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day-to-day lives are impossible without it, and things that were cutting edge and relevant a few years ago are getting outdated incredibly fast.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?
Despite the fact that the cloud’s revolutionizing everything, the good news for IT professionals is that the vast majority of their skills aren’t being outdated.
Companies still need skilled developers, talented project managers, and data analysts.
But those working for cloud companies will be expected to take their skills to the next level… to be on the cutting edge of both tech and business.
But taking an extra course to stay on top of the cloud is well worth it… jobs for cloud companies are hot right now.
There’s loads of meaningful, cloud-based tech startups that will turn into giant companies in the future, and they’re hiring the people who will build their companies to their full potential.
But just having the bare minimum of skills and education to coast by for the rest of your career isn’t going to work. Because the cloud combines tech and business sense, you’ve got to know both to get your foot in the door at one of these fast-growing companies that could turn into a rockstar tech career.
But before you go signing up for any random IT certification just so you can look better on paper, consider the top 6 IT skills cloud companies are hungry for so you can decide which one fits best with your dream job and which will set you apart the most from your job-hunting peers.
1. App Development
Even if you’re not a developer, a rudimentary knowledge of mobile and cloud-based computer app development can go a long way in truly understanding the depths and inner workings of a cloud business.
The cloud lets single end users and businesses access the applications they need to get work done from any device, anywhere in the world with an internet connection (part of the BYOD phenomenon). So a basic knowledge of what it takes for apps to function well on any device is more than appreciated by everyone in the business.
If you don’t know where to start, a simple development course can get you up and running quickly. Look for Java and .NET in the curriculum – they’re the leaders of the pack right now.
Virtualization is the technique that lets you run multiple operating systems at once on the same piece of hardware.
Since development for so many different devices and operating systems is essential to what the cloud is, this skill is vital to each and every cloud company out there.
Microsoft’s got a cool virtualization training program with an on-site tool to help you find institutions near your town that teach it.
3. Business Smarts
At the end of the day, there’s only one reason cloud companies are going so well—and that’s business.
Going to the cloud is one of the best business decisions a company can make, but a lot of legacy software companies (and their customers) still have a problem adapting to the idea of using the cloud and its inherently different payment models, not wanting to fix what isn’t broken.
Even a basic understanding of business and finance will help you to make the case for deployment to the cloud.
Hint: A lot of cloud-based companies like to hire business liaisons who speak IT and business languages to help get both sides of the company on the same page.
4. Data Analysis
Big data is something that’s gaining traction in almost every industry you can think of—from finance to environmental issues to farming to marketing trends and crime fighting—big data, if properly sorted for analyzation, can give a business the keys it needs to unlock success faster than ever before.
Cloud companies love data because it doesn’t require the possible mishaps involved with best guesses and intuition. It gives them answers about what to do and how successful a certain move will be.
Employees who know how to design the systems to track relevant data from the cloud in an efficient way are incredibly valuable, but so are those who know how to take that data, run the numbers and actually do something with it that leads to smarter business decisions.
5. Security & Compliance
On the cloud, more so than on a private company-based server, security is a huge issue.
No company wants their data stolen, lost or hacked.
First and foremost, every employee at a cloud company will need to know what their security protocols are, so if you know more of the reasoning behind those protocols, you’ll be seen as far less of a potential liability.
But beyond just the basics of keeping information secure, there’s some compliance regulations set by each industry that a cloud company serving that industry would also have to follow. For example, if your company handles the financial data of individual investors, you’ll need to know what risks exist and how to diminish them.
At another level, there’s also national and international mandates for data handling such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley that each company has to follow no matter their industry.
6. Project Management
Whether you’re working on a project that will move a company from old-school software into cloud computing, or you’re working on projects specifically for a cloud-based company, knowledge of the project management process helps a lot.
For example, knowing where and how to avoid scope creep and keeping projects on-budget and on-deadline while doing the best work possible usually isn’t possible without some meticulous, advanced planning. And taking a project management course helps you learn how to do that planning and work with your actual project manager to get things rolling in the right direction and not be a hold up.
The Actual Tools that Are Hot Right Now in the Cloud
Rick Blaisdell, CTO of Motus, made a list of the top basic skills cloud companies are looking for. Among them, he mentions:
• Development languages like Perl, Ruby on Rails, Python and Java
• Puppet and Chef
• Database skills like MySQL, Hadoop and Cassandra
• Vendor skills for Amazon Web Services
90% of Companies Use the Cloud – It’s Time to Get on Board
According to CompTIA’s 2014 cloud computing survey, a whopping 90% of companies in the United States use cloud computing in some form or another, and 60% of companies want to expand their hiring to bring on employees to help them transition from traditional software technology to cloud computing.
By getting on board with cloud-based knowledge and expanding your understanding and skill set, you’ll be on par with what the industry needs, and your career path will thank you.
In tech, six years ago is ancient history.
But in enterprise, six years is nothing.
The BYOD phenomenon caught on in 2009, and employees have been thrilled to use the phones, PCs and tablets they’re most comfortable with to do their work. Some say it even makes them more productive.
But since enterprises are usually pretty slow to adjust, there’s still companies that haven’t made the switch to BYOD yet and need expert developers and IT security professionals to help them through the process.
As an app or website developer, your understanding of the changes BYOD has brought about in development and security management is something companies making the transition to BYOD desperately need—helping you stand out as a leader and advance your career.
The Nuts & Bolts of BYOD
On the surface, BYOD seems like a nice, win-win situation for everyone: employees get to use the technology they’re most comfortable with, and companies don’t have to shell out the cash to buy new devices for everyone.
But for developers and IT security professionals, it’s a whole different ball game.
In fact, developing for BYOD differs in developing for company-sponsored devices in 6 key ways: screen size responsiveness, UI & UX, non-native development, public internet security, security patches, and no centralized app management.
1. Screen Responsiveness
Rather than only having one type of computer, tablet or phone to develop an enterprise-specific app for, you’ve got to create an app that works on any screen size, no matter what kind of wonky device an employee might bring in.
Responsive screens are really catching on both online and on mobile, though, so this isn’t the biggest of your worries as an enterprise app developer creating something for BYOD. Since website responsiveness is becoming standard, it’s nothing too different from regular website or Android-based development.
2. Instantly Intuitive UI & UX
Even though mobile and PC operating systems are vastly different from each other, companies won’t want to spend their resources on app training.
Like the majority of non-workplace apps, they’ll expect the UI & UX to be intuitive enough to be used with zero to minimal training, and with the differences in operating systems, a non-intuitive UI would mean a different training for each new device.
Each enterprise app needs to be designed and functional for immediate, out-of-the-box use.
3. Non-Native Development
Before BYOD, when everyone in the company was using a company-sponsored BlackBerry and Windows laptop, native apps were the best, safest choice.
But with BYOD, developing natively means you’d have to have the resources to develop for BlackBerry, Android, Windows, iOS, and Symbian, among others… and for companies that don’t specialize in app development, footing the bill for all of those resources for the development and subsequent updates could be a problem.
Instead, most BYOD-friendly enterprise apps are developed in HTML5, so they instantly work on any device.
4. Public Internet Security
Unless the app or internal company website you’re developing is 100% useless off the premises of the company, you’ll need to assume that employees are going to use it over public internet connections, and make in-built security capabilities to protect whatever sensitive company data may pass through their phones.
For example, you’ll need to set up the app so almost all of the traffic is directed to an HTTPS page, rather than an HTTP page.
And even though you might be developing an app instead of a website, because you’d build it on HTML5, you’d have to put securities in place to protect it against cross-site-scripting, SQL injections, and other attacks.
5. Constant Security Patch Updates
An app that operates on a closed network doesn’t necessarily need many security updates.
But creating an HTML5-based app means it’ll have to be open to functioning with new security patches added by you as the app developer, or by the device manufacturers themselves.
6. Working Without Centralized Management
For the same reason you want to develop non-natively on HTML5, you’ll also want to set up the app’s security to work without centralized management.
The end user, not someone in office headquarters, needs to be the one to configure their own preferences because the way to do this is different from one operating system to another.
Becoming an Enterprise BYOD Development Guru
Want to help your company transition to BYOD?
A fresh new IT certificate in development or cyber security could be exactly what you need to get rolling.
Check out our different IT training programs, sorted by area of expertise and experience level to find one that fits your schedule – most of the time, you’ll be finished in less than a month!