With the demand for cyber security professionals growing 3.5 times faster than all other IT-based jobs, 12 times faster than the job market as a whole, and anywhere between 20,000 to 40,000 open positions at any given moment, it hardly seems possible that you could screw yourself over by getting into this career path.

And, in fact, if you’re good at what you do in cyber security, you’ll probably never have to worry about unemployment.

Or salary. Companies pay good money for decent cyber security.

For example, an average salary is around $116,000, which is nearly three times the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But this is a career path where what you don’t know CAN hurt you.

Knowing network and system administration seems like a pretty obvious first step and could probably land you a decent entry-level job or internship.

But to keep moving forward, and to not stagnate and regress, you’ll need to stay on top of your game so your cyber security career doesn’t get sabotaged by your laziness.

Don’t Sabotage Your IT Career: Study Up

A decade ago, the word “cyber” was sci-fi and futuristic.

Today, our day-to-day lives are impossible without it, and things that were cutting edge and relevant a few years ago are getting outdated incredibly fast.

To do a good job in your cyber security career and to keep it moving forward, you need to know business principles, the ins and outs of the industry you serve, user expectations, and the latest defense options.

Business & Management Basics

At the end of the day, no matter what field you’re in or how smart you are in stopping attacks, what you do for the bottom line of the company you work for is what’s going to matter the most in your salary increases and promotions.

Knowing how to quantify what you’re contributing to the bottom line (either money gained or money not lost) will give you some real bargaining power when you sit down to have discussions on your annual performance reviews with your boss.

The Field You Serve

Just like knowing business principles to understand and quantify what you’re contributing to the company’s bottom line, knowing the ins and outs of the industry you serve and how it’s evolving will give you the insights you need to come up with truly intelligent and innovative ways to keep your company’s information secure.

For example, if you work for a financial company that handles retirement investments, you may not fully realize how knowing the federal laws regarding different types of retirement investment accounts would have to do with penetration testing, but knowing the bigger picture is always a plus.

Malware & Virus Scans

According to ConnectWise, there’s more than 100,000 new malware samples every day, which comes out to about one per second.

Attacks are serious, and the attackers after guarded information are even more so.

Staying up-to-date on the latest techniques hackers are using with malware, Trojans, phishing scams, PoS attacks, spam, viruses and so on can help you ward off attacks beyond the ones your company’s anti-virus software can prevent on its own.

Detecting Inside Jobs Before They Happen

External threats are serious, but the real danger of an information breach actually comes from within your company’s walls.

In fact, 78% of your peers working in IT security have reported working in a company where there were either negligent or malicious employees who either put the company’s information at risk by not following procedures or who actively tried to mine it and use it for themselves.

Knowing how to track down and detect inside jobs after they’ve already happened is one thing, but knowing how to alert yourself to suspicious behavior is another.

User Experience Expectations

Whether you like it or not, user experience is constantly being set by others, even if they’ve got absolutely nothing to do with the industry you work in.

For example, the average consumer’s expectations for information security are set by all the apps they use.

If they use a truly cutting-edge app for banking or payments, and you work in a software company for social networking, the user still expects to feel just as secure sharing their information on your app as they do on their bank’s app.

It may not be fair, but it’s not going to change.

So don’t waste your time getting along with work and technology that are ‘good enough’… because it’s going to come back to bite your career in the bum sooner than later.

IT Demand + Education = The Perfect Opportunity for Cyber Security Professionals

“Experts in cybersecurity are among the most sought-after professionals in the tech sector,” said Linda Musthaler on NetworkWorld.com, “with demand for workers in that field outpacing other IT jobs by a wide margin.”

The different ways of potentially sabotaging your cyber security IT career aren’t meant to scare you away from the profession because of all the constant learning you’ll have to do… quite the opposite.

We want you to succeed in the field, and really, so does the rest of the world—they’re dying to hire and pay high salaries to cybersecurity professionals who know their stuff.

We offer a Cyber Security Specialist Training and Certification program that runs for 5 days, for half a day each. At the end of it, you’ll be prepared to hit the job market with a cool CCNA certificate from Cisco to get your cyber security career moving on the up and up in the right direction. Are you ready to start moving forward?