If you’re just beginning your college career and you’ve decided to pursue a degree in one of the many areas of security, congratulations! This is an exciting time in life and there is so much to be gleaned over the next few years during your college career. These are years you won’t get back, so here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your infosec or cybersecurity degree.
Get connected and build relationships
Your degree will only take you so far; during your time in school and after, it’s important to connect with peers, professors and industry professionals every time you get the opportunity to do so. And we’re not talking a one conversation type of connection, we’re talking relationship building! Building and maintaining these connections is one of the best things you can do because you never know where these connections could bring you. Professors and industry professionals can be valuable mentors and your peers who are walking through a similar journey can encourage you along the way.
Diverse classes will yield a well-rounded education
With any degree you choose to pursue, there are a variety of classes and credits that are required of you in order to complete your degree and graduate. With any degree, there are usually pockets of wiggle-room to take a few electives. If this is where you find yourself at any point – take advantage of this! We would encourage you to take classes that are a little outside your comfort zone and maybe even a little bit outside of your degree. We make this suggestion because taking diverse courses will yield a well-rounded education and set you up for success in the real world.
Get involved in member associations
Whether on-campus or off, there are a multitude of student-led organizations to get involved in during your college career. Be sure to attend the on-campus organization/association fair, and watch for other opportunities that may pop-up. If your school does not offer these types of associations for security students, check out the student memberships available from UMSA’s member organizations. These are all great resume and relationship builders for your post-college career.
Gain real-life experience with an internship
For many degrees, an internship is required in order to graduate. If you’re one of the few that doesn’t require an internship, we’d encourage you to still seek one out. Real-life experience in the security industry will be invaluable after graduation. You’ll learn things and make connections that can only take place from an internship. This is the place where you’ll be able to ask questions, make mistakes, learn how to network and gain experience that future employers will value.
Craft a strong resume
Last but not least, do not wait until after graduation to craft your resume! Use your many resources while you still have access to them and craft your strong security resume while you’re still a student. Use the relationships you’ve built with professors, professionals and your peers to help you include all of the information your future employer will want to know about you, including your strengths, experiences and your education.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a successful start in your college career as you pursue a degree in security. While you’re on the lookout for other opportunities to grow your expertise and gain some experience, consider attending Student360 – a one-day event designed for students interested in cybersecurity. It’ll be the start to a great resume!