Transitioning from Information Technology to Cybersecurity

Transitioning an Information Technology Career to a Cybersecurity Career
Cybersecurity experts have a wide range of career options, as defined within the 35 job categories which expand across ALL industry verticals (e.g. finance, hospitality, health-care, government, gas & oil, retail, etc.).  Cybersecurity & Information Security, are fields that historically were specialist centric & only really applied to the high-tech industry. Now cybersecurity is a vertical discipline across EVERY horizontal vertical which creates incredible opportunity & also introduces the question “how do you create a path for yourself to enter the cybersecurity field and be successful?”

First step is confidence and embracing the fact that you do not have to fit a “pattern” to be successful in cybersecurity. A non-technical undergraduate and or graduate education is not a barrier to transition into the cybersecurity industry. We’ve included advice on choosing a foundational / starter IT job, tips on building your résumé and ideas for gaining practical industry experience.

Where to start: career path options
There is no one true path or educational pattern to working in cybersecurity. People enter cybersecurity from all educational disciplines – math, computer science, sociology, psychology history or even philosophy. Yet all of them share a deep passionate interest in understanding how technology works, why does something break – when I do …  Security experts must understand how to break things to ensure systems, applications, organizations, and people are secured and protected.

Train In Information Technology:

Information Technology is typically the starting point for many cybersecurity career seekers. Information Technology will allow you to gain experience in fundamental disciplines like administering & configuring systems, networks, database management, cloud environments vs. physical environments, mobile vs. desktop environments, application differences between cloud and on-premise deployments and coding (administrative, automation, application centric, orchestration). However, even more important is the ability to gain a sense of IT procedures and real-world business operations and why securing business systems is critical to the bottom line for an organization: revenue generation & revenue protection.

Focus & Narrow Your Interests:

Understanding Information Technology & Cybersecurity at a high-level allows you the opportunity to focus and narrow your interests into an area that creates “light bulb” moments for you. Topics that align with your passion in cybersecurity should be a focus. A few foundational / starter IT jobs to cybersecurity jobs are noted below:

  • Microsoft Exchange administrator → Email, Mobile, Cloud Security
  • Network administrator → Network Security, Cloud Security, Forensics, Vendor Management Security, etc.
  • System administrator → Security administrator, Digital & Financial Forensics, Identity & Access Management etc.
  • Web developer → Web Security, Cloud Developer, Security Software Developer, etc.
  • DevOps → SecOps
  • Helpdesk Analyst → SOC Analyst

Gain Real-World Practical Experience:

Finally, we recommend you gain as much practical experience as you gain around cybersecurity domains that interest you – allow your passion for cybersecurity to create momentum for your career.

Foundational / Starter Information Technology Jobs:

Cybersecurity careers can be created from these Information Technology jobs:

  • Computer Architect
  • Computer Programmer
  • Computer Software Engineer
  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Data Analyst
  • Database Administrator (SQL, Sybase, FoxPro, Oracle, etc.)
  • Disaster Recovery Engineer
  • Microsoft Exchange (Email) Administrator
  • IT Technical Support
  • IT Customer Service
  • Network Administrator
  • Network Engineer
  • Network Systems & Data Analyst
  • System Administrator
  • System Architect
  • Server Administrator
  • Server Architect
  • Web Administrator
  • Developer

Ask questions during the interview process to determine if the job description and role fit what you are seeking in a cybersecurity career.