Professional development

Cybersecurity professionals share career advice in celebration of Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week

Elise Chan
October 18, 2021 by
Elise Chan

Happy Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week! In celebration of what is arguably the best week of the year, we’re sharing advice for starting or advancing your cybersecurity career from a variety of cybersecurity practitioners.

What is Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hosts a week-long campaign to highlight cybersecurity career opportunities and share resources that support the growth of a skilled and diverse workforce.

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Cybersecurity career advice from industry professionals

"Find a passion for learning! Especially in a field that's constantly changing, it's important to find the time to further develop your understanding of the tech you encounter on a day-to-day basis and seek out information on upcoming new technology."

- Juan Pablo Gomez Postigo, IT Security Analyst Intern & Infosec Skills learner

Start with your career journey in mind, develop milestones along the way and stay flexible along the journey. Exploring the various domains of cybersecurity helps you discover where you are passionate and not as passionate. Continuous learning, curiosity, and persistence are the top demanded core skills.”

- Christophe, host on “Breaking into Cybersecurity”

Use the skills you have to transition into information security, if you so choose. Have an open mind. Take risks within reason — because that's how you grow. Take positions that scare you a little bit. Be open with learning because with information security, this field is always changing and you're always learning. I have a thirst for knowledge. I love learning. So, that satisfies that part of my personality because I'm always learning something in this field.”

- Jasmine Jackson, Infosec Skills Author

“My advice would be more general and applicable to any field, which is to just go out there and get some hands-on experience. Doing courses and tests alone is not going to help you. You should get some hands-on experience before you can call yourself an expert or even before you go into that field, especially since if you find out that you don't like what you're doing, then you'll know sooner than later.”

- Armaan, Information Security Engineer & 2021 Infosec Accelerate Scholarship Winner

"The best advice I can give is — do not give up. Do not be deterred by people who say, 'You can't do it. This won't work.’ Follow what you believe in and what you know will get you to the next step. And do not be afraid to network — meet everyone you can and show them how talented you are. Use social media platforms to build your network and show them what you are interested in, what your specialty is and your expertise. You got this."

- Nikki Robinson, DSc, Ph.D., Security Architect

I really think that finding a balance between your left and right brain is critical for a good investigator because you really can't go, ‘How was I sitting in your shoes when this happened,’ to determine if this was your data or not. You have to think out of the box for that. Your tools will get the binary for you. So the black and white, and the ones and zeros, that's what your tools are for, but you have to be able to put those pieces together.”

- Amber Schroader, CEO and Founder of Paraben Corporation

“My biggest advice would be that once you've started programming and using frameworks — if you're doing WordPress, Ruby on Rails or anything — go into those packages, look at the source code and understand what's happening. You'll learn a lot that way. Even all these years later, when I look at some of the frameworks, I still learn stuff about PHP from looking at that because it's been programmed by a team of people that have different experiences and know different things about the language.”

- Aaron Saray, Infosec Skills Author

Free cybersecurity tools & resources

NIST has created a widely adopted framework that outlines the different types of cybersecurity work roles — known as the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. This is helpful to both employers and job seekers as this resource provides an official taxonomy and common terminology for writing and filling job descriptions.

NIST also provides another helpful resource to job seekers via their CyberSeek website — equipped with an interactive heat map of each state’s volume of cybersecurity job openings as well as a visual way to explore common career paths from entry-level to advanced-level positions.

The National Cyber Security Alliance recently launched its Cybersecurity Education and Career Resource Library to help diversify and grow the cybersecurity talent pool. Free resources for all ages and career stages will be available — including articles and links to training tools, mentorship programs and videos.

In celebration of Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week, our team at Infosec has put together a special edition of our Infosec Skills Monthly Challenge! You can get hands-on cybersecurity experience inside realistic labs — and access other select training materials — by creating a free Infosec Skills account.

Did you know that we also have a cybersecurity podcast with weekly conversations about cybersecurity skills, jobs and industry trends? If you answered yes, then you get bonus points! If this is new news to you, then go subscribe to the Cyber Work Podcast to get new episodes sent directly to your inbox each week.

FREE role-guided training plans

FREE role-guided training plans

Get 12 cybersecurity training plans — one for each of the most common roles requested by employers.

Elise Chan
Elise Chan

Elise is a communications professional with seven years of experience in a variety of industries — ranging from insurance to website development. As a product marketing manager at Infosec, Elise focuses on helping cyber professionals discover and understand what training is best for their team.