How to Gain Practical Cybersecurity Experience

How to Gain Practice Cybersecurity Experience for your Career
Self Directed Learning Ideas
  • Participate in cyber security contests and training games. e.g. Wargames, Capture the Flag competitions (CTFs), etc.
  • Look for vulnerabilities on open source projects and sites with bug bounties. Document your work and findings.
  • Teach yourself to code. (Experts recommend this again and again.) Understanding the concepts of coding is more important than writing fantastic code.
  • Build your own computer and security lab using old PCs, your own wireless router with firewall, network switch, etc. Practice securing the computer and network, then try hacking it.
  • Create an open source project.
  • Most important BE CURIOUS & ASK QUESTIONS – I wonder if I did this….
Guided Training Ideas:
  • Have projects that align and utilize skills associated with your cybersecurity certifications.
  • Offer to help your professor or employer with security-related tasks.
  • Take free online cyber security by checking out our Massive Open Online Cybersecurity Courses Section.
  • Invest in training courses (e.g.SANS, ISC(2), EC-Council, OWASP, ISACA, etc.). Note: is working with educational partners to offer reduced pricing for training opportunities with these major cybersecurity training and certification organizations. Our goal is to have training opportunities full funded by donations and sponsors seeking to sponsor students, entry-level, career changing professionals to enter the cybersecurity industry.
Networking & Volunteering:
  • Become a brainbabe Ambassador
  • Join Day of Shecurity – powered by
  • Volunteer at IT and cyber security conferences via our STEAM Conference Connect service offering
  • Join LinkedIn groups, professional networks and security organizations
  • Attend local security group meetings and events
  • Connect with peers playing CTFs and Wargames
  • Collaborate with a team (at work or in school) on a cyber security project.
  • Volunteer to do IT security work for a non-profit or charity
Additional Steps:
  • Run a background check on yourself to see if there are any existing red flags, then determine what you can do to address them. Security is a sensitive field and employers are looking for ethical candidates.
  • Check government websites like NIST, DHS, CIA, FBI, NSA for the cybersecurity alerts and updates
  • Read IT and security magazines, news sites and blogs
  • Bookmark useful cyber security websites
  • Keep tabs on cyber security message boards