How to become Cyber Security expert and what does it require to become a cyber security expert? The answer is not as straightforward as you might be thinking. Keep on reading to know the journey to becoming a Cybersecurity Expert/Specialist to understand better.
With technological advancement, hackers have also evolved their ways of breaking into security systems. There were over 236.1 million ransomware attacks in the first half of 2022, costing over $4.35 million to business organizations.
In fact, global cyber-attacks have increased by 38% in 2022 as compared to the year 2021. This makes it evident that the need for cyber security professionals has increased more than ever. Cyber-attacks have become more sophisticated and advanced. This is why it is crucial to meet the industry demands.
If you’re interested in kickstarting a career in the cyber security space, keep on reading. In this guide, we have discussed the best career options to opt for in the industry. You will also learn which courses are the best for you to put your best foot forward. Along with it, we have also discussed salary prospects and job opportunities.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
What is Cyber Security? Why is there an Increased Demand for Cybersecurity Specialists/Expert?
Cyber security is the practice of keeping computer systems, servers, mobile devices, networks, and personal data secure against malicious digital attacks.
In today’s digital era, everything has shifted to the Internet. Almost every business has its online website, and there is a lot of sensitive information available on the Internet that could be misused by anyone.
Your personal/professional information could be stolen through untrusted Wi-Fi, third-party payment gateways, pop-up ads, etc. An amateur person could easily be tricked by such prompts. Therefore, it is crucial to add a layer of security to the websites.
This is why there is an increased demand for cybersecurity specialists as every business organization is on the hunt for cyber security professionals to cater to their security needs.
Therefore, being a cyber security expert makes you the most desirable IT professional in the industry.
Who is a Cyber Security Expert?
It takes a certain amount of skill set to become a cyber security expert. You can consider a cyber security expert as an individual who can formulate the most efficient set of strategies to defend online systems from the most advanced cyber threats.
You become a cyber security expert by making your way up to the advanced-level cyber security certifications such as CompTIA PenTest+, Certified Ethical Hacking (CEHv12), CISSP, CISM, etc. To reach such a high level, you need to have at least a graduate degree in Computer Science.
By gaining these sophisticated skills, you can become the most in-demand cyber security expert in the industry.
What is the scope of a Cyber Security Expert?
As the cyber-attacks are increasing in number exponentially, the demand for cyber security experts has risen up. This is evident according to a recent report generated by the US US Bureau of Labor Statistics which showed a 31% increase in the employment opportunities for cyber security professionals between 2019 to 2029!
Therefore, the future looks promising and bright. The scope of cyber security experts is discussed below.
Entering consultancy roles:
By becoming a cyber security expert, you can give valuable advice on designing security strategies, evaluating security risks and recommending steps to protect systems and data. Therefore, you can formulate security policies and create incident response plans.
Penetration testing and vulnerability management:
You become an asset to the business organization by identifying potential entry points into the systems. You do so by simulating real-world cyber attacks to understand weaknesses in the system.
Leadership and management roles:
You also explore opportunities to enter leadership and management roles such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Security Operations Manager, or Security Architect. Such job positions give you an immersive experience in managing teams, overseeing security operations, and formulating security policies.
Specializing in emerging technologies:
With the evolution of IT technologies, new cyber security challenges are coming up. By becoming a cyber security expert, you can specialize in advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and cloud computing.
How to become Cyber Security Expert in India: Essential Steps and Resources
A step-by-step guide to become a Cyber Security expert
Cyber security is a very robust IT field that requires constant upskilling as the industry standards keep on changing and evolving. This is why it is important to follow a solid career pathway to becoming a cyber security expert and establish your name in the industry.
How to become Cyber Security Expert from scratch?
There are a certain number of pre-requirements to become a cyber security expert from scratch. These include:
- Relevant graduate degree: The first step is to pursue a graduate degree in Computer Science or a related field after completing high school.
- Master’s degree or online course: After graduating, you can either go for a master’s degree dedicated to cyber security or you can enroll in a cyber security course from an accredited online platform.
- Globally-recognized certifications: You can then start focusing on collecting the right certifications that align with your career goals and interests.
- Hands-on experience: At the same time, you must be investing in gaining hands-on experience in the cyber security industry. This includes doing internships, and working on cyber security projects.
- Showcase your work on socials: It is also important to build a strong LinkedIn profile showcasing all the projects you’ve worked on.
- Get an entry-level job: Voila! You can get your first job in the cyber security industry.
Note: You must focus on constant upskilling after entering the cyber security domain as well. Look out for advanced certifications that suit your career goals.
Choosing the Right Courses and Educational Programs
There are many options available that you can choose to kickstart a career in the cyber security industry. You can consider various options depending upon various factors such as the time you have, the financial limits you have and other constraints such as only opting for online learning.
Some of the available options include:
Going to a well-renowned university:
This option is a safe choice when you have no hurry to get a job in the industry. You can opt for a three-four year graduate degree in cyber security from globally-accredited universities. This will give you good exposure to the industry and provide you with the right mentorship that you need.
If you’re already a graduate, you can go for a 2-year master’s program at the university of your choice.
Online courses and certifications:
If you’re short on time and you want to quickly start a career in the industry, online courses are the best way to enter the industry. You can do your own research to enroll in an online cyber security program that covers both theoretical and practical knowledge.
Network Kings is one such online platform where you can learn directly from Cyber Security Engineers with over 12 years of experience in the industry. In fact, we are also partners with EC-Council and RedHat!
Bootcamps are the fastest way to enter into the industry. This is the most popular method to gain traction in the cyber security industry as more and more individuals are coming from non-technical backgrounds. This is, in fact, the fastest way to get a job in the industry.
We do not highly recommend this method but if you’re low on time and financial resources, this is the best way to land entry-level jobs in the cyber security domain.
Top Cyber Security courses to become a Cybersecurity Expert: Building the Foundation for Expertise
It can be a difficult task to break down how to become cyber security expert. On top of that, before we talk about applying for high-level cybersecurity job roles such as Security Analyst, Cyber Security Engineer, etc., it is important to have foundational computer knowledge.
It is beneficial to have a graduate degree in Computer Science or a related field to enter the cyber security industry with ease. However, if you’re interested in making a career in the cyber security space, there are many online cyber security courses that can help you land a job in this domain without any prior experience/knowledge.
There are many different domains that you can explore in the cyber security space. This is why we have mentioned the various steps on how to become a cyber security expert. The mentioned domains include different responsibilities and tasks that need to be performed. The major domains include the following:
This vendor-neutral certification is often considered the entry-level information security certification. If you have no previous background related to cyber security, CompTIA Security+ is considered the stepping stone for entering the cyber security space. You can land entry-level jobs like:
- SOC Analyst,
- Systems Administrator,
- Vulnerability Assessment,
- Database Admin,
- Information Security Analyst, etc.
You need to think like a hacker to prevent your systems from getting hacked. This is what’s the underlining motto of this course. You learn to grasp the basics of ethical hacking with a hands-on approach through the CEH course provided by EC-Council. After completing this course, you can work as:
- Ethical Hacker,
- Vulnerability Assessment Professional,
- Cryptography Engineer, etc.
If you further wish to strengthen your knowledge in penetration testing and vulnerability assessment, then the CompTIA PenTest+ certification is the best courseware to make you a master of these technologies. You learn to throw simulated cyber-attacks at systems in order to evaluate system security. You can apply for jobs such as:
- Penetration Tester,
- Vulnerability Tester,
- Security Analyst,
- Vulnerability Assessment Analyst,
- Network security operations, and
- Application security vulnerability.
This certification by CompTIA is a high-level certification that focuses on making you a Cybersecurity Analyst. You learn to apply behavioral analytics to prevent and stop upcoming cyber-attacks. You learn to do so by analyzing existing systems’ security levels. After completing this course, you can apply for jobs like:
- IT Security Analyst,
- Security operations center (SOC) Analyst,
- Vulnerability Analyst,
- Cybersecurity Specialist,
- Threat Intelligence Analyst,
- Security Engineer,
- Cybersecurity Analyst, etc.
Provided by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)², the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) trains you to design, implement and manage security systems. You learn about a variety of security practices and principles. After completing the course, you can apply for the following job roles:
- Chief Information Security Officer,
- Chief Information Officer,
- Director of Security,
- IT Director/Manager,
- Security Consultant,
- Network Architect,
- Security Systems Engineer,
- Security Analyst,
- Security Manager,
- Security Auditor, and
- Security Architect.
How to become a Cyber Security Expert: Essential Skills to Master
Developing Core Skills for Cyber Security Expertise:
After learning about all the possible courses and career paths that you can follow to accelerate your career in the cyber security industry, you must be thinking about the major prerequisites to become successful in the industry.
It does take specific skill sets to make it big in this domain. These cyber security skills are highlighted below:
- Proficiency in programming languages and scripting:
It is crucial to have a strong foundation in programming languages and scripting to stay updated with the ever-evolving cyber security industry. Professionals who know how to write and decipher codes can break down the highly sophisticated cyber-attacks. This is why they are very much in demand.
- In-depth understanding of network infrastructure and system administration:
It is also imperative to have a good familiarity with network infrastructure and network administration concepts. On the basis of how networks are structured, cyber security professionals can reduce potential risks and formulate effective solutions.
- Knowledge of operating systems and their vulnerabilities:
You can consider Operating Systems (OSs) as the first line of defense of computers. Because they form the basis of all computer processes, operating systems are a top target for hackers. To properly defend them, cybersecurity experts must have a thorough understanding of the various operating systems and their vulnerabilities. With this expertise, they can spot vulnerabilities in systems, install improvements, and set up security configurations to protect them from potential threats.
Gaining Practical Experience:
For an advanced domain like cyber security, it is significant to note that you need a hands-on approach to practice concepts. It is important to enhance your practical knowledge through various practices to become a refined cyber security professional.
By practicing real-world scenarios and acquiring problem-solving abilities, you can become ready to enter the real industry. Here’s what you can do to strengthen your practical skills in cyber security:
- Participating in Capture the Flag (CTF) competitions:
By participating in the Capture the Flag (CTF) competitions, you gain practical experience in programming, networking and system administration. By practicing real-world problems in a simulated setting, you can gain a deeper understanding of cyber security concepts.
A CTF competition includes various challenges which cover concepts like:
- Web security
- Reverse engineering
- Forensics, and more.
The best part about participating in a CTF competition is gaining teamwork skills. When you engage with other individuals over a project, you learn to collaborate and communicate. To conclude, CTF competitions keep you updated with the current industry standards. These are the most essential skills for an individual aiming to enter the cyber security industry.
- Seeking internships and entry-level positions:
One of the best ways to gain practical experience in the cyber security space and how to become cyber security expert after 12th is by applying for internships. These internships provide you with the needed industry experience, the chance you get mentored by industry experts and apply the gained theoretical knowledge in an up-and-running workspace.
Through internships, you work on real-world projects and collaborate with teams to practice various cyber security concepts such as security operations, incident response, vulnerability assessment, penetration testing, ethical hacking, disaster management, and much more.
By applying to internships and entry-level jobs, you gain the required experience to get a taste of what it is like to work in the industry. Along with technical skills, you also gain skills like collaboration, teamwork, communication, etc.
- Building a personal cyber security lab for hands-on practice:
By making use of different tools and techniques, you can make the best out of cyber security labs for building your personal portfolio. In order to land a high-paying job, it is important to have a well-curated portfolio in your resume showcasing your best projects.
By working in live virtual labs, you can enhance your practical skills and problem-solving abilities. Showcasing this work to the recruiters will give you an edge over others.
Note: If you enroll in a cyber security course at Network Kings, you can gain all the required practical experience by working in the virtual labs provided by us.
Pursuing Cyber Security Certifications:
You can only succeed in the cyber security industry if you have the right set of certifications under your belt. With hundreds of cyber security certifications available in the market, it can become confusing which certification to opt for.
This is why we have created a go-to certification path based on your professional needs. This path could vary for each individual depending on what career stage you’re at. You can still refer to the following certifications for a better understanding:
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Ethical Hacking (CEHv12)
- CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
- MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)
- CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
You can know in detail about these certifications in the first half of this guide.
Note: If you’re interested more in knowing about what courses you must opt for to become a cyber security expert, you can check this source.
Developing a Professional Network:
It is great to pursue cyber security certifications and courses, however, it takes much more than that to gain recognition and learn how to become cyber security expert. Some of the best ways to do so are mentioned as follows:
- Joining Cybersecurity Communities and Forums:
This is one of the most valuable steps to follow. By joining such communities, you can raise your questions, seek guidance from other experts, and share problems with each other. By engaging in such discussions, you can learn continuously and actively.
The best part about joining such forums is that you can find job opportunities through these communities, career advice and career development resources.
- Attending Industry Conferences and Events:
By attending industry conferences and events, you can expand your knowledge, network with industry leaders, and gain exposure to cutting-edge technologies and practices. Such conferences often introduce you to the latest technologies, products, and solutions in the cybersecurity domain.
By participating in the Q&A sessions, industry panel discussions and speeches, you can gain great insight into the industry.
- Building Connections with Professionals in the Field:
The best and smartest way to access job opportunities in the cyber security industry is to collaborate on projects with individuals that work on a higher designation than you. This could work in your favour in the future as they can refer you for job roles in the cyber security industry.
Keep in mind that engaging actively in cybersecurity communities, going to conferences and events, and networking with other experts may all greatly boost your professional development, expertise, and career in the cybersecurity industry.
Job Roles and Salary Outlook for Cyber Security Experts in India
Although the average salary of a Cyber Security Engineer in India ranges between ₹ 2.8 Lakhs to ₹ 18.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 6.0 Lakhs. This number can fluctuate on the designation you are applying for, your industry experience and the organization’s annual turnover.
However, to give you an estimate of how much you can earn in the industry, we have mentioned the salary estimates of various cybersecurity professionals in India:
- Cyber Security Engineer: INR 500,000 to INR 1,500,000 per year.
- Penetration Tester: INR 600,000 to INR 1,800,000 per year.
- SOC Analyst: INR 400,000 to INR 1,200,000 per year.
- Systems Administrator: INR 400,000 to INR 1,200,000 per year.
- Vulnerability Assessment Analyst: INR 500,000 to INR 1,500,000 per year.
- Database Administrator: INR 600,000 to INR 1,800,000 per year.
- Information Security Analyst: INR 500,000 to INR 1,500,000 per year.
- Ethical Hacker: INR 600,000 to INR 2,000,000 per year.
- Security Analyst: INR 500,000 to INR 1,800,000 per year.
- IT Security Analyst: INR 500,000 to INR 1,500,000 per year.
- Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst: INR 400,000 to INR 1,200,000 per year.
- Cybersecurity Specialist: INR 600,000 to INR 2,000,000 per year.
- Threat Intelligence Analyst: INR 600,000 to INR 1,800,000 per year.
- Security Engineer: INR 600,000 to INR 2,000,000 per year.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): INR 2,000,000 to INR 6,000,000 per year.
- Director of Security: INR 1,500,000 to INR 5,000,000 per year.
- IT Director/Manager: INR 1,500,000 to INR 5,000,000 per year.
- Security Consultant: INR 800,000 to INR 2,500,000 per year.
- Network Architect: INR 800,000 to INR 2,500,000 per year.
- Security Systems Engineer: INR 600,000 to INR 1,800,000 per year.
- Security Manager: INR 800,000 to INR 2,500,000 per year.
- Security Architect: INR 800,000 to INR 2,500,000 per year.
- Cyber Security Analyst System Engineer: INR 600,000 to INR 2,000,000 per year.
- Compliance Security Analyst: INR 500,000 to INR 1,500,000 per year.
- Information Security Engineer: INR 600,000 to INR 2,000,000 per year.
- Information Security Manager: INR 800,000 to INR 2,500,000 per year.
- Cyber Security Auditor: INR 600,000 to INR 2,000,000 per year.
Note: The salary range could vary based on your qualifications, level of experience, etc.
That’s all on how to become cyber security expert. In this guide, we have covered everything from how to become a cyber security expert to what are the job opportunities and salary expectations of an expert. Overall, the future looks very promising for an individual pursuing a cyber security domain.
It is also vital to gain professional certifications to stand out in front of the recruiters. On top of that, joining online communities, attending cyber security conventions, reaching out to seniors, etc. enhance your chances of gaining quality experience in the industry.
Cyber security is an ever-changing field. Even when you get a job, it is important to keep on learning and gain new skills to survive in a fast-paced industry like cyber security.
After all, cyber security is much more than a matter of IT!