloitte “Some of [their] brightest cyber security minds jump-started their career without a computer science degree. Instead, they were armed with a curious mind, an affinity and passion for the subject and the ability to easily adapt to new situations”. That just goes to show that a computer science degree is not a necessity. A genuine passion for cyber security, combined with demonstrable job-ready practical skills will go a long way.

6 reasons why you should switch to a career in cyber security

It is predicted that global spending on cyber security is expected to grow from US$126 billion in 2016 to US$251 billion by 2026, with cyber security job openings continuing to reach record numbers over the 4 million mark well beyond 2021. With this unprecedented growth, there is no better time to make a career change into cyber security.

If you are reading this, you must already have at least one reason to consider a career switch to the cyber security industry. Here are another 6 reasons why you should take the plunge:

    1. Become part of a dynamic industry – Cyber security is evolving and developing at a rapid pace so you will constantly be learning.
    2. Reap a great financial reward – Cyber security professionals are among some of the highest paid growth jobs across APAC.
    3. Working for the greater good – Through fighting to reduce cyber-crime and organisations’ cyber risks, you will be helping businesses, communities and can have a positive impact on society.
    4. Learn in-demand skills – The skills that you will learn will be highly transferrable meaning you can improve your flexibility and adaptability to move across industries and locations in the world.
    5. Huge industry demand – The industry is experiencing unprecedented growth that does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
    6. Challenge yourself – You will get to test yourself every day by solving challenging cyber issues.

Read: How Ez re-booted his career into cyber security from a non-IT background

Read: How Dominique launched her cyber security career in less than 6 months

Do your research and learn the technical and soft skills needed to career change into cyber security

Like becoming a professional in any field, you will need to do your research and build a foundation of technical and theoretical skills before becoming an expert. It is important to make yourself knowledgeable and keep up with evolving industry trends regarding networking, system administration, data management, data analytics, reporting and security. However, as long as you are passionate about the industry, once you build your foundational cyber skills, you can apply for entry-level cyber security roles and quickly build your career due to the growing cyber skills shortage.

When it comes to coding and programming skills, they are not absolutely necessary for every cyber role but they definitely provide an edge and are required for those wanting to excel in the cyber security industry in sought after roles such as a Cyber Security Analyst, Penetration Tester, Cyber Security Threat Hunter, Forensic Analyst, Cyber Incident Responder and more.

There are also a plethora of online resources to help you build your coding and programming skills in languages demanded by the industry (C+, C++, Python, Ruby, R, PHP and SQL to name a few) – or if you don’t want to waste time trying to find relevant resources and want to build your cyber skills in a real-time learning environment – our cyber security certification program with UTS, may be the right fit for you.

It can seem a daunting task, learning the technical skills, but it is certainly not the be-all and end-all. In fact, soft skills often set cyber professionals apart when they are trying to break into the cyber industry and land their first role – you may even have the relevant soft skills needed to make a career pivot to the cyber industry. Top soft skills employers are looking for include, the ability to learn on the job, leadership qualities, a problem-solving mindset, management capabilities, willingness to communicate with stakeholders at all levels, and a strong motivation to keep learning and achieve set goals.

Gain some industry experience in cyber security

Once you have a firm grasp and understanding of cyber security fundamentals, it is time to take it up a notch. This will be the stage where you have the opportunity to prove your passion, dedication and professionalism as a valuable cyber security industry candidate. Here are some things that you can do next:

  • Practice and develop your technical proficiencies through independent projects that test your skills.
  • Gain some experience through volunteering or an internship – This will allow you to acquire some on-the-job training and affirm if cyber security is something you’re truly passionate about. It also provides an opportunity to begin networking with industry professionals.
  • Connect with industry professionals through events (online or in-person) – Surround yourself with like-minded professionals. One way to do this is through industry events and seminars. Attend one of our events or browse the web and have a look to see if any are happening near you soon. Joining industry groups on LinkedIn is also a quick way to become part of the local cyber security community.
  • Find a mentor – There is no better way to learn cyber security than from someone actively working in the industry. This will allow you to be updated on industry trends, relevant knowledge and career guidance. Finding a mentor doesn’t happen overnight. Start by creating or involving yourself in intelligent cyber community conversations. Read up on professionals that you admire to understand their pathway to cyber and align your goals with an industry professional that you can relate to.

The fastest way to launch your cyber career is to complete a cyber security course and get industry-educated. If you are focused on building your cyber skills and want to become an expert that works to protect, defend, and respond to cyber security challenges every day, you will need to demonstrate to employers that you can get the job done.

If you’re ready to dive into your new and exciting career as a cyber security professional, schedule a career consultation here or learn more about our cyber security training program and industry certification here.

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