Career Path Ahead

This is our third comprehensive blog in a series that thoroughly covers careers within cybersecurity. The previous article discussed tips on how to navigate your cybersecurity career once you are already in the field. Within that, there was a section that explored specializations within cybersecurity. This blog aims to dive further into that conversation.

Cybersecurity has become a critical priority for organizations of all sizes. With cyber threats on the rise, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is higher than ever. Whether you’re a recent graduate, a transitioning military veteran, or a seasoned professional looking for a career change, the field of cybersecurity offers a wealth of opportunities for growth and advancement. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the diverse range of cybersecurity careers, the essential certifications to pursue, and the educational pathways to success.

Table of Contents

  1. Importance of Certifications in Cybersecurity (jump to section)
  2. Benefits of Stackable Certifications (jump to section)
  3. Understanding the Different Cybersecurity Career Categories (jump to section)
  4. Technical Security Roles (jump to section)
  5. Security Operations (jump to section)
  6. Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (jump to section)
  7. Emerging Technology Roles (jump to section)
  8. Consulting and Advisory Services (jump to section)
  9. Leadership and Managerial Roles (jump to section)
  10. Conclusion (jump to section)

Importance of Certifications in Cybersecurity

Much of this article is going to focus on specific cybersecurity career fields. But throughout this article, there will be a common theme – cybersecurity certifications play an important role in every field. Now more than ever, certifications are being relied upon by almost every company as a way to validate a candidate’s foundational knowledge and abilities. Although your success in cybersecurity isn’t directly correlated to the certifications you obtain, they are often a key indicator of a professional’s ability to acquire the job they desire.

Cybersecurity certifications serve as tangible evidence of an individual’s knowledge, skills, and capabilities in various aspects of cybersecurity. By earning a certification, professionals demonstrate their proficiency in areas such as network security, cryptography, incident response, risk management, and ethical hacking, among others. This validation is essential for employers seeking to assess the qualifications of candidates and ensure that they possess the necessary competencies to effectively protect their organizations against cyber threats.
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Certification Training Schedule

CertificationBenefits of Stackable Certifications

Stackable certifications refer to a structured approach to professional development in which individuals pursue multiple certifications in a sequential manner. Typically, each certification builds upon the knowledge and skills acquired from previous certifications. These certifications are designed to complement one another, creating a cohesive and progressive learning path that enables individuals to develop expertise in specific areas of interest within a particular field.

In the context of cybersecurity, stackable certifications allow professionals to acquire a diverse range of skills and competencies across various domains, such as:

  • Network Security
  • Cryptography
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Incident Response
  • Risk Management
  • Compliance

Over the past couple of years, we have seen a shift in the desired educational pathways of cybersecurity professionals. Many prefer stackable certifications over traditional degrees in cybersecurity. Starting with foundational certifications, individuals can gradually advance to more advanced and specialized certifications as they gain experience and expertise in specific areas of cybersecurity. The benefits of this educational pathway are more than just monetary (though that is a drastically important benefit). Let’s discuss some of the additional benefits of this approach.

Progressive Learning Path:

Stackable certifications follow a tiered structure, with each certification building upon the knowledge and skills gained from previous certifications. This progressive learning path allows professionals to start with foundational certifications and gradually advance to more advanced and specialized certifications as they gain experience and expertise in specific areas of cybersecurity. By following a structured pathway, professionals can systematically expand their knowledge and capabilities, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of key cybersecurity concepts and methodologies.

Enhanced Skills and Competencies:

Stackable certifications enable professionals to develop a diverse range of skills and competencies across various cybersecurity domains. As they progress through different certification levels, professionals gain hands-on experience, practical insights, and specialized expertise in areas such as network security, cryptography, ethical hacking, incident response, and risk management. This multifaceted skill set equips professionals with the knowledge and capabilities needed to tackle complex cybersecurity challenges and excel in diverse roles within the field.

Career Advancement Opportunities:

Stackable certifications enhance career prospects and open doors to new opportunities within the cybersecurity field. By obtaining multiple certifications, professionals demonstrate their commitment to continuous learning and professional development, making them more attractive candidates for high-demand roles and leadership positions. Employers value candidates with a diverse skill set and a track record of achieving multiple certifications, viewing them as versatile and capable of making significant contributions to cybersecurity initiatives.

Specialization and Expertise:

Stackable certifications allow professionals to specialize in specific areas of cybersecurity and develop expertise in niche domains. Whether it’s penetration testing, digital forensics, cloud security, or regulatory compliance, professionals can tailor their certification pathway to align with their career goals and interests. By obtaining specialized certifications, professionals can differentiate themselves in the job market, position themselves as subject matter experts, and pursue rewarding career opportunities in their chosen field of specialization.

Flexibility and Customization:

Stackable certifications offer flexibility and customization, allowing professionals to design a certification pathway that meets their individual needs and aspirations. Whether they prefer to focus on technical skills, managerial competencies, or a combination of both, professionals can select certifications that align with their career goals, industry requirements, and personal interests. Additionally, professionals can pursue certifications from different vendors and organizations, ensuring a well-rounded and diverse skill set that reflects the evolving demands of the cybersecurity landscape.
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Building an Educational Pathway

Now that we have put down the groundwork for why certifications play a pivotal role in a professional’s career, it’s time to start diving into the specifics of those careers. As we guide ourselves through this article, the goal is to educate on specific career fields, while also uncovering important knowledge points within each area. In addition to discussing the careers themselves, we will also guide you through creating an educational pathway in cybersecurity, starting from foundational certifications to advanced ones. We’ll offer advice on selecting certifications based on career goals, interests, and industry trends.

If you would like to talk to one of our certified trainers regarding an educational pathway tailored to your career goals, click the button below to contact us today!
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Design Your Educational Path

Understanding the Different Cybersecurity Career Categories

In this landscape, there exist numerous career fields, each with its own set of challenges, responsibilities, and opportunities for growth. Understanding these distinct areas is essential for individuals seeking to embark on a career in cybersecurity, as it allows them to tailor their education and skill development to align with their interests and career goals. Recognizing the diversity within the industry can also help individuals make informed decisions about which path to pursue, whether it’s delving into technical security roles, specializing in emerging technologies, or focusing on governance and compliance.

To provide clarity and structure amidst the complexity of cybersecurity, we’ve organized the field into six distinct categories:

  • Technical Security Roles
  • Security Operations
  • Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC)
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Consulting and Advisory Services
  • Leadership/Managerial Roles

Each category represents a unique facet of cybersecurity, encompassing a variety of job roles and responsibilities. In the following sections, we’ll delve into each category in more detail, exploring the key roles, skills, and certifications associated with each area. By breaking down the field into these comprehensible categories, we aim to provide readers with a clear roadmap for navigating their cybersecurity career journey.

One thing to remember as you work through these different categories is that there is a ton of areas that will fall into more than one category. Cybersecurity is a very large industry, and it’s constantly growing and evolving, with some job roles bleeding into multiple categories.  The purpose of this article is to just provide some guidance on ways to start and improve your career with some basic guiding principles.
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Technical Security Roles:

Technical security roles play a pivotal role in safeguarding organizations against a myriad of cyber threats. These roles encompass a wide array of responsibilities, ranging from fortifying network defenses to securing applications and cloud environments. Technical security professionals are tasked with designing, implementing, and maintaining robust security measures to protect sensitive data, mitigate risks, and ensure the integrity and availability of critical systems and assets.

At the forefront of technical security are skilled professionals specializing in network security, application security, cloud security, security engineering, security architecture, and identity and access management. Each role requires a unique blend of technical expertise, problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

Job Roles

Some job roles within this are include:

  • Network Security Engineer/Administrator
  • Firewall Administrator
  • Application Security Engineer
  • Software Security Analyst
  • Cloud Security Specialist
  • Cloud Security Architect
  • Systems Security Engineer
  • Security Systems Administrator
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) Specialist

Strengths Needed

  1. Technical Proficiency: A strong foundation in technical skills related to cybersecurity, including networking, operating systems, programming languages, and security tools and technologies.
  2. Problem-Solving Skills: The ability to analyze complex problems, identify vulnerabilities, and develop innovative solutions to mitigate security risks.
  3. Attention to Detail: A keen eye for detail is crucial in identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities and ensuring the integrity of systems and data.
  4. Analytical Thinking: The capacity to analyze data, interpret security logs, and investigate security incidents to uncover underlying threats and patterns.
  5. Communication Skills: Effective communication skills are essential for conveying technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, collaborating with team members, and documenting security processes and procedures.
  6. Adaptability: The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, so professionals in these roles must be adaptable and able to quickly learn and apply new technologies and methodologies.
  7. Ethical Mindset: Ethical integrity and a commitment to upholding ethical standards are critical for roles such as penetration testing or ethical hacking, where individuals must adhere to ethical guidelines while identifying security vulnerabilities.
  8. Teamwork and Collaboration: Many security incidents require coordinated responses, so the ability to work effectively as part of a team and collaborate with other departments is essential.
  9. Time Management: Prioritizing tasks, managing deadlines, and efficiently allocating time and resources are vital skills for maintaining security operations and responding to incidents promptly.
  10. Continuous Learning: Given the rapid pace of technological advancements and evolving threat landscape, a willingness to engage in continuous learning and professional development is crucial for staying abreast of industry trends and best practices.

Cybersecurity Certifications to Consider

Having a strong understanding of hardware/software security and networking can be a huge benefit, so it’s important to focus on building a strong foundation in these areas. That’s why we recommend looking into certifications like CompTIA’s ITF+, A+, and Network+. From there, it can be beneficial to build on your understanding of cybersecurity concepts, focusing on CompTIA Security+ or EC-Council’s Certified Network Defender. As you approach higher-level roles, building on your understanding and handling of the complex issues organizations face is vital, making ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or CompTIA’s Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) great options.

Certifications we discussed:

  • CompTIA ITF+
  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • EC-Council Certified Network Defender (C|ND)
  • CompTIA CASP+

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Security Operations CenterSecurity Operations:

While navigating your cybersecurity career, you will come across an acronym people use called a SOC. This is not to be confused with sock. SOC stands for Security Operations Center. That is the focal point of this category as it plays a critical role in maintaining the security posture of organizations by actively monitoring, detecting, and responding to security incidents and threats. This section explores the diverse range of job roles within security operations, the essential strengths needed for success, and the certifications that can help individuals excel in these roles.

Security operations teams are responsible for the day-to-day management of security systems and processes, ensuring that security controls are effectively implemented and operationalized. These teams are often at the frontline of defense, continuously monitoring networks, systems, and applications for signs of suspicious activity or unauthorized access. Security operations professionals play a vital role in identifying and mitigating security incidents, minimizing the impact of breaches, and maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical assets.

SOC Job Roles

Some job roles within security operations include:

  • SOC Analyst
  • Incident Responder
  • Threat Hunter
  • Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst
  • Security Incident Manager
  • Digital Forensic Analyst
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Engineer

Strengths Needed in Security Operations

  1. Analytical Skills: The ability to analyze security logs, interpret alerts, and investigate security incidents to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities.
  2. Attention to Detail: A keen eye for detail is essential for detecting subtle signs of security breaches or anomalous behavior within networks and systems.
  3. Communication Skills: Effective communication skills are crucial for conveying security alerts, collaborating with team members, and documenting incident response procedures.
  4. Problem-Solving Abilities: The capacity to think critically and creatively to resolve security incidents and develop proactive measures to enhance security defenses.
  5. Technical Proficiency: A solid understanding of networking, operating systems, and security tools and technologies is essential for effectively managing security operations and responding to incidents.
  6. Stress Management: The ability to remain calm and focused under pressure is crucial in high-stress situations, such as during security incidents or breaches.
  7. Teamwork and Collaboration: Security operations often require collaboration with other teams, such as network operations, system administrators, and legal and compliance teams, to coordinate response efforts and address security challenges effectively.

Cybersecurity Certifications for Security Operations

For individuals pursuing careers in security operations, several certifications can enhance their skills and credentials. As with many of the roles we discuss in this article, we want to highlight ITF+ as a key starting point for someone with limited to no experience in IT or cybersecurity. That certification is a great foundational starting point for those with minimal experience/knowledge. From there, enhancing your technical knowledge can be a huge benefit with the Network+ certification, but the CompTIA Security+ certification is essential.

As you grow in this career, it’s important to expand your skills and knowledge around security concepts. EC-Council offers several certifications that can help you prepare for this career and more advanced certifications. Certified SOC Analyst and Certified Network Defender would both be good steppingstones as you to start with. From there, pursuing EC-Council’s Certified Incident Handler, Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst, and ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional are all great advanced certifications for this career field.

Certifications Discussed:

  • CompTIA ITF+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • EC-Council Certified SOC Analyst (C|SA)
  • EC-Council Certified SOC Analyst (C|ND)
  • EC-Council Certified SOC Analyst (E|CIH)
  • EC-Council Certified SOC Analyst (C|TIA)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

These certifications cover a range of security operations topics, including incident handling, threat detection and response, security analysis, and security management. By obtaining relevant certifications, individuals can demonstrate their proficiency and expertise in security operations and advance their careers in this dynamic and challenging field.
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Governance Risk Compliance

Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC):

Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) is one of the most important areas within cybersecurity. These functions are integral to ensuring that organizations establish and maintain effective cybersecurity practices, adhere to regulatory requirements, and mitigate risks associated with their operations. Often, this is the area in cybersecurity that sets the stage for strong cyber-hygiene within an organization. GRC encompasses a set of processes, policies, and controls that organizations implement to ensure alignment with regulatory standards, industry best practices, and internal policies.

Governance focuses on establishing strategic direction and oversight, while risk management involves identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks to the organization’s assets and operations. Compliance ensures adherence to applicable laws, regulations, and contractual obligations, minimizing legal and reputational risks. This section of our blog explores the key components of GRC, the diverse range of job roles within this domain, the essential strengths needed for success, and the certifications that can help individuals excel in these roles.

Job Roles Within GRC

Some job roles within governance, risk, and compliance include:

  • Compliance Officer
  • Risk Analyst
  • Security Auditor
  • Regulatory Compliance Specialist
  • Policy Analyst
  • Compliance Auditor
  • Data Privacy Officer
  • Vendor Risk Manager
  • IT Governance Manager

Strengths Needed

  1. Analytical Skills: The ability to analyze regulatory requirements, assess risks, and evaluate compliance gaps to develop effective risk management strategies and compliance programs.
  2. Attention to Detail: A meticulous approach to reviewing policies, procedures, and controls to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and organizational requirements.
  3. Communication Skills: Effective communication skills are essential for engaging with stakeholders, conveying compliance requirements, and advocating for risk mitigation measures.
  4. Legal and Regulatory Knowledge: A solid understanding of relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOX, is critical for interpreting compliance requirements and implementing appropriate controls.
  5. Problem-Solving Abilities: The capacity to identify compliance issues, assess their impact, and develop solutions to address them in a timely and effective manner.
  6. Project Management Skills: Proficiency in project management methodologies and tools to plan, execute, and monitor compliance initiatives and risk management activities.
  7. Ethical Conduct: A commitment to upholding ethical standards and integrity in managing sensitive information, handling compliance matters, and addressing potential conflicts of interest.
  8. Cross-Functional Collaboration: Collaboration with various departments, including legal, IT, finance, and operations, to ensure alignment of GRC activities with organizational objectives and priorities.

Cybersecurity Certifications to Consider

Although you may not be diving into all of the technical pieces of cybersecurity, starting with the ITF+ certification is still a great starting point if you have minimal experience in IT or cybersecurity. From there, we are going to see the same progression into the Security+ certification, but this is because Security+ is a strong foundational entry-level certification. It is recognized across the industry as one of the top certifications in cybersecurity, so will be on most of the lists within this article.

After getting the foundation set, we want to focus on certifications that have a stronger focus on governance and risk. The ISACA Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) is an incredible certification for any professional in this arena with it’s heavy emphasis on risk management. ISC2 also has a really good certification for GRC known as CGRC – Certified in Governance, Risk and Compliance. Then we still highly recommend the ISC2 CISSP certification for the majority of cybersecurity roles (including GRC). It’s one of the most respected certifications in the industry and will be valuable for almost any job in the field.

Certification Covered in this Section:

  • CompTIA ITF+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • ISC2 Certified in Governance, Risk and Compliance (CGRC)

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Artificial Intelligence

Emerging Technologies:

Emerging technologies are driving significant transformations in the cybersecurity landscape, introducing both new opportunities and challenges for organizations. Technology is evolving at a rapid rate, with new programs, tools, and opportunities arising year after year. This section explores the latest trends in emerging technologies. We will look into the diverse range of job roles within this domain, the essential strengths needed for success, and the certifications that can help individuals excel in these roles.

Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and quantum computing, are revolutionizing cybersecurity. These tools may introduce new unforeseen threats, but they also enable innovative approaches to threat detection, incident response, and risk management. Through new and innovative technologies organizations potentially have unprecedented capabilities to enhance their security posture, automate routine tasks, and adapt to evolving threats in real-time.

Emerging Technological Job Roles

Some job roles within emerging technologies may include:

  • AI/Machine Learning Engineer
  • IoT Security Specialist
  • Blockchain Security Architect
  • Quantum Cryptography Researcher
  • Threat Intelligence Analyst (leveraging AI/ML)
  • Cybersecurity Data Scientist
  • Cloud Security Engineer (leveraging AI/ML)
  • Cybersecurity Analyst (with expertise in emerging threats)

Strengths Needed

  1. Technical Proficiency: A strong understanding of emerging technologies and their applications in cybersecurity, including AI/ML algorithms, IoT protocols, blockchain platforms, and quantum computing principles.
  2. Innovation Mindset: A passion for exploring new technologies, experimenting with novel approaches, and leveraging cutting-edge solutions to address cybersecurity challenges.
  3. Analytical Skills: The ability to analyze large volumes of data generated by emerging technologies, extract actionable insights, and make informed decisions to mitigate security risks.
  4. Problem-Solving Abilities: The capacity to identify complex security issues, anticipate emerging threats, and develop effective strategies to defend against cyber-attacks leveraging emerging technologies.
  5. Adaptability: The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, so professionals in emerging technologies roles must be adaptable and willing to learn new concepts and techniques to stay ahead of emerging threats.
  6. Collaboration Skills: Collaboration with cross-functional teams, including data scientists, software developers, and business analysts, to integrate emerging technologies into cybersecurity solutions and initiatives effectively.
  7. Ethical Considerations: An understanding of ethical considerations and privacy concerns associated with emerging technologies, such as data privacy, algorithm bias, and responsible AI/ML practices.

Cybersecurity Certifications to Consider

This may seem redundant at this point, but we still must consider the CompTIA ITF+ (and the updated version coming out later this year) as the best starting point for this field. Some may consider a role in emerging technologies as a more advanced cybersecurity career, but if this is something you have a deep interest in, then don’t be deterred. For those that are new to this industry, get started right away on this certification, and an entry-level job, as you progress towards your ultimate goal.

From there, much of the goal within this career category will focus on gaining foundational knowledge that can cover a wide array of potential new technologies. This is with the CompTIA Network+ and Security+ can be of huge benefit. Both create a strong foundation around key IT and networking concepts, while also focusing on ways to secure them. Then looking into the EC-Counci Certified Ethical Hacker would be a great next step. Beyond developing key skills around ethical hacking practices, this certification will help you hone a mindset of thinking outside of the box when it comes to potential threats. This can pay huge dividends down the road in a career that will be constantly evolving.

Finally, we still want to point to the ISC2 CISSP, CompTIA CASP+, or EC-Council CCISO as your best advanced options. Having strong understanding around security practices is going to be essential, making these certifications a strong focal point in your career development.

Certifications Discussed in this Section:

  • CompTIA ITF+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH)
  • ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • EC-Council Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO)
  • CompTIA CASP+

These certifications cover a range of emerging technology topics, including cybersecurity implications, risk management considerations, and practical applications in real-world scenarios. By obtaining relevant certifications, individuals can demonstrate their proficiency and expertise in leveraging emerging technologies to address cybersecurity challenges effectively.
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Consulting and Advisory Services:

For many organizations, hiring full time staff to handle all of the different cybersecurity roles is not always affordable or feasible. More often than not (especially for small to medium sized businesses), hiring third-party consultants and vendors becomes a much more affordable approach to securing data. This opens the door for a very lucrative/successful career as a consulting expert. These consulting and advisory services play a crucial role in guiding organizations through complex cybersecurity challenges, providing expert guidance, strategic insights, and practical solutions to enhance their security posture.

This section explores the diverse range of consulting and advisory roles within the cybersecurity domain. Consulting and advisory firms offer specialized expertise and industry insights to help organizations assess their cybersecurity risks, develop tailored strategies, and implement effective security measures. These companies provide a wide range of services, including risk assessments, security audits, policy development, incident response planning, penetration testing, and security awareness training, tailored to the unique needs and objectives of each client.

Many professionals may find more enjoyment in starting up their own consulting services, and partnering with organizations who lack the funding for a robust cybersecurity department.

Job Roles

Some job roles within consulting and advisory services include:

  • Cybersecurity Consultant
  • Risk Management Advisor
  • Security Solutions Architect
  • Compliance Consultant
  • Incident Response Consultant
  • Security Awareness Trainer
  • Digital Forensics Examiner
  • Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing

Strengths Needed

  1. Subject Matter Expertise: In-depth knowledge and expertise in cybersecurity principles, best practices, regulations, and industry standards, across various domains such as network security, application security, cloud security, and compliance.
  2. Communication Skills: Excellent verbal and written communication skills to articulate complex technical concepts, engage with clients effectively, and deliver clear and concise recommendations and reports.
  3. Analytical Abilities: Strong analytical skills to assess cybersecurity risks, analyze security controls, and identify vulnerabilities, leveraging tools and methodologies to conduct risk assessments and security audits.
  4. Problem-Solving Skills: The ability to identify security gaps, develop innovative solutions, and address complex cybersecurity challenges, considering technical, operational, and business requirements.
  5. Client Relationship Management: The capacity to build trusted relationships with clients, understand their needs and objectives, and provide value-added services and solutions to address their cybersecurity concerns.
  6. Project Management Expertise: Proficiency in project management methodologies and techniques to plan, execute, and oversee cybersecurity projects, ensuring timely delivery and client satisfaction.
  7. Business Acumen: Understanding of business drivers, organizational goals, and industry trends to align cybersecurity strategies and initiatives with the broader business objectives of clients.

Cybersecurity Certifications to Consider

At the end of this road, companies are going to be looking for true experts in the field. Whether you’re performing penetration tests, conducting risk assessments, or training company staff, you must have a strong understanding of that particular topic in order to be successful. For many, the road to being a consultant is often developed over a season of working within the industry for another company. But for those who are brand new, and desire to go this route, the journey still begins with CompTIA ITF+. Again, creating a basic understanding of the IT Fundamentals is an important starting point for any career.

Penetration Testing: From there, it gets a little more difficult because the path will largely depend on what you want to do. For those that desire penetration testing, you will most likely want to look into Network+, Security+, PenTest+, and the Certified Ethical Hacker. These will give you much of the essential skills for providing those services. It would also be beneficial to obtain your CISSP and CCISO at some point as well.

Governance, Risk, Compliance: If you desire to focus on GRC, this could be anyone in risk management, compliance, incident response, your path will need to start with Security+.  You may also want to look into ISACA’s IT Risk Fundamentals course. From there, I would recommend either ISACA’s CRISC or CISM certifications to build on your risk management skills. At the later years of your career, CISSP and CCISO will also be hugely beneficial.

General Cybersecurity Consulting Services: We could go through all of the unique intricacies for each individual career path, but that would be a much lengthier blog. So this will sum up some general certifications that can truly help in every area of consulting.  Starting with Security+, then working towards your CISSP, and finishing up with your CCISO. Those three certifications will provide a very important foundation to help you on this journey.

Certifications Discussed in this Section:

  • CompTIA ITF+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA PenTest+
  • EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH)
  • EC-Council Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO)
  • ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • ISACA IT Risk Fundamentals
  • ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • ISACA Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

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LeadershipLeadership and Managerial Roles:

This career category is really a culmination of a successful career in any of the previous categories. Where-as the previous ones we discussed focuses on specializing in specific cybersecurity skillsets, this job role will end up being where the decision makers and leaders go. Leadership and managerial roles are essential for setting strategic direction, driving organizational change, and fostering a culture of security within an organization.

This section explores the diverse range of leadership and managerial roles within the cybersecurity domain, the essential skills and qualities needed for success, and the certifications that can help individuals excel in these roles.

Leadership and managerial roles in cybersecurity encompass a wide range of responsibilities, including establishing cybersecurity policies and procedures, leading incident response teams, managing security operations, and liaising with executive leadership and board members. These roles require strong leadership, communication, and strategic planning skills to effectively manage cybersecurity risks and align security initiatives with business objectives.

Leadership and Managerial Job Roles

Some job roles within leadership and managerial roles include:

  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • Security Operations Manager
  • Security Program Manager
  • Incident Response Manager
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) Manager
  • Security Operations Center (SOC) Director
  • Cybersecurity Director

Qualities and Skills Needed

  1. Leadership Skills: The ability to inspire and motivate teams, foster a culture of collaboration and innovation, and lead by example in promoting cybersecurity awareness and best practices.
  2. Strategic Thinking: A forward-thinking approach to cybersecurity, with the ability to anticipate emerging threats, assess business risks, and develop proactive strategies to mitigate security risks.
  3. Communication and Stakeholder Management: Strong communication skills to effectively convey complex cybersecurity concepts to non-technical stakeholders, build consensus, and influence decision-making at all levels of the organization.
  4. Business Acumen: Understanding of business objectives, market dynamics, and industry trends to align cybersecurity initiatives with organizational goals and priorities, and articulate the value of cybersecurity investments to executive leadership and board members.
  5. Risk Management Expertise: Proficiency in risk management methodologies and frameworks to identify, assess, and prioritize cybersecurity risks, and develop risk mitigation strategies that balance security requirements with business needs.
  6. Team Building and Development: The ability to recruit, develop, and retain top cybersecurity talent, build high-performing teams, and provide mentorship and professional development opportunities to nurture future cybersecurity leaders.
  7. Crisis Management and Incident Response: Experience in crisis management and incident response, with the ability to lead effective response efforts during cybersecurity incidents, minimize disruption to business operations, and ensure timely resolution and recovery.

Cybersecurity Certifications to Consider

With these roles being much more advanced, we are going to work under the assumption that you have already obtained many of the lower-level certifications. For this, there are two really beneficial certifications that can be of huge help, that have been repeated multiple times throughout this article – ISC2 CISSP and EC-Council CCISO. These two are widely considered among the top certifications you can get as a decision maker in cybersecurity. Regardless of your path up to this point, when moving into leadership we highly recommend obtaining your CISSP and the getting your CCISO.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is widely recognized as a hallmark of excellence in the cybersecurity field. This is even more true when discussing individuals in leadership and managerial roles. CISSP certification demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity principles, best practices, and industry standards, making it invaluable for cybersecurity leaders responsible for shaping organizational security strategies and initiatives.

For individuals in leadership roles, CISSP certification offers several key benefits. Firstly, it provides a solid foundation in cybersecurity principles and practices. This enables leaders to make informed decisions and effectively communicate cybersecurity requirements and priorities to stakeholders across the organization. Secondly, CISSP certification demonstrates a commitment to professional development and continuous learning. This is a trait that underscores an individual’s dedication to staying abreast of emerging threats, technologies, and best practices in cybersecurity. Finally, CISSP certification enhances credibility and trustworthiness, instilling confidence in executive leadership, board members, and other stakeholders that the certified individual possesses the expertise and qualifications necessary to lead cybersecurity efforts effectively.

Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO)

The Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO) certification is specifically designed for experienced cybersecurity professionals aspiring to advance into leadership and executive roles within their organizations. Recognized globally, CCISO certification validates an individual’s ability to lead and manage comprehensive cybersecurity programs. The domains in this certification align cybersecurity initiatives with business objectives and help effectively navigate the complex challenges of cybersecurity governance, risk management, and compliance.

For individuals aspiring to leadership roles, CCISO certification offers several key benefits. First, it provides a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity governance frameworks, enabling leaders to develop and implement effective cybersecurity strategies, policies, and procedures that align with organizational goals and regulatory requirements. Secondly, CCISO certification emphasizes the importance of leadership and communication skills. These skills empower cybersecurity executives to effectively engage with executive leadership, board members, and other stakeholders to articulate cybersecurity risks, priorities, and recommendations in business terms. Finally, CCISO certification validates the leadership capabilities and strategic acumen of cybersecurity professionals.
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In conclusion, this blog has explored the multifaceted world of cybersecurity, highlighting the diverse career opportunities, essential skills, and certifications that are instrumental in navigating this dynamic field. From technical security roles to leadership and managerial positions, cybersecurity offers a wealth of possibilities for individuals passionate about protecting digital assets and mitigating cyber threats.

We’ve underscored the significance of certifications in validating skills, enhancing career prospects, and staying abreast of evolving industry trends. Stackable certifications, in particular, provide a progressive learning path for professionals to develop specialized expertise and advance their careers in cybersecurity. By investing in continuous learning and professional development, individuals can position themselves as valued assets in the fight against cybercrime and contribute to the resilience and security of organizations worldwide.

As you embark on your cybersecurity journey, we encourage you to embrace the opportunities for growth and learning that this field offers. Whether you’re just starting out or seeking to advance your career, it’s important to have mentors and partners that will help you along the way. If you’re desiring to obtain that next certification, or just want to discuss some different questions regarding your specific situation, please feel free to contact the experts at Phishbuster Academy for help!
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