Career Switch: Computer Networking to Cyber Security
Last Updated : 07 Jun, 2023
Cybersecurity has become crucial for any organisation aiming to secure its digital assets. With the rise in cyber threats, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed in recent years. Cybersecurity jobs also promise high pay packages and great job security. The surge in demand for cybersecurity experts has further inspired several professionals in computer networking to switch to the cyber security field.
In this blog, we are about to explore the career transition from computer networking to cybersecurity. We will discuss the key differences between the two fields, the skills required to make the switch, and the steps one can take to enter the cybersecurity industry. Whether you are a seasoned networking professional or just starting your career in IT, this will provide you with valuable insights to help you make a successful career transition to the exciting world of cybersecurity.
Why Cybersecurity As A Career?
There is not one but multiple reasons to transition to the field of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is a growing and on-demand industry The cybersecurity job sector is predicted to have around 3.5 million openings by 2025 (https://www.forbes.com/) The cybersecurity world offers a long list of job roles and opportunities, such as Cybersecurity Engineer, Penetration Testing Security Engineer, Security Architect, Cybersecurity Analyst, Network Security Manager, and more The cybersecurity salary could reach up to 24 LPA INR Cybersecurity professionals have openings in a wide range of industries; added to tech, you will also find job openings in healthcare, military, automobile, logistics, finance, and so on.
Career Change: Computer Networking And Cybersecurity
Computer networking and cybersecurity do share some similarities, but they are not the same. While computer networking focuses on building and maintaining communication networks, cybersecurity deals with protecting these networks from unauthorised access, cyberattacks, and data breaches. Despite the differences, the knowledge and skills gained in computer networking can provide a strong foundation for a successful career transition to cybersecurity.
Job Opportunities After The Transition
Transitioning from networking to cybersecurity can open up various job opportunities in the field.
As a cybersecurity analyst, you would shoulder the task of monitoring networks and systems for security breaches, analysing security threats, and developing appropriate responses. Your networking background would be valuable in understanding network architecture, protocols, and traffic patterns.
Incident responders handle security incidents, investigating and mitigating cyber threats. With your networking knowledge, you can quickly identify the source of an attack, contain it, and implement measures to prevent future incidents.
These professions are responsible for designing, implementing, as well as managing security solutions. Your understanding of network infrastructure and protocols would be beneficial when it comes to securing network devices, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security technologies.
Penetration testers, or ethical hackers, simulate cyber attacks to identify vulnerabilities in systems and networks. Your networking background would enable you to assess network security, identify weak points, and perform targeted attacks to assess defenses.
As a security consultant, you would advise organisations on enhancing their overall security posture. Your networking expertise would help you evaluate network security, recommend improvements, and develop comprehensive security strategies.
Security architects design and implement secure network infrastructures, taking into account security protocols, access controls, and threat prevention mechanisms. Your networking background would aid in creating robust and secure network architectures.
Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst:
SOC analysts monitor security events, investigate incidents, and respond to threats. Your networking knowledge would assist in identifying anomalous network behaviour, detecting intrusions, and analysing network traffic.
Forensic analysts investigate cybercrimes, collecting and analysing digital evidence. Your networking skills would be useful in understanding network logs, tracing network connections, and identifying the source and impact of security breaches.
Security auditors assess an organisation’s security controls and processes to ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards. Your networking background would help you evaluate network security measures, identify vulnerabilities, and recommend improvements.
As a security manager, you would oversee the overall security operations of an organisation. Your networking expertise would enable you to understand the interplay between network infrastructure and security measures, ensuring comprehensive protection.
How to Get Into Cybersecurity?
For someone with an IT or computer science background, it will need less time to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge. Generally, anyone entering the cybersecurity domain should start with entry-level certifications, such as CompTIA Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Once completed, they can switch to more advanced specialities.
Start with the Foundation:
Begin by understanding the basics of cybersecurity, including the different types of attacks, vulnerabilities, threat modelling, and defence mechanisms. You can do this through online courses or books on the topic.
Certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certification In Ethical Hacking, Cyber Security Essential Program, or CompTIA Security+ will give you credibility and demonstrate your expertise to potential employers.
Sign-Up for specialised Courses:
After learning the fundamentals of cybersecurity, it’s time to delve into specialised courses, such as penetration testing, incident response, or risk management.
Attain hands-on Experience:
You have to attain practical experience to become job-ready for the cybersecurity sector. Participate in security-related projects, or contribute to open-source security tools, and also register for bug bounty programs and/or hackathons.
Apply for Jobs:
Look for entry-level cybersecurity roles or internships to gain more experience and continue learning on the job. You should also start networking with professionals and thought leaders from the cybersecurity communities. Cybersecurity workshops, events, and seminars are great platforms for networking. These networking activities will help you to attain strong industry insights and build strong connections that would help big time in landing up with a rewarding job in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field, so it’s essential to cultivate a mindset of continuous learning. Stay updated with the latest security news, attend conferences and webinars, participate in online communities, and consider pursuing relevant certifications like CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
Networking to Cybersecurity: The Skills You Need
Transitioning from the networking to cybersecurity domain requires acquiring a specific set of skills and knowledge. While networking experience can provide a solid foundation, there are several additional skills you need to develop to be successful in cybersecurity.
Although you already have networking knowledge, it’s important to delve deeper into network security. Learn about firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), secure network design, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), and secure protocols (such as SSL/TLS).
Gain an understanding of threat intelligence and how to leverage it to identify potential threats, vulnerabilities, and emerging attack techniques.
Risk Assessment and Management:
Learn how to assess and manage risks effectively. This includes identifying assets, evaluating their value, assessing potential threats and vulnerabilities, and implementing appropriate controls to mitigate risks.
Proficiency in Security Tools and Technologies:
Familiarise yourself with various security tools and technologies used in the industry, such as antivirus software, intrusion detection systems (IDS), security information and event management (SIEM) tools, vulnerability scanners, and penetration testing frameworks.
Develop skills in incident response and handling. Understand the steps involved in detecting, containing, investigating, and recovering from security incidents. Learn about incident response frameworks and best practices. Security Standards and Compliance: Gain knowledge of security standards and compliance frameworks, such as ISO 27001, NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and GDPR. Understand how to implement security controls and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.
Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing:
Consider learning about ethical hacking and penetration testing to understand how attackers exploit vulnerabilities. This knowledge will help you identify weaknesses in systems and applications, enabling you to strengthen security defenses.
Security Awareness and Training:
Effective communication and awareness are crucial in cybersecurity. Develop skills in educating users, raising security awareness, and providing training to employees on cybersecurity best practices.
Compared to other domains, individuals with a background in computer networking have a distinct advantage while transitioning into cybersecurity. They possess a strong understanding of programming and software design, combined with a foundational knowledge of security principles. This unique combination of skills enables them to effectively identify and address vulnerabilities in networks and applications, thus ensuring optimal system safety. With appropriate training and upskilling from DataSpace Academy, these professionals can actively contribute to bolstering the security of networks and applications. By leveraging their expertise in programming, software development, and security principles, they can effectively mitigate risks and safeguard systems from cyber threats.