Information security can be a very competitive industry as it continues to grow and the demand for professionals increases. The cybersecurity industry itself was worth $75 billion in 2015 and is projected to grow past $170 billion by 2020, which means the demand for workers will only increase, as will the amount of people wanting to work in the industry. In order to get a job in InfoSec, you need to know what skills and qualities potential employers are looking for. Here are a few things that make a great InfoSec employee:
1. True knowledge, not just followers
Potential employers are looking for candidates who truly know and understand their industry, not social media gurus who attract followers with clickbait content. While it’s great to be active on social media channels, be sure you are knowledgeable about what you’re posting about and can hold your own during in-person conversations and interviews. This knowledge is best coming from a degree, but certifications are an additional way to increase your chances of finding work.
Some certifications that will help you advance beyond basic entry-level include:
- CompTIA Security +
- CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
- CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
- CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
2. “Soft skills”
An academic background in cybersecurity or IT is a great plus when applying for InfoSec jobs. However, many employers are also searching for the candidates with “soft skills” like curiosity, trustworthiness and responsibility. Because the industry is young and thriving, more research and methods continue to be discovered. Employers want to hire someone who has the knowledge that comes from working in the field or having the four-year degree, but also the drive to continue learning and the implied trustworthiness and responsibility that is needed for a career in IT security.
3. What are you working on?
Having projects you are working on during your free time can be telling as to how interested you are in InfoSec as an industry and how serious you are about working in it. Being able to answer the possible question “what are you working on?” shows that you are self-driven, creative and curious about the answers to industry problems. Setting up you own lab at home, outfitted with all the updated software and tools needed, is a great way to provide a space for the project experimenting to begin.
If you are a student on the hunt for a career in InfoSec, IT or cybersecurity, think about attending the 2017 Secure360 Student conference. The event, hosted by the Upper Midwest Security Alliance on February 11th, will include professional advancement and career sessions, a job recruiting pavilion, resume reviews, informational interviews and breakout learning sessions.