What Is Cybersecurity? (And How to Get Started in the Field)

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With the digital landscape constantly changing, cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field. It must adapt to new technological advancements, as well as shifts in the ways we use technology. As tech continues to become more closely interconnected with various aspects of our lives, protecting our digital assets only becomes that much more important.

If you’re interested in becoming a part of this vital and dynamic industry, read on for an overview of cybersecurity, its various types, potential career paths, and how to get started.

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity, also referred to as information technology security, focuses on protecting computer systems, networks, and data from theft, damage, or unauthorised access. In today’s interconnected world, cyber threats can come from various sources, including hackers, malicious software, and even disgruntled employees. The primary goal of cybersecurity is to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.

Types of Cybersecurity

There are several types of cybersecurity, each addressing specific threats and vulnerabilities:

  • Network security: This involves measures to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data as it is transmitted across or accessed from networks. Techniques include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and VPNs.
  • Information security: This focuses on protecting data from unauthorised access, ensuring its confidentiality, integrity, and availability (otherwise known as the “CIA triad”). Protection measures employ both digital methods like cryptography and non-digital methods like the physical security of data centres and server rooms.
  • Endpoint security: This concentrates on securing endpoints or “end-user” devices like computers, mobile devices, and laptops. Tools used include antivirus and antimalware software.
  • Cloud security: This area focuses on protecting data stored in cloud-based systems, which are increasingly relied upon by businesses and individuals.
  • Application security: This ensures that software applications are secure from threats. It includes the use of software, hardware, and procedural methods to protect applications from external threats.
  • Identity and access management (IAM): This ensures that only authorised individuals can access certain resources, using tools like multi-factor authentication.

Careers in Cybersecurity

The field of cybersecurity offers a wealth of employment opportunities, each requiring unique skills and challenges. Jobs in cybersecurity include:

  • Cybersecurity analyst: A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for monitoring and protecting an organisation’s computer systems and networks from cyber threats. They employ a blend of technical and analytical skills to detect vulnerabilities, respond to breaches, and implement protective measures.
  • Security architect: A security architect designs and creates the framework and structures needed to protect an organisation’s computer systems and networks. They are responsible for developing complex security infrastructures and ensuring that they can adapt to the evolving threat landscape.
  • Incident responder: An incident responder is tasked with swiftly addressing and managing security breaches or cyber attacks within an organisation. Their primary role is to contain the incident, minimise damage, recover compromised data, and determine the cause of the breach. This often involves coordinating with various teams, analysing the nature of the intrusion, and implementing strategies to prevent future occurrences.
  • Forensic computer analyst: A forensic computer analyst investigates digital crimes by retrieving, analysing, and preserving electronic evidence from computer systems, storage devices, and networks. Their expertise aids in uncovering the specifics of a cyber incident, tracing the origins of malicious activities, and providing crucial evidence that can be used in legal proceedings or to enhance security measures.

How to Get Started in Cybersecurity

For those keen to embark on a career in cybersecurity, here are some helpful starting points to consider:

  • Educational background: Your pathway can be through a variety of educational channels, but if you are not a degree holder, you are not out of luck! Degrees in computer science or related fields are not always required, and you can get started in the field of cybersecurity through training and employment programmes like ours. Here at Generation, we offer free employment programmes in various fields in 17 countries around the world. Our courses provide you with the knowledge, training, and skills you need to succeed in cybersecurity and beyond. We even help you gain employment after graduating the course! Learn more about our employment programs.
  • Certifications: Earning certifications can boost your credibility in the field. Popular ones include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and CompTIA Security+.
  • Hands-on experience: Practical experience is invaluable. Consider internships or volunteering opportunities if you’re able, or consider entry-level positions in relevant roles that can help you gain experience and transferable skills.
  • Networking: Join cybersecurity forums, attend conferences, or pursue other opportunities that allow you to connect with professionals in the field. Building a strong network can open doors to job opportunities, mentorships, and more.
  • Stay updated: The cybersecurity landscape is always changing. Regularly update your knowledge by following industry news and blogs or participating in webinars. There are many free online resources that can help you learn and grow, from news sites to YouTube to educational apps.
  • Specialise: As you gain experience, consider specialising in a particular area of cybersecurity that interests you the most. This can help you hone in on your career goals, and will provide you with invaluable skills and know-how.

Cybersecurity offers a myriad of opportunities for those interested in protecting the digital realm. If you’re a job seeker looking to get started in the field, we are here to help! Our free employment programs offer hands-on work experience in various fields, online and offline, in 17 countries around the world. 

Through our programmes, adults of all ages — whether unemployed, underemployed, or needing to learn new skills — can access training, support, and a path to meaningful employment. We are here to help you succeed! Developing skills through employment programmes like ours can help you become more competitive in the job market and increase your earning potential. Plus, we’ll connect you with employers who are hiring for the exact roles you’ve been trained to do. Learn more about our cyber security program here!

At Generation, our mission is to train, support, and place people into otherwise inaccessible career opportunities that can change their lives. Explore our employment programs to see how we can help you, or donate today to help us create career opportunities for our learners!