[Column] Karien Bornheim: Why it’s the right time for a career in cybersecurity
The cybersecurity landscape is a battle zone. War is being fought on every front, from email to firewalls to personnel to cracking complex codes, cybercriminals are evolving and adapting alongside the technology designed to protect organisations against them. For the business, the battlefield is fraught with hidden risks and new complexities. The cybercrime industry is estimated to be worth around $US 1.5 trillion and it’s continuing to grow at an exponential rate. There is a dire need for cybersecurity professionals that have the skills and nous to support organisations in protecting information and systems.
“The role of the cybersecurity professional has evolved considerably,” says Karien Bornheim, Chief Executive Officer at Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS). “You can become a cybersecurity engineer with branch-out skills in networks and applications, you can invest in training that hones your skills as an information security analyst, you can become an ethical hacker and many more. Each of these roles undertakes highly specialised tasks to mitigate the ongoing cybersecurity threat and refine security systems and compliance postures.”
The complex and endlessly changing cybercrime market is not the only reason why anyone with a head for analysis and a penchant for problem-solving should consider moving into the cybersecurity career path. Here are four more:
It’s a cybersecurity market
Thanks to the ongoing and ever evolving cybersecurity risks, there is a dire need for people who have the skills to help organisations combat these threats. A simple Google search into the term ‘cybersecurity job’ will reveal thousands of openings and opportunities all over the world. For those who have the training, there is the chance to work across multiple industries and in many different countries. In the United States, the CyberSeek Cybersecurity Supply/Demand heat map reveals the staggering need for trained cybersecurity professionals – more than 300,000 in just the US alone and rising.
“Training to become a cybersecurity engineer, analyst, architect, and administrator should be done through a reliable and reputable organisation that assures you of certifications that are globally recognised,” adds Bornheim. “Ensure that you opt into the right career path for your skills and inclinations and then work with a training partner that suits your needs.”
The incredible global demand for talented cybersecurity professionals means that if you invest your time in training to become one, you are looking at a stable and secure job for the foreseeable future. The demand is unlikely to dip any time with growth in cybercrime expected to continue at a staggering rate. The most important consideration is to ensure that your personality and interests are suited to this career.
“It’s a good idea to spend some time reading through various cybersecurity manuals, training programmes, and online content,” says Bornheim. “This will give you a good idea of the type of work you’ll do and whether or not it appeals to you. To really enhance your skillsets, you will need to spend time learning about more than just basic cybersecurity tenets, you will need to continually train and expand your knowledge to align with trends and developments in cybercrime.”
Anyone can do it
Along with job security and plenty of opportunities, is the reality that becoming a cybersecurity professional pays well, even at the entry level. You can start at the bottom and rapidly grow your way to the top if you apply yourself and invest in consistent skills and knowledge development. What’s even more interesting about this career, is that you don’t need to have spent your youth hacking computers or crafting code, anyone can grow into one of the many cybersecurity specialisations available on the market today.
“You don’t need to have in-depth technology experience to move into this career path,” says Bornheim. “The skills that you have learned along the road, your ability to understand human motivations, and a talent for thinking outside the box will stand you in great stead. You can build technical savvy through training, but you can’t create the ability to anticipate human behaviour or think in shades of grey.”
You may find it quite satisfying
According to the Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2018 undertaken by (ISC)2 41% of cybersecurity professionals were somewhat satisfied with their jobs, 27% were very satisfied and only 6% were very dissatisfied. If you work for a company that recognises the need for robust security infrastructure and provides the funds and support required, then it is very likely that you will enjoy your role.
“Thanks to the enormous demand for trained professionals, you can pick and choose the company you work for, so choose one that understands the value you offer and the challenge that the cyberthreat presents,” says Bornheim. “Most people find their jobs incredibly rewarding if they can really dig in and make a difference and the role of a cybersecurity professional is one that can really tick this box if you work for the right company.”
Cybersecurity is a very alluring career path for people who enjoy a challenge, pay attention to detail, constantly learn and evolve, have great people skills, and are capable of working well under pressure. It is a demanding career and it does ask that you can think on your feet, but it also provides you with a really dynamic career path, constant growth, international travel, and so much more.
“There is no age limit on learning to become a cybersecurity professional,” concludes Bornheim. “Anyone at any stage of their life can pick up the threads of this career and get started. All you need is a reliable training partner and a certified qualification along with the determination to succeed. FABS currently offers market leading training that covers all the bases you need to put your foot on the ladder to cybersecurity success.”