Cybersecurity Job Opportunities – Private Sector
By Laura Dugan ’03
Considering a job in cybersecurity? There are many opportunities within the private sector, in fields from health care to finance to retail. Two experienced cybersecurity professionals offer their insight into the industry. Antonio Gentry is an information systems security officer with a health care IT company, and Veronica Byers is an information security architect with a large technology company.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in a career in cybersecurity?
AG: I would say start small and gain an understanding of networks and how they correlate to overall security. I would start with getting certifications in Network+ and A+, which will give you a steady foundation of the fundamentals of networking. I would then move to Security+ certification training before eventually obtaining a CISSP.
VB: My advice would be to find a mentor doing what you want to do (InfoSec can encompass a lot of different things from network engineering to compliance) and get your CISSP certification as soon as possible - it's difficult to get a job in security without it.
Capitol students majoring in cybersecurity will be ready by sophomore year to pass industry certification exams such as A+, Network+, Certified Ethical Hacker exam, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam, and Security+ exam.
In what fields are there private sector job opportunities in cybersecurity?
VB: I would say anyone in IT or anyone who works with sensitive data (i.e., banking and health industries) should have good training around InfoSec.
AG: I believe that healthcare is a good field to get into with cybersecurity. A lot of personal data needs to be secured, including social security numbers, date of birth, gender, and diagnosis of certain illnesses. There are not many other fields that collect as much personal information as health care. Financial services is another area that requires strong training in cybersecurity.
Read more about the Top 9 cybersecurity jobs, as outlined by CompTIA.
What challenges do people working in cybersecurity face? What is your biggest challenge?
AG: I think the biggest challenge that people working in cybersecurity face is trying to stay ahead of the latest technologies and ways that data can be hacked and exploited. With new technology come more sophisticated ways hackers can gain access to data, and it makes it more difficult to put certain controls in place to deter these threats. I believe my biggest challenge is merging the understanding of the latest technologies with finding a way to ensure the security of data inside these new technologies.
VB: Other than staying ahead of new threats, getting buy-in and budget from upper management can be a challenge for me. There’s no return on assets (profitability) in security, so it can be very difficult to justify budget.
Cyberseek.org provides information on cybersecurity supply and demand as well as an interactive career pathway for those pursuing a career in cybersecurity.