How to Get into Cyber Security Without a Degree

How to get into cyber security without a degree.

Cyber security is an ever-growing field with numerous job opportunities.

The global cyber security market was worth $120 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $300 billion in value by 2024.  

This article aims to guide individuals who are passionate about cyber security and looking to establish a successful career in the field, regardless of their educational background. 

So, if you’re looking to get into cyber security without a degree, just keep reading! 

Understanding the basics of cyber security

A successful IT professional in cyber security without a degree.

To get into cyber security without a degree, numerous elements must be considered, such as system vulnerabilities.

These vulnerabilities, essentially weaknesses within a system, present opportunities for cyber attackers to exploit.

Findings from a 2020-2021 report highlighted that 17% of cyber attacks targeted vulnerabilities in web applications.

Notably, the most perilous issues in these applications are linked to inadequate user authorisation and authentication mechanisms.

These weak spots can be found in various components, including software, hardware, or even human processes.

By proactively identifying and rectifying these vulnerabilities, cyber security professionals play a crucial role in dramatically lowering the odds of successful cyber attacks.

Another important term in cyber security is threat.

A threat is any potential danger that can exploit a vulnerability and cause harm to a system or its data.

Threats can come in various forms, such as malware, phishing attacks, or even physical theft of devices.

Understanding different types of threats is essential for anyone who wants to get into cyber security without a degree.

Risk is yet another crucial concept to grasp if you want to break into cyber security without a degree.

It refers to the likelihood of a threat exploiting a vulnerability and the potential impact it can have.

By assessing risks, cyber security professionals can prioritise their efforts and allocate resources accordingly.

This helps in implementing appropriate security controls to mitigate the identified risks.

Key concepts and terminologies in cyber security

A key concept closely related to cyber security is confidentiality.

Confidentiality ensures that only authorised individuals have access to sensitive information.

This is achieved through encryption techniques, access controls, and secure communication channels.

Maintaining confidentiality is crucial, especially when dealing with personal or sensitive data.

Integrity is another important concept to understand to get into cyber security without a degree.

It ensures that data remains accurate, complete, and unaltered during storage, transmission, and processing.

By implementing integrity controls, organisations can detect and prevent unauthorised modifications to their data, ensuring its reliability and trustworthiness.

Availability is yet another vital aspect of cyber security. It ensures that systems, networks, and data are accessible and usable when needed.

Denial of service attacks and system failures can disrupt availability, causing significant harm to businesses and individuals.

Implementing redundancy, backup systems, and disaster recovery plans can help maintain availability even in the face of such challenges.

The importance of self-learning in cyber security

Self-learning and mastery are paramount for anyone looking to get into cyber security without a degree.

This involves reading books, attending online courses, and following reputable sources of information to stay updated with the latest trends and best practices.

One of the advantages of self-learning is the flexibility it offers.

Individuals can choose their own pace and focus on specific areas of interest.

This allows them to tailor their learning experience according to their needs and preferences.

Additionally, self-learning can be cost-effective, as many online resources and educational platforms offer free or affordable courses and materials.

Continuous learning is crucial to get into cyber security without a degree.

New threats, vulnerabilities, and technologies emerge regularly, requiring professionals to stay updated with the latest developments.

By engaging in self-learning, individuals can keep their knowledge and skills up to date, ensuring they are well-equipped to tackle the challenges of the cyber security landscape.

Building a strong foundation in IT

IT student building a strong foundation in cyber security without a degree.

The field of cyber security is closely intertwined with information technology (IT). Therefore, having a strong foundation in IT is essential for those who want to get into cyber security without a degree.

Gaining practical experience in IT

Hands-on experience is invaluable in IT and equally important for those wanting to break into cyber security without a degree.

Seek opportunities to work on real-world projects, either through internships or by contributing to open-source projects.

Practical experience will not only enhance your skills but also demonstrate your commitment and dedication to potential employers.

Learning programming languages relevant to cyber security

Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, Java, and C++ is highly beneficial for a career in cyber security.

These languages are widely used in various aspects of cyber security, including malware analysis, penetration testing, and secure coding practices.

Take the time to learn and practice coding to strengthen your technical abilities.

Breaking into cyber security without a degree: relevant skills

In addition to a strong IT foundation, there are specific skills that every cyber security professional should possess.

Essential cyber security skills to master

Some key skills to focus on include network security, ethical hacking, incident response, and threat intelligence.

These skills will enable you to protect networks, detect vulnerabilities, respond to security incidents, and analyse potential threats.

Online resources for learning cyber security

The internet is packed with valuable resources for learning cyber security.

Online platforms, such as the Institute of Data, offer programs that cater to individuals at different skill levels.

Take advantage of these resources to expand your knowledge and skills and gain practical experience through the Institute of Data’s Cyber Security program.

Earning industry-recognised certifications

While a degree is not necessary, industry-recognised certifications can significantly boost your credibility and employability in the cyber security field.

The value of certifications in cyber security

Certifications provide validation of your skills and knowledge to potential employers.

They demonstrate your commitment to professional development and set you apart from other candidates.

Some widely recognised certifications in cyber security include CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

Top certifications for aspiring cyber security professionals

When choosing certifications, consider your career goals and the specific areas of cyber security you want to specialise in.

Research the requirements and benefits of each certification to select the ones that align with your interests and aspirations.

Networking and building professional relationships

Analysts building professional network in cyber security without a degree.

Networking plays a crucial role in career development, including in the field of cyber security.

The role of networking in the cyber security industry

Networking allows you to connect with professionals in the industry, exchange knowledge and experiences, and discover job opportunities that may not be publicly advertised.

Building relationships can also lead to mentorship and valuable career guidance, ultimately helping you get into cyber security without a degree.

Tips for effective networking in cyber security

To enhance your networking efforts, attend industry conferences, join relevant online forums and communities, and engage in discussions on social media platforms.

Approach networking with authenticity, offering assistance and support to others in the field.


Breaking into the field of cyber security without a degree is challenging but achievable.

By understanding the basics, building a strong foundation in IT, acquiring relevant skills, earning industry-recognised certifications, and networking effectively, individuals can successfully launch their careers in this exciting and important industry.

Remember, continuous learning, dedication, and a passion for problem-solving are key to thriving in cyber security.

To increase your knowledge and skill set in the realm of cyber security, consider exploring the Institute of Data’s specialised Cyber Security Program.

Alternatively, if you’d like personalised guidance on your career path in cyber security, don’t hesitate to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss the program.

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