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How To Become A Successful Cybersecurity Professional

It is surprising to note that financial losses from cybercrime are expected to cross $8 trillion by the end of 2023. That’s more than the GDP of the third largest economy in the world, Japan which registered a nominal GDP of $5.38 trillion in 2022. For a more troubling comparison, these damages can account for nearly 8.5% of the global GDP of $95 trillion and are only expected to grow as years go by.

Hence, it is no surprise that careers in cybersecurity are in demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth rate is projected to be 35% over the next decade, whereas the national average for all other occupations combined is only about 5%.

Being a professional in this segment is and will continue to be a rewarding prospect. However, there is a substantial gap between market demand and adequate supply. Still, the entire scenario begs the question; what does it take to become a successful professional in this field? Well, it is a combination of factors that are described in detail here:

Start with appropriate education

Education is the ideal and fundamental element when you are looking to build a successful career in cybersecurity. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, irrespective of which discipline it is in, you can opt for a masters in cyber security online. The good thing about an online degree is that you have the convenience and flexibility to continue with your current profession while diversifying your skills.

Online education has become one of the most sought-after methods of learning. The course you want to pursue can depend on the job you are looking to apply for. You may only need a short course for it, but enrolling in a master’s degree gives you a wider range of prospects in the market. All in all, upskilling has to be your first step to becoming a successful cybersecurity professional.

Ascertain the skills that are in demand

Cybersecurity is a broad and diverse field where numerous skills and qualifications are in-demand right now. These include but are not limited to:

  • Fundamental tech skills: Management and configuration of networks, installation of firewalls, and administration of numerous operating systems are skills that companies are looking for,
  • Programming: This is a core competency that is required for cybersecurity experts since it helps them develop internal infrastructure and tools to combat various threats,
  • Risk identification: Being able to assess where a system is vulnerable, suggest solutions and then implement them is another skill that a successful cybersecurity professional needs to have command over,
  • Data and cloud infrastructure management: With cloud systems and big data caches being the biggest targets of hackers, a cybersecurity professional can find lucrative opportunities if they can enhance the safety protocols of these infrastructures,
  • Troubleshooting and logical reasoning: The problem is not usually immediately apparent when it affects a company’s digital operations. Cybersecurity experts are accountable for using their technical knowledge and problem-solving abilities to solve issues. They can also create long-term solutions with the aid of these competencies.

Other highly sought-after skills include the ability to implement secure automation, adaptability to evolving ecosystems, and access management. Ethical hacking is also becoming popular because it enables reverse engineering possible threat routes and addressing them accordingly.

Also Read: ML: What It Is & What Are The Benefits Applied To Cybersecurity

Earn relevant certifications

The only way to show an employer that you possess proficiency in the skills they are seeking is by earning relevant certifications. In case you are already working in the field and want to upskill yourself, these certifications can make a difference. Here are some common ones to acquire:

> Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)

Specializations falling under this category include:

  • Information Systems Security Management Professional (CISSP-ISSMP)
  • Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (CISSP-ISSEP)
  • Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP-ISSAP)

> Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

> GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

> Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

> Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)

Stay up-to-date with developments in the field

Cybercrime incidences and the resulting losses from them continue to grow exponentially each year. On top of that, hackers and cybercriminals continue to evolve their methods of attack more than the industry can adapt to them. It has been witnessed that some malicious elements are even using AI to generate the code for their viruses.

In light of these changes, a cybersecurity professional’s ultimate recipe for success is to stay updated with every development in the field. Some ways of doing this include subscribing to a leading industry newspaper, following websites, regularly attending workshops and conferences, and scrolling through relevant social media pages.

Work on your soft skills

Organizations seek professionals who are able to blend in with their fellow employees, management, and business culture, in addition to having strong technical skills. Making improvements to your soft skills can make you more appealing to potential employers. Think about learning or honing abilities that can make them more efficient at articulating as well as presenting ideas.

Some of the skills you should work on include interpersonal skills, which are all about being able to interact with the people around you in a productive way, leadership capabilities that allow you to capitalize on team potential, as well as time management, which is essential because cybersecurity threats require rapid responses.

Together, a combination of relevant soft skills can significantly elevate your professional journey as a cybersecurity professional because the occupation is not just about mitigating threats and improving response levels, but it is also about communicating, interacting as well as proposing relevant ideas in a manner that they can be acceptable to those that it concerns.


Becoming a successful cybersecurity professional is a journey that is facilitated by a diverse combination of elements. It is all about upskilling in terms of education and then going on to earn relevant certifications that make you more credible in the field. Also, you can improve your soft skills to make yourself and your ideas more presentable in front of the relevant stakeholders.

Also Read: 9 Promising Tech Careers In 2023

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