The term ‘cybersecurity’ is not uncommon anymore. Yet vacancies remain unfulfilled every year due to the lack of skilled personnel including entry level cyber security jobs. You’d be mistaken if the salary is a concern because cybersecurity can lead to some of the highest-paying jobs from the get-go.
As the world is following digital trends and making them an essential part of our daily lives, the cybersecurity sector is gaining more and more attention. Getting a job in the industry can get complicated quickly for beginners eyeing the vacancies. If enough skill is placed on the opposite scale, there are plenty of opportunities.
Unlike other fields, this one is mainly fueled by passion. A passion for protecting organizations, services, and people from the vast infrastructure of online threats.
Professionals in the sector have a personality trait: they tend to spend more time front of computers than others. They have a circle that discusses above-average details of tech.
These tech-savvy personnel’s continuously work to keep businesses and their data safe from intruders. That’s not the only part: contract-based jobs, fixed salary jobs, penetration testing is a cybersecurity professional’s regular work ethic.
If you’re a beginner who is looking for a direction in entry-level jobs, skill requirements, certification programs, best practices, and similar details, you’re in luck. This article will cover all of that, and even if you’re an expert, chances are, the post will give you the latest terminology and a fresh find on the job market.
The article will cover the following topics, among others
- Demand for cybersecurity jobs
- Government jobs in cybersecurity
- Cybersecurity Education
- Cybersecurity Certification
- Free Resources
- Entry Level Cybersecurity Jobs
- How to apply
Demand for Cybersecurity Jobs
The internet era has become mainstream, and it calls for all available cybersecurity experts. In last year’s survey by Statista, we saw 59 percent of people in the world using the internet every day. That’s almost five billion people using the internet daily to stay connected or conduct business somehow.
The bad news, rate of cybercrime increased phenomenally. According to Cybercrime Magazine, it is the ‘greatest threat to every company in the world.’ It is estimated $6 trillion in damages is caused within this year. The good news, job for cybersecurity outlook is stronger than ever.
Due to the pandemic, professionals started working remotely, which drove cyber threats to the roof. There is not as much access to the hardware remotely. And cybersecurity doesn’t only require field skills but also hands-on knowledge. More than 3.5 million opportunities were present for cybersecurity in 2021, and many spots remain vacant. In 2014 the demand was just a million less than today. These vacancies are just adding up.
From 2013 to 2021, the demand for cybersecurity jobs grew by 350 percent, which is by far one of the largest growing markets in the world.
Once there was a time, cybersecurity teams worked side by side with the IT team, but that is no longer convenient. Even general employees are given basic cybersecurity training to stabilize the IT industry efficiently.
Every IT position is kind of a cybersecurity position at the moment. Workers, employees, decision-makers, literally all aspects are involved in some training program.
According to industry leaders, the security talent pipeline is not where it’s supposed to be. If we calculate all these stats and compare them with real-world workloads, the opportunities in the field are endless.
Companies highly seek out cybersecurity teams and individuals, and the vacant spots are nowhere near being filled. So, the rising demand for cybersecurity jobs will only grow, and the article will get you started finding entry-level cybersecurity jobs with pointers.
Government Jobs in Cybersecurity
If your interest solely lies in fighting battles against cybercriminals, a government job will provide direct action against them. Though government cybersecurity jobs at the entry-level do not pay as much as private firms, it still makes a strong candidate to consider.
There are some benefits in the entry-level government cybersecurity jobs, and some are as follows:
- Joining the public services will enable working with most agencies and military branches. Due to the coronavirus, the number of cyber threats and ransomware attacks grew.
- It requires cyber talent in all sectors, and the government-level security teams work with a diverse workforce. There are many roles such as research, data analysis, forensic, law enforcement agency. This requires critical thinking ability for technical positions.
- Government jobs offer loan forgiveness and scholarships to boost careers with the lowest possible cost. Though entering into the sector will require the proper education and skills, choosing the right forint will narrow down towards an appealing portfolio.
- The stats for government cybersecurity jobs comes with taking down drug runners, rogue governments, terrorists, and providing long-term engagement in career. Starting salary may not look very soothing, but the ladder is pretty attractive.
- If a career takes you into the military route, it can last for decades, and once the contract finishes, it will be easy to sit on the decision maker’s table. Hiring recruits, pointing towards essential decisions will come into play. If that looks attractive to you, government cybersecurity jobs will serve you way better than private jobs.
Now, as we have a slight idea of the benefits of government jobs, let’s check out some downsides. Though our goal is not demotivating readers, people should know the drawbacks.
- Top cybersecurity professionals may earn from $250,000 to $300,000 each year (US), with which the government can’t compete. The pay scale is steep, but the reputation is more significant. Though many of us would care for competitive pay, then a government or private job title, it still benefits career which can top of rest of the values.
- Hiring rules in the government are pretty complex. A good degree indeed benefits from getting the interview, but the portfolio of skill and real-life knowledge in the sector matters.
- Adequate educational background is a must in government. Skill comes second in the interview as you’ve to meet the minimum qualifications first.
- The recruitment process in the government can get choppy as there is a long line of people waiting for their turn. Receiving a call for an interview after applying could be a waiting game as you can’t join other contracts if you want a precise schedule.
The US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) offers a list of solid choices for beginners in cybersecurity government roles. They are tasked with defending the defense information network, supporting the mission, strengthening the nation’s cyber-attacks, and performing various tests.
Here are a few options to choose from; find which sector is your target:
CIA, ARMY, NSA, MITRE Corporation, Navy, Air Forces Cyber (AFCYBER), Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER), Marine Forces Cyber Command (MARFORCYBER), Fleet Cyber Command (FLTCYBERCOM).
These are some exciting choices that give the best possible work in the government sector with enough challenge to keep you busy during your whole career.
Let’s expand upon some of these sectors for you to take a glance at direct backlinks to learn more.
DISA: The Defences Information System Agency (DISA) supports top VIPs of a nation. They are the President, Vice President, Defences and Military commands, federal civilians, and individual contractors. DISA, at the moment, employs over 7,000 civilians with different career series worldwide.
Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve is the most secure system of every nation, as it is the central banking system. Attackers or hackers always keep their eye on any possible chances to breach. Your task is to keep the national security intact and protect the financial infrastructure.
MITRE Corp: The MITRE Corporation is an American non-profit organization that supports government programs, statics, innovation tactics that promote regardless of age, color, and genetic information. They help tackle some of the biggest threats coming towards a nation with large-scale challenges in cybersecurity.
Senior Executive: To become a senior executive in cybersecurity, you have to have five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ), they are: leading change, leading people, business acumen, result-driven, and finally, building coalitions. Meeting these requirements will land you a job at the Senior Executive level.
As much as the tech company owners say they will hire skilled people over a degree, government jobs are quite the opposite in some way. There is a match of qualification and eligibility to partake in filling applications. Work experience, skills have nothing to do with eligibility. A job may be offered to veterans, and that criteria have to meet the candidate.
On the other hand, the qualification list approval points for both employees and employers. The employer may ask for a master’s degree in a particular education line, specific course completion, a certain time of working in the field, etc. These can be leveraged by skilled personnel.
Choosing over the general hiring path will not benefit you. If you already meet some criteria and want to apply for a position, do that. If there are other eligibility you do meet in another sector, choose that. There is no use in applying both as your preference and eligibility will weigh your resume regarding what employers are looking for.
Professionals in the field and tech company owners agreed that a degree is optional for the area. There is a vast library of online resources centering around different fields in IT, software development, and cybersecurity. But it may be challenging for some to follow online tutorials blindly and more manageable to attend a degree course.
There could be other reasons and keeping those in mind; we prepared a section called cybersecurity education, where everything you need to know related to it will be pointed out at a glance level.
We already have various guides and in-depth tutorials for you to start cybersecurity, mentioned below in the related guides section.
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or IT is sufficient to get you started with programming languages and best practices. There are also specialized roles and courses suited for the tech industry.
Unlike traditional books read at the university level, which cover basic programming and cybersecurity, specialized courses help in bringing you ahead of the conventional curve. Networking, social engineering, scripting, unauthorized access, ransomware, and data theft are common forms of cyber threats. According to Coursera, the job outlook in the sector is expected to grow by 31% between 2019 and 2029.
Companies prefer professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree and participated and completed a few other popular courses. Candidates who take part in these courses are supposed to have a broader knowledge, boosting career growth by a good margin.
A survey conducted by Coursera among 300 courses gave us great insights. LinkedIn is an excellent place to be as a professional, and we can cover a whole article based on LinkedIn hiring. Who knows, if we get enough response from you, maybe there will be one in the coming days.
As of June 2021, in the United States, five courses came above form the rest as per the survey, which suggests it is high time we take a deeper look into these.
CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is sourced from a cybersecurity professional organization and is one of the most demanding courses. It ranked first in our findings, with a total hire of 71,543 last year. The course introduces individuals to designing, implementing, and monitoring cybersecurity programs and setting up future goals.
The program is targeted at professionals who already have their feet wet and want to go further. As a beginner, you too have a lot to gain by comparing mindset with veterans. Targeted roles for the course are:
- Security Administrators – Salary goal $85,742
- Chief Information Security Officer – Salary goal $170,793
- Senior Security Consultant – Salary goal $111,250
- IT security Engineer – Salary goal $100,605]
- Information Security Analyst – Salary goal $82,070
Additional Details: The certification costs about $749 in the US, with different requirements for passing the CISSP exam. The minimum requirement to join the program is five years of experience.
At least two of eight cybersecurity domains include Security and Risk Management, Security Architecture and Engineering, Asset Security, Communication and Network Security, Security Assessment and Testing, Access Management, Software Development Security, and Security Operations.
The four-year degree counts as one year of experience. Unpaid internships and part-time work also count as experience.
CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is powered by the IT professional association (ISACA), covering a wide range of topics to empower mid-level IT professionals. Similar to CSSIP, this course also requires five years of experience in IT or cybersecurity and can cost between $575 to $760.
The course is for professionals looking to advance their career in the following sectors:
- Cybersecurity Auditor – Salary goal $69,083
- IT Audit Manager – Salary goal $122,254
- IT Security Engineer – Salary goal $93,26
- IT Project Manager – Salary goal $102,743
- Compliance Program Manager – Salary goal $92,829
- Information Security Analyst – Salary goal $99,372
CISM: Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) also comes from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) that helps train individuals for the management side of the sector.
Program development, risk management, software production, and plenty more included. This site is not as in-depth as hands-on programming but allows individuals to learn the managerial side of cybersecurity. Requirements remain quite the same as all other top cybersecurity courses.
The following sectors can benefit from the course:
- Director of Information Security – Salary goal $173,387
- Data Governance Manager – Salary goal $119,816
- Information Systems Security Officer – Salary goal $96,586
- Information Risk Consultant – Salary goal $92,624
- IT Manager – Salary goal $108,353
Security+: The global certification from CompTIA Security+ can help develop skills to dive into the cybersecurity world. Security+ validates baseline security skills for DOD 8570 with hands-on skills.
Succussing in the job market with the software, hardware, system security level details require aligned skills with the latest trends and techniques. Security controls the high-performance workflow is part of achieving a good position.
The course is aimed primarily towards the following positions:
- IT Auditor – Salary goal $109,863
- Software Developer – Salary goal $107,597
- Systems Administrator – Salary goal $85,742
- Security Engineer – Salary goal $109,863
- Help Desk Manager – Salary goal $70,531
- Cloud Engineer – Salary goal $110,152
CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), as its name suggests, is one of the cores cybersecurity courses. The course is geared towards hacking, penetration testing, different teams, uncovering/patching vulnerabilities, and demonstrating hands-on skills as a hacker.
The rest of the courses are perfect, but this one teaches hacking right from the get-go, which may be the sole target for many.
Getting the certificate requires passing the CEH exam with two years of real-world experience. The EC-Council takes on credibility on training individuals with CEH training. It may cost up to $1,199, depending on the training location.
These are the targeted fields for participants on the course:
- Cybersecurity Engineer – $100,636
- Cyber Incident Analyst – $86,454
- Cloud Security Engineer – $158,536
- Penetration Tester – $104,116
- Threat Intelligence Analyst – $90,269
Though we only highlighted the five most influential courses for cybersecurity education, there are plenty more. We have more guides covering needs for readers of all aspects.
A few honorable mentions for cybersecurity courses are GIAC Security Essential Certification (GSEC), Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP), CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+), GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH), Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP). Not only are these our recommendations, stats collected from top job boards, including LinkedIn.
Prioritizing free resources overpaid ones may typically sound confusing, but there are so many options when the goal is clear. Free resources are just videos, blogs, articles, and pre-made materials for students to sketch on. But it can be an excellent start for many. At Hackingloops, we, too, have many resources for you to check.
Though we have many paid options with proven results, most professionals suggest starting with free resources before jumping into buying courses. Because at some point, your view will be clear on the primary goal and will save resources and time. Here are some of the options with free and budget options.
HackingLoops Membership: Yes we absolutely believe hands down that our budget membership and courses are absolutely the best option to get started in cyber security. Whatever field you want to go into within cyber security we can help you get started and get there.
This program was created just for you by helping those who are interested land entry level cyber security jobs. We are here to hold your hand and give you a very personalized experience.
Coursera: Coursera is a popular name among learners as they have certification courses from large IT companies to University Teachers. With the partnership of over 200 leading universities and companies such as Google, Amazon, IBM. Their strong belief in human progress and transformation has led to a world-class hub for global students.
The platform has around 82 million learners worldwide, and for students, it is free to learn. Though there is a fee for non-student learners, joining discount programs gives similar benefits. At the end of each course, you’ll get a certification from top vendors.
Cybrary: Getting hands-on learning experience with real-world skills in the mix made Cybrary a popular destination for learners around the globe. CISSP, Security+, Introduction to IT & Cybersecurity are some of the popular programs on the platform.
Virtual labs, certification preparation, skill development with over 200 assessments will surely boost my career to the next level. The platform covers cybersecurity, IT, cloud, data science, DevSecOps, and more.
KhanAcademy: KhanAcademy is a non-profit organization that provides free learning resources for students of all aspects of life. The platform has a personalized learning experience with hands-on content. Teachers can also get involved directly with students to fill in the learning gap, translating into a flawless learning experience.
Udemy: We can hardly find anyone who has never heard of Udemy, and it’s been like this for quite some time. Udemy has one of the largest libraries of online resources. Though courses are not free always, occasional discounts and classes are free from time to time.
Though it can be tough to find free courses, it remains one of the budget options. Following forums that announce giveaways and free lessons will let you know when a Udemy course is going for free. Also, the classes are not as expensive, remaining one of the best budget options for a novice.
Lynda: Lynda comes from LinkedIn directly with company-suited profile management, cybersecurity, IT, DevOps, Cloud courses. Other than typical search results as far as general knowledge goes, the IT department courses are reasonably strong and are heavily recommended by IT professionals.
Organizations hire directly from LinkedIn with Lynda courses participants. Participants get budgets to showcase on their LinkedIn profile which is another benefit. SkillShare, edX, StackSkills, FreeCodeCamp also have free or budget options for students in cybersecurity.
Entry Level Cybersecurity Jobs
Cybersecurity is a part of the IT job, which means wherever IT-enabled services are available, there is a vacancy for a cybersecurity specialist. Many organizations train the team’s cybersecurity measures to keep a fresh mindset on the recent occurrence.
Participating in cybersecurity boot camps and graduation programs are specially designed for people who want to land cybersecurity jobs. Bachelors of Computer Science, Masters, Ph.D., and such ladders are easier to climb with an institution backing you up.
Boot camps can take many months, including training, hands-on practice, participating in seminars, etc. Collaborating with like-minded people makes the transition easy. Many universities offer cybersecurity programs, and once complete, it should be easy for you to land a job.
Of course, the skillset has to be there, and taking the time to practice will take you a long way. According to the Bureau of Labor Statics, you could get between $98,350 and $56,000 at the start of your career.
According to PayScale, a penetration tester at the start of their career may earn up to $70,000 each year, which is excellent compared to other sectors. It is another reason to find cybersecurity jobs as the financial backup is fantastic, and you get to do what you love.
How to Apply
To apply in cybersecurity jobs, both private and government, you can follow a rule of thumb. It will be a general guideline in case you missed something. Federal employers mostly take in former federal officers where veterans are given preference. If you don’t meet the criteria, that’s a sign to ignore.
For students and recent graduates, taking in internship programs, graduate programs, or the Presential Management Fellows (PMF) programs should suffice. These are some of the vacancies open for fresh graduates and even students. There is also a preference for the disabled, different ethnic peoples in some sectors.
Here are the grade levels for jobs in descending order:
- GS-15: Senior Executive
- GS–13 to GS–15: Supervisor
- GS-8 to GS-12: Mid-level
- GS-5 to GS-7: Entry-level
- GS-3 to GS-4: For interns and students.
Keep the GS levels in mind to determine pay scale and qualification level. It would be best to look for lower GS level jobs and gradually climb the ladder as an entry-level job seeker.
With many parks coming with cybersecurity jobs, you have to be ready for long work hours, overtime, and constant systems monitoring. Still, it may have a remote work schedule to work in the comfort of your home. The job satisfaction level is more significant in the sector as most diverse fields are passionate about the matter. If you are interested in reading more about how to get into cyber security you can view our other post diving in more detail.
Jumping on from one cybersecurity title to another may seem like an outstanding achievement. If you’re doing something in one field and interested in another sector in cybersecurity, you can do that once the contract ends. Also, keep an eye on online job portals and targeted companies’ vacancy announcements for new job seekers.