Online shopper

4 reasons to consider a cybersecurity career

public://webform/writeforus/profile-pictures/marknca.jpg
Mark Nunnikhoven, Vice President, Cloud Research, Trend Micro

Zero percent unemployment is an attractive stat. It certainly tops a guidance counselor's reasons for students to choose cybersecurity as a career. It's a nice perk, for sure, but it doesn't compare to some of the more compelling reasons to pursue a career in cybersecurity.

You don't need to be a cybersecurity expert to understand that this is a growth area. Cybersecurity has become critical to the fabric of any modern business. As breach after breach hits the headlines, it's clear to everyone that organizations need more professionals focused on cybersecurity.  

Every role within IT has a cybersecurity aspect. Focusing on security as your primary role opens up a world of options. From security operations to risk assessments to application security to investigations to compliance to educator, there as many roles within cybersecurity as lines of code running in your browser.

And don't let those negative headlines get your down. For every Equifax, there are hundreds of millions of successful transactions made online. We are making progress as a profession.

Here are the top four reasons why you should consider a career in cybersecurity—and one reason why you shouldn't.

Application Security Research Update: The State of App Sec in 2018

1. Practically unlimited growth

With an ever-expanding scope, cybersecurity presents the ultimate growth potential—both in your career path and for learning opportunities.

We teach security as its own discipline, but it links to all of the other IT skill sets. A good cybersecurity professional works to understand as much as possible about how technologies and organizations work.

A great cybersecurity professional realizes that the learning never stops.

That's a massive opportunity to stay engaged and challenged. 

When security teams started out, they were built from "jack-of-all-trades" types. The discipline hadn't grown enough to support specialties in forensics or application security or incident response. 

The current workload has forced security teams to quickly scale up and out. Opportunity is there for professionals willing to challenge themselves to take it.

Whether you're looking to work your way towards a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role or to work with brand new technologies, the only thing that will restrict your growth is your desire.

That's an exciting proposition and reason enough on its own to choose a career in cybersecurity.

2. Plenty of variety

All of the opportunities for growth are tied to the variety of technologies and situations security professionals have to deal with. If it uses ones and zeros, it has a cybersecurity component (and some roles even extend to physical security!).

Security professionals get the chance to work directly with teams on technologies and systems they never dreamed of. From robots to cars to websites serving millions and millions of users, the variety is near infinite.

That's an exciting career prospect. Bored is not a word you'll be using often.

This variety has an interesting offshoot: Because of the broad skill set required to properly understand modern security challenges, cybersecurity professionals come from a diverse set of backgrounds. In fact, the more variety you have in your background, the better a security professional you'll be!

There’s no "right" way to train to become a cybersecurity professional.

[ Webinar: Get Started with Seamless App Sec in a Single Day (Jan. 23) ]

3. The ability to solve puzzles

Add together the growth of technology and its variety, and you start to glimpse the different types of puzzles that cybersecurity professionals can deal with.

In cybersecurity we rely on some tried-and-true principles, but the tactics can change day-to-day. And there's always a new puzzle that needs to be solved.

With each new wave of technology, new risks are created. It's the job of security professionals to identify, understand, and then help address these risks. That changes significantly when you're considering how to defend a website running in the cloud compared to defending a pacemaker in an elderly patient.

Each situation is a unique puzzle and a new opportunity to rise to the challenge.

4. The job has real impact

That last use case—defending a pacemaker in an elderly patient—is a real one. Recently there was a massive recall of pacemakers due to a security issue. The Equifax hack impacted 145 million Americans.

Cybersecurity matters. It has impacts that extend beyond the digital world and into the physical one.

That's a terrifying and exciting prospect and one that highlights its importance.

If you want to work on IT issues that have real-world impact, cybersecurity might be the discipline for you.

And why not to choose this path: Perception

Make no mistake. The variety, growth opportunities, puzzles, and impact of cybersecurity add up to an exciting career. But if you're expecting a career more in line with Hollywood’s presentation of security professionals...think again.

The vast majority of roles in cybersecurity don't require you to jet around the world dodging bullets or getting scan results in milliseconds or being able to immediately identify malicious code by its red color (<sarcasm>thanks for that, CSI: Cyber</sarcasm>).

Of course, that doesn't mean that these roles aren't rewarding. They are. They just might not be glamorous.

Start learning, keep learning

Cybersecurity has the two key logistical advantages for a strong career: Low to no unemployment and solid compensation. 

Plus, if you choose this path, you'll always have room to grow. You'll continually be learning new skills and working to understand new technologies. New challenges will keep popping up and you'll be exposed to a multitude of new people, situations, and opportunities.

You'll never be bored as new puzzles need to be solved, and you can always be proud because your work will have a positive impact on the digital and physical world.

What more could you ask for in a career?

Topics: Security