Data has become a valuable asset for many companies. Everyone, from tech giants to retail powerhouses, is using data to better understand customers and drive new ideas forward. Storing and keeping data secure, however, requires great lengths.

The 2019 Global Data Risk Report from Varonis Data Lab found that many companies fail to secure critical data. The report found that 53% of companies shared over 1,000 sensitive files to every employee and only 5% of a company’s folders were protected.

Having proper privacy and protection measures prevents cyberattacks and data breaches. Cybersecurity jobs are responsible for not only protecting data but computers, systems, networks, and more.

Many companies are filling more cybersecurity positions and asking for specific skills to make sure that more data is protected. These are the skills and resources data security professionals can keep in mind when building a cybersecurity career and becoming a leader in the field.

Programming Languages for Cybersecurity Professions

Beginning a cybersecurity career requires expertise in certain programming languages and software. Cybersecurity workers need to create programs to perform tasks or monitor other systems or networks. Some of the top programming languages utilized in the field include C, Python, and JavaScript. 

The C programming language is a general-purpose language commonly used for cross-platform programming. It can work with many computer platforms and operating systems. C programming language also has access to low-level memory. 

Similar to the C programming language, Python is a general-purpose language so it can be used in many ways. Python is used to build programs for offensive strategies. It can be used to detect intrusions or for quick debugging. 

JavaScript is an important language for web and software development. Since JavaScript manipulates web pages by adding or modifying content, hackers may try to change web pages or access data, leaving companies vulnerable to exposure. Cybersecurity professionals who have experience with JavaScript, however, can provide a line of defense and prevent potential breaches or cyberattacks. 

Important Cyber Security Tools to Learn

Cybersecurity workers often use tools to conduct audits or test software. These are a few of the most popular tools used. 

Wireshark. Wireshark monitors and analyzes networks. It can run on many platforms including Windows, Linux, and NetBSD. It also offers features like live capture and offline analysis.

Nmap. Nmap is used for network inventory and monitoring service upgrade schedules. It can also run on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. 

SolarWinds. SolarWinds manages networks, systems, databases, and more. Networks and systems engineers built SolarWinds because they wanted a program that could manage many IT responsibilities. 

Specialization in a Cybersecurity Role

Cybersecurity professionals are responsible for creating and monitoring programs that enforce network security, risk management, and intruder detection. Daily tasks may include anything from encrypting data transmissions and building firewalls to performing audits on programs and implementing security measures. With such significant responsibilities, certain jobs may require workers to focus on a subfield.  

Branches of cybersecurity include application security, network defense, intrusion detection, incident response, endpoint protection, and governance. When shaping one’s cybersecurity career, it’s ideal to become an expert in one area. Expertise in a specific area will allow one to keep up with new technology and defense methods that are used to protect against particular attacks. 

Soft Skills for a Cybersecurity Career

Building one’s cybersecurity career also requires focusing on soft skills. Workers who are likable, easy to work with, and effective communicators can become prime candidates for advancement opportunities and valuable members of a company. 

Experienced cybersecurity professionals who want to take on management-level cybersecurity professions may be required to lead teams or explain how security systems work. They need to be able to break down and explain cybersecurity concepts in simple ways. They also have to be great listeners and know their coworkers’ strengths, to effectively lead their team through a successful project. 

Networking with industry experts can also be a great way to learn about working in a particular industry or specializing in a subfield. It can lead to new opportunities as well as a way to build confidence in one’s social and communication skills. 

Where to Learn Key Cybersecurity Skills

Most cybersecurity professionals obtain a four-year degree in computer science or a related field. However, people who are looking to switch careers or who do not have formal education experience can also seek alternative options. 

Some industry professionals receive certifications through universities or accredited organizations. Certifications cover pertinent skills and concepts in less time than a bachelor’s degree and a good option for people seeking entry-level or mid-level positions. 

WOZ developed a Cyber Security training curriculum for entry-level and mid-level industry professionals to earn a certificate in 33 weeks. Concepts such as cyber defense, Python programming, and Agile development are covered in the course.

Sophia Acevedo

Sophia Acevedo

Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.