Ever since I transitioned into cybersecurity, I have a lot of people reach out to me trying to find out how they can get into cybersecurity, and most of them don’t have a technical background which they sometimes think puts them at a disadvantage. Cybersecurity is so much more than just hacking and breaking stuff so I thought I would write a piece on this.
It doesn’t matter if you are transitioning into cybersecurity, or you are just graduating we all have to start somewhere, there are numerous paths you can take to get yourself into the field without having any technical background, if you do your research you will find that there are a growing number of roles that do not require a high level of technical skills, all you need to do is find something that interests you and build your skills around it.
Here are 6 tips I can give from my experience to getting started in cybersecurity for non-technical people
- Thanks to technology it’s possible to learn anything you want online and there is no lack of free resources or platforms you can start from and I think while we are on the subject, I would like to highly recommend a skill that will be beneficial to your continuous learning and that is Google Dorking which is a technique that makes use of Google’s advanced search services to locate valuable data or hard-to-find content.
- I must admit before beginning my journey I also saw the cliché idea of what it was to work in cybersecurity was all about hacking or breaking things, however, I was completely surprised to find myself spending at least 70% of my time studying theoretical subjects and reading documentation on different technologies and understanding how they work and the rest of the 30% of my time was spent working on labs such as TryHackMe, HackTheBox or AttackDefense platforms.
- Build up your foundational knowledge and this can be done through studying for a cybersecurity certification—such as SSPC, Security+, which can help you have a structure and gain the fundamental knowledge you need to work with the industry and the thing about certifications is that even though it’s not everything for me the study process helps me have structure and understand concepts so that I can be able to apply it on labs and in real-world scenarios or even have conversations with recruiters to hopefully get that entry-level job we are all searching for, so keep that in mind. Another thing I like about certifications is that it takes a lot less time to earn than the usual college degree, you can set up your own study pace, for example, it took me 11 months to pass the certification due to the fact that I was pregnant and dealing with a toddler while being stuck in a lockdown (it was hell)
- Connect and be visible. Over the years I had the pleasure to connect with diverse professionals from all over the world on LinkedIn and I discovered that some of the security professionals came from non-technical backgrounds, they are proof that can have a successful career in cybersecurity, without having any technical background. So, I would suggest using the power of LinkedIn and reaching out to people within your chosen field, and have a conversation if they are willing so that you can get a general idea of how they got started (I would be happy to connect and talk).
- Start a blog and write (this is one of the best decisions of my career). And don’t be afraid, you don’t need a minimum number of years of experience or to be an expert, share your journey and progress with the world and your peers.
I really believe that there is nothing worse than limiting yourself from something that you want. You have to dare, even if it’s scary. To this day I don’t t regretted having the courage to transition into cybersecurity, so start by educating yourself and then reach out to the cyber community that’s full of professionals who are willing to help and share their knowledge to help you find your way in.