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5 Cyber Security Jobs for Beginners

    Cyber security involves protecting computer systems, networks and data from unauthorized access, damage and theft –– preventing the disruption of digital activities and data access –– while also protecting user assets and privacy. Given the ever-escalating cyber criminal attacks across industries such as utilities, healthcare, finance, as well as the federal government, it’s not surprising that cyber professionals are in high demand. In fact, the demand for entry-level cyber security jobs is projected to increase 33 persent during the coming decade, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

    Since cyber security attacks can happen anywhere, at any time, employers hiring for cyber security jobs range from large corporations to small business owners across a variety of industries. Interested in switching to a cyber security career? Read on to learn more about the types of entry-level cyber security jobs that may be right for you.

    cyber security analyst

    In North America alone, over 1.3 million cyber security professionals are needed. However, only 805,000 positions are currently filled. That leaves a sizable workforce gap in the cyber security field. If you want to be one of the half-million needed to fill the gap, choose a job as a cyber security analyst.

    A cyber security analyst’s primary role is to understand company IT infrastructure in detail, monitor it at all times and evaluate threats that could potentially harm the network. The cyber security analyst looks for ways to heighten a company’s network security posture to protect data assets, network access and privacy.

    Some of a cyber security analyst responsibilities include conducting security assessments and performing security audit reports. These reports should include security strengths and weaknesses, as well as any unusual activity observed in the network. Understanding cloud security and risk management are other requirements of cyber security jobs, which can be attained through acyber security boot camp.

    security specialist

    A security specialist, also called an information security specialist, protects companies’ digital information using methods like data encryption, system vulnerability assessments and reports, responses to security threats and development of security strategies. Vulnerable industries like government, transportation and health care need security specialists to be the first line of defense against hackers, malware and viruses. Specialists work on IT teams dedicated to protecting the organization’s network and data integrity. As consistent and reliable access to a secure network is an operational necessity for most organizations, employees dedicated to cyber security full-time have gone from being a luxury to a necessity.

    Though the day-to-day may vary depending on the size and sector of an organization, this role requires a person who has keen attention to detail and is highly data-savvy. Many entry-level positions are available in this role, and on-the-job training is often included for those wishing to advance further in this field.

    Digital forensics investigators

    A forensic investigator’s primary responsibility is to collect information from computers and storage devices to aid in prosecuting cybercrime cases. Part cyber detective and part IT professional, digital forensics investigators review computers, phones and other digital devices and comb through the data gathered to build a case.

    Depending on the industry, some of the daily tasks required in computer forensics jobs can include retrieving and collecting hardware, software and applications to analyze the events leading up to a cyber breach. In addition, the chain of custody of all this digital evidence must be maintained and technical reports detailing the findings must be written.

    Aside from highly technical skills, a digital forensic investigator must have good interpersonal skills since they have to work with law enforcement, lawyers and corporate resources. These interpersonal skills, combined with a calm, pragmatic demeanor, can be crucial if called upon to testify at a trial.

    While people with these skills can work in many industries, their aptitude for digging up and presenting digital evidence is often a good fit for computer forensics jobs in law enforcement agencies.

    IT auditor

    IT auditors must possess a solid understanding of business and system processes. Because IT auditors work with confidential information, various technologies and applications, they must also have outstanding troubleshooting and problem-solving skills, meticulous attention to detail and knowledge of cyber security trends. Candidates for this role are often required to understand firewalls, VPNs and data loss prevention techniques.

    IT auditors are constantly testing a network’s vulnerabilities. Other duties may include examining a company’s exposure to security risks while planning, monitoring and upgrading measures based on those risks. IT auditors are expected to present reports and analytics to their team, managers or stakeholders in conjunction with security audits. So, while cyber security does require technical skills, interpersonal skills are often just as important.

    penetration tester

    A penetration tester is another job that requires a candidate to be proactive –– this time as a mock attacker. These cyber security professionals perform attacks on a company’s existing computer systems using the same tools a hacker employs to infiltrate a vulnerable digital system. Penetration testers find the gaps that hackers can exploit to wreak havoc with viruses or information theft. This job requires a strong background in hacker behavior and tools to protect companies from cybercrime incursions.

    Before commencing mock cyber attacks, penetration testers evaluate security on applications, network devices and cloud systems while also reviewing code for security vulnerabilities. They then design and simulate reverse-engineering attacks, malware or spam and document security and compliance issues, just to name a few approaches.

    Requirements and skills for this role also include communicating findings to the team and executive leadership. Penetration testers’ jobs don’t end with handing over reports; they need to be highly diligent about testing by recreating and mimicking hackers’ attacks and staying up to date with current security trends.

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