Student of Cyber Security

I have seen a number of posts from folks seeking information of how to best enter the cyber-security field.

Folks want to know:

  1. Is college a requirement?
  2. How do I get experience that is required before I am qualified for an entry-level position?
  3. Do certifications help?
  4. What certifications/courses help?

Lets see what ChatGPT has to say:

“Entering the cybersecurity field requires a combination of education, skills development, certifications, and practical experience. Here’s a breakdown of the typical requirements and steps to prepare for and get hired in the cybersecurity field:

  1. Education:
    • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, Cybersecurity, or a related field is often required for entry-level positions. Some roles may require a master’s degree or higher, especially for research or leadership positions.
    • While formal education is valuable, self-study and online courses can also provide relevant knowledge and skills.
  2. Skills Development:
    • Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, C/C++, Java, or scripting languages like PowerShell and Bash.
    • Understanding of networking protocols, operating systems (Windows, Linux, etc.), and system administration.
    • Familiarity with cybersecurity tools and technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, penetration testing tools, etc.
    • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
    • Ability to think like a hacker and anticipate potential vulnerabilities.
    • Continuous learning to stay updated with the latest threats, trends, and technologies in the cybersecurity landscape.
  3. Certifications:
    • Certifications validate your skills and knowledge in specific areas of cybersecurity and can significantly boost your credibility with employers.
    • Common certifications include CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), etc.
    • The specific certifications you pursue may depend on your career goals and the specialization within cybersecurity you’re interested in (e.g., network security, ethical hacking, incident response, etc.).
  4. Practical Experience:
    • Internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions can provide hands-on experience and help you apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios.
    • Building personal projects, participating in Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions, and contributing to open-source projects are excellent ways to gain practical experience and showcase your skills to potential employers.
    • Networking with professionals in the field, attending cybersecurity conferences, and joining industry-related groups or communities can also provide valuable insights and opportunities.
  5. Soft Skills:
    • Effective communication skills are crucial for explaining complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, writing clear reports, and collaborating with team members.
    • Strong attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure are essential, given the critical nature of cybersecurity roles.
    • Ethical integrity and a commitment to upholding confidentiality and data privacy are paramount.
  6. Job Search and Interview Preparation:
    • Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and certifications.
    • Prepare for technical interviews by practicing coding challenges, discussing cybersecurity concepts, and being ready to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities.
    • Showcase your passion for cybersecurity and your willingness to continuously learn and adapt to new challenges.

By fulfilling these requirements and continuously improving your skills and knowledge, you can enhance your prospects of securing a position in the cybersecurity field. Additionally, networking with professionals already working in the industry can provide valuable insights, mentorship, and potential job opportunities.”

From CoPilot:

  1. Education:
  2. Skills and Knowledge:
    • Technical Skills: Develop expertise in areas like network security, encryption, firewalls, intrusion detection, and malware analysis.
    • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: Cybersecurity professionals need to think analytically and creatively to address complex threats.
    • Teamwork: Collaboration is essential, especially when responding to incidents or implementing security measures.
  3. Experience:
  4. Career Paths:
  5. Stay Updated:
    • Cybersecurity is dynamic. Stay informed about the latest threats, technologies, and best practices.
    • Attend conferences, webinars, and workshops to network and learn from industry experts.
  6. Networking and Building Relationships:
    • Connect with professionals in the field through LinkedIn, local meetups, and conferences.
    • Join online forums and communities to share knowledge and learn from others.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all path. Whether you’re a fresh graduate, switching careers, or already working in IT, there are many ways to enter the exciting world of cybersecurity. Start right where you are and keep learning and adapting to stay ahead in this ever-evolving field! 🛡️🔒

From Gemini:

There are several things you can do to enter the cybersecurity field, and the specific requirements can vary depending on the specific role and company. Here’s a general overview:


  • Degree (Optional but beneficial): While not always mandatory, a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, computer science, information technology, or a related field can be very helpful. These programs provide a strong foundation in the technical knowledge and skills needed for success in cybersecurity.
  • Bootcamps: Intensive bootcamps offer a quicker path to gaining essential skills and can be a good option for those who want to enter the field quickly.
  • Certifications: While not always required, obtaining industry-recognized certifications can demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to the field. Popular options include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Security+

Technical Skills:

  • Strong understanding of computer networks and operating systems: This includes knowledge of how networks are built, how data flows, and how different operating systems work.
  • Programming skills: Familiarity with programming languages like Python, Java, and scripting languages like Bash is often desired.
  • Knowledge of security concepts: This includes understanding different types of cyberattacks, vulnerabilities, and security controls.
  • Ability to use security tools: Familiarity with common security tools like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and vulnerability scanners is beneficial.

Soft Skills:

  • Problem-solving and critical thinking: The ability to analyze complex situations, identify problems, and develop effective solutions is essential.
  • Analytical skills: Being able to analyze data and identify patterns is crucial for detecting and responding to security threats.
  • Communication skills: Strong communication skills are necessary to collaborate with other security professionals and stakeholders, as well as to clearly explain technical concepts to non-technical audiences.
  • Attention to detail: Cybersecurity professionals need to be detail-oriented and able to identify small discrepancies that could indicate a security risk.

Additional Tips:

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and threats: The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay current on the latest threats and trends. This can be done by reading industry publications, attending conferences, and participating in online communities.
  • Build your experience: Gaining hands-on experience is crucial for success in cybersecurity. Look for opportunities to participate in internships, volunteer projects, or contribute to open-source security projects.
  • Network with other professionals: Building relationships with other security professionals can help you learn from their experiences and find new opportunities.

Remember, the specific requirements for entering the cybersecurity field will vary depending on the specific role and company. However, by focusing on developing the skills and knowledge mentioned above, you can increase your chances of success in this exciting and dynamic field.

My Two Cents

  1. There have been folks without a high school degree that have been tagged as global security aggressors or defenders.
  2. College gives you a slower and directed pace to learn more about a bevy of subjects. But college is not about real life in a cyber world. While in grad school, I worked on a very complex communication system. I learned nothing from the professors that I could apply to the real world. But there were times a professor would say something that would spark a thought. There was value.
  3. I learned the most about life from my experiences in the military and the intelligence community. Surveillance was an education about people. But there is always a trade off. Learn too much and life is not so rosy.
  4. As you work more in cyber security, to be more effective, there is the requirement to learn a field that is both very broad and very deep. There is an enormous amount of responsibility. If your responsibility is configuring an infrastructure, some data sources, an engaging web site, etc. you correct the mistake and you move on. In security, you can make a mistake and you can change a culture, the path of a nation state, the future of your family, etc. Enormous responsibility.
  5. Failure of a security implementation is some times because of a mistake, but more often because a business trade off decision was made by someone outside of security. Not easy to handle the realities. But if often happens.
  6. People, people and more people. Perhaps the greatest threat is from those inside. Understanding psychology, what and why people do the things that they do, is extremely important if you are to be successful in security.
  7. It is extremely important to be able to listen and to communicate up, down and side ways. If you can not express yourself, communicate, write, present to all levels, your career will be severely hampered. Time and time again, I have seen folks that are technically competent, and at the same time, can not write a report. Even if you had classes in high school in English and writing, those classes are often not the proving ground from twenty or thirty years ago. Go to a junior college and learn how to write.
  8. Certifications – some have value, but most do not relate to the real world. I have my fair share, but that was after decades of experience. I wanted to make sure that I did not miss anything. Many exams have ambiguous questions and case studies, if you could answer all the questions from the case studies in the allotted time, your real job would take four hours a week and not forty hours per week. Experience over certifications every time.
  9. Experience- survey the field, find a problem, that if solved, will have value to the world. Define a clear set of requirements. Solve the problem, share your results with the community, start your own blob, and let the world know, your ability to solve a technical problem and that you you can communicate with all levels. People will find you.

If my two cents helps one person, a successful post.

GSOCS sends.

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