How to Get into Cybersecurity with No Experience
Are you thinking about a career in cybersecurity, but don’t know where to start? If so, you’re in the right place, because my guest today will help you with that!
Not sure if cybersecurity is the right job for you? I have interviewed Tailor, or The Digital Empress, a cybersecurity engineer who used to work in the corporate space, and now runs her own cybersecurity consultancy company. Taylor has over six years of experience in tech and is helping others get into cybersecurity. She documented her own journey and continues creating content about cybersecurity on her own YouTube channel.
She has also created an awesome e-book, which is helping guide beginners on their journey into cybersecurity. Where do they start? What’s the best educational path for them? What certifications do they need to get? All of those questions are answered in that e-book! You can also check out this post if you’re wondering which education or career decision is right for you. All right, let’s get to our interview.
Masha: Hi Tailor! Super excited for this conversation because cybersecurity is such a fantastic field and I know so many people are trying to get into it, so let’s get straight into it. Do you need a specific background to get into cybersecurity? Do you need to have a degree or anything like that?
Tailor: That’s a good question. I get asked that a lot from many people that are looking to get into the field. You don’t necessarily need a degree, but you do want to have basic skills, like coding. It doesn’t have to be any higher-level programming languages. We do look a lot at HTML and CFS, just to see how hackers are using exploits or whatever to get into systems, websites, applications like that. You do need systems. You need to know different systems, such as Mac, Linux Windows. We use these different platforms.
You also want to know how to manage and secure and run with applications. We deal with a lot of securing applications, even before you happen to security, you need to know how to set up and manage applications for everyone on the network. So you need to know that, and if you’re having trouble learning new things or picking up these skills, there’s so many different resources online that you can learn where to get this stuff from. A lot of people that are already working in jobs are dealing with different systems, applications and stuff like that. So a lot of those skills can transfer over into cyber security.
Masha: That’s amazing. And it sounds like a lot of people from different backgrounds can go into cybersecurity. Is there a stereotypical past though? Um, or is it easy for anyone from any career to just go in like change careers and go into cybersecurity?
Tailor: Yeah, so I guess the stereotypical path would be like me and many others who have gotten degrees. Some of us get certs while we’re obtaining our degrees or some after we get our degrees. Then we get certifications so that we can be able to swiftly transfer over into jobs. And one of your entry level jobs would be like a Security Analyst or a stock operation center analysis. If someone did not go to school, a lot of people get training, get their certs, and then they start to align what skills they already have from corporate with what skills they’re looking for in cybersecurity jobs.
Masha: And what are the basic skills that you would recommend for any beginner? Anyone, whether they have a degree in computer science or whether they’re changing from the musical industry or something, what skills and basic foundational knowledge would you recommend for them to start with?
Tailor: You do need a security and networking foundation, you’re going to need that for networking insecurities, logging and monitoring procedures, we use a lot of tools that monitor the network log— all the actions that are being performed in the network. So you need to be familiar with different types of logging applications and how to analyze them. You also need to know network defense tactics. So if in case someone does try to infiltrate a network, you know how to keep them from getting inside the network. You also need to know cryptography and access management tactics.This is just in case people are using mechanisms to have data or encrypt data over the network and they’re trying to share malicious files or whatever. You need to know how to encrypt, decrypt, all those different tools. And you also need to know web application insecurity techniques.
Masha: Sounds like a lot, and at the end of the day, it is a very dynamic field and there’s just so much that you have to consider. What would you recommend for people to learn these skills? Because it is a lot. Are there any study guides or roadmaps that people can use to help them guide their studies?
Tailor: Yeah, there is plenty of online courses where people teach all of these fundamentals and what you needs to learn. There’s plenty of security plus courses. Really get your hands dirty and get started with hands-on practice. A lot of us are taught in school to build virtual labs at home— our own home labs. And then you implement all of those basic skills that I named earlier. And you find projects online. I have a few resources that I use where I just take a project and I implemented it in my own home lab. A lot of people have been using Amazon’s AWS to build their own home labs. Just in case you can’t afford servers and stuff like that. You can build that on these cloud services.
I also offer an e-book on cybersecurity. It’s a beginners e-book that helps people plan out their road map, figure out what skills they need for getting into cyber security. Do they need school or not, or what best fits their lifestyles? When I was in school, I would use Google and YouTube a lot of the times to just search up, like what could I expect? What’s the best route? I’d take notes on anything that I found. So, use Google, YouTube, and find people like me. We’re all over the place online and can help you get started.
Masha: My next question is, let’s say somebody is in a non-techie role— let’s say they’re in the music industry. For someone who is just getting into technology, who is interested in cybersecurity, what would you recommend for them to start their learning process?
Tailor: I recommend this site all the time on my e-book and on my website: cyberdegrees.org. It has everything from what career titles you can get, how to switch from non-technical jobs to this technical job. This website teaches you about the different degree programs. It teaches you about the different online programs that you can get into to start building new skills. And then you can come across people like me who have a non-technical background and switched into tech. There’s also just searching how to go from a non-technical job to a technical job.
Masha: Absolutely. And Googling is a superpower when you’re in a talking technical role too. Right. So start Googling!
Tailor: Yes, we use Google or whatever search engine that you like. We’re using that all day, every day. I always tell people, you have to know how to be nosy in this field. We’re going to be researching snooping into stuff. We’re trying to find out all the answers to everything that we’re going through. So you have to know how to Google and YouTube as well.
Masha: Yeah, absolutely. And I guess a lot of people who are watching this right now might still be undecided. They don’t know whether they want to seriously pursue cyber security or they’re not sure, but they’re super curious. Is there a way for people like that to see what it’s like to work in cybersecurity in different roles, or maybe try it out and then make a decision?
Tailor: Yes. Go to YouTube, type in day in the life of a cybersecurity specialist. There’s so many videos that pop up of people showing what they do from the morning up until they leave from work. I wish I could have done this when I was working in corporate, but I guess now I’ll do it. People have been asking me to do my day in the life as a cybersecurity entrepreneur. So, I guess I’ll do that. But go on YouTube and type in day in the life. You will see so many videos pop up of people, showing you what they do in their jobs, what they do at school, what they do on their internships. And it will give you an idea of like what you’re going to be doing on the job.
Masha: And I’m very excited for when you create that video, because I’m super curious to see what you do as a cybersecurity entrepreneur. You’re combining two fields that I’m very interested in: cybersecurity and entrepreneurship. So yeah, I’m watching out for that video and I’ll share it with my audience when it comes out. Thank you so much. This has been so helpful, so valuable, and I’m sure there are a lot of people who are watching this taking notes, and that will go and check out your e-book.
Thank you so much, Tailor, for sharing these insights and super actionable steps for anyone who’s interested in a career in cybersecurity— whether they do have a background in technology or they’re changing their careers from the musical industry. Make sure to follow Taylor on social media and subscribe to her YouTube channel, and get her e-book. Let me know in the comments if this video has answered your questions. If you’re still on the fence about making a big career decision, check out this post that will help! Share this post with a friend who is thinking about a career in cybersecurity. We can also be friends on other social media. You can find me as Coding Blonde. Have a wonderful time of day you’re currently experiencing!