Cybersecurity is one of the hottest sectors today, with new threats and challenges emerging each day. And with that, there is a huge push being undertaken by both business and education sectors to attract individuals toward a degree and career in cybersecurity.
Growing Need and High Demand
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for information security analysts will grow by 32 percent by 2028 -- making it one of the fastest growing job sectors -- while Cybersecurity Ventures has found that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in 2021. This means that cybersecurity professionals are among the most in-demand around the world and will be for years to come.
Cybersecurity evolves quickly so you will always be learning and developing new skills. There is ultimate growth potential — both in your career path and for learning opportunities.
“My career started when I worked at a managed services company as a cybersecurity analyst,” said Megan Padilla, a senior compliance analyst in the Office of Information Technology at CU Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus. “In that role, I found I enjoyed the complexity and the analytical nature of cybersecurity. Now, I enjoy and value my role at CU because it offers different challenges in different compliance areas and we learn about different research projects.”
“It is our duty to find out how we can provide both security and the best user experience,” said Neil Kautzner, an information security officer at UCCS. “How can we solve this problem?” is the phrase that should be ingrained into a security analyst.”
What to Expect
- Cybersecurity has something for everyone! Skills are needed from a diverse range of backgrounds.
- You will never be bored. New technology brings new risks. Creative problem solving takes you into uncharted areas. “One day, I could be involved in a research project with a researcher who is trying to find a way to offer better care for cancer patients. Then, other days I could be researching how to meet compliance standards for a specific tool, cloud service, or application,” said Padilla.
- Job flexibility and highly transferable skills. These skills allow you to move anywhere in the world and apply to any industry sector.
- Multiple career options that are not just technical. Business, medical, law, defense, and intelligence all need workers skilled in cybersecurity.
- Multiple career pathways. Two and four-year degree programs, certifications, work-based experience, and apprenticeships are just some different career pathways that practitioners have taken to arrive in their current position.
How to Prepare for a Career in Cybersecurity
Tim Ashour, a senior incident response analyst in CU’s Office of Information Security, said he got into cybersecurity “by accident.” Tim happened to be working at the Texas A&M Help Desk when the security team was running an investigation that needed the Help Desk to be involved. “I spent a lot of time with that team. They offered me a job later,” he said.
- Learn how technologies work. Explore the basics of administrating a computer system, and configuring, running, and maintaining common applications. Learning how a network works and some basic coding are also helpful.
- Obtain an industry-recognized credential such as a certification, academic degree, or certificate of completion. Take some classes offered in high schools, colleges, and universities, and through training providers. Explore a wide range of free online resources. Look for summer camps or training opportunities to expand your skills.
- Network. Attend a conference or hackathon. Join a Meetup, after-school club, or professional organization.
- Get hands-on experience. Explore internship and apprenticeship options. Participate in a cyber defense, digital forensics, or cryptography competition.
Gretchen Bliss, Director of Cybersecurity Programs at UCCS, "Careers in Cybersecurity" Webinar Recording (PowerPoint presentation is provided below.)