Cybersecurity is a vital aspect of modern-day business, government, and society as a whole. This is especially true now that cyber-attacks have become quite expensive, with the average cost of a ransomware breach being $4.53 million. 

As such, organizations need to ensure their networks, data, and systems are secure from malicious actors. This is where cybersecurity specialists come in. A cybersecurity specialist is an expert in protecting an organization’s computer systems, networks, and data from theft, damage, or unauthorized access. Their roles and responsibilities include: 

  • Monitoring networks
  • Identifying and analyzing potential security breaches
  • Implementing security measures to prevent such breaches from occurring.

If you are interested in a career in cybersecurity, this blog post will serve as a guide on how to become a cybersecurity specialist. We will provide you with detailed information on the steps required to gain the necessary skills and certifications, along with tips for career success. 

What Is a Cybersecurity Specialist?

Cybersecurity experts are essential to protecting a company’s information systems. Cybersecurity specialists shield systems from cybersecurity risks, threats, and vulnerabilities through continuous monitoring, identifying, investigating, analyzing, and reacting to potential attacks.

Information security specialists are categorized into these common IT areas:

  • Network Security

This entails protecting a computer network against intruders, such as opportunistic malware or targeted attacks.

  • Application Security 

This focuses on maintaining software and equipment risk-free. The data that an application was meant to safeguard may eventually be accessed through a compromised application.

  • Information Security

This involves safeguarding the confidentiality and integrity of an organization’s data while in storage or being transmitted.

  • Operational Security

This covers managing and safeguarding data assets, such as the credentials users have when logging into a network and the protocols that specify how and where data may be stored or exchanged.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Cybersecurity Specialist

Cyber security concept. Network protection.

As we learned earlier, cybersecurity specialists are information security professionals responsible for protecting network systems from cyber threats. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the various roles and responsibilities that come with being a cybersecurity specialist.

Cybersecurity specialists must be knowledgeable in various security measures and technologies and work proactively to protect their organization’s networks and systems. The exact roles and responsibilities of a cybersecurity specialist can vary depending on the organization they work for, but generally include:

  • Conducting regular security assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities in systems and networks.
  • Implementing security measures to prevent cyber-attacks and breaches.
  • Monitoring networks and systems for suspicious activity and responding to security incidents promptly.
  • Creating and maintaining disaster recovery plans in the event of a cyber-attack or breach.
  • Developing and implementing security policies and procedures to ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards.
  • Educating employees on cybersecurity best practices and conducting training sessions to raise awareness.

Overview of Industries Where Cybersecurity Specialists Are Employed

According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide by 2025. This means that the demand for cybersecurity professionals is high, and the opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in this field are vast.

Cybersecurity specialists are employed in a variety of industries, including:

  • Information Technology (IT) and Computer Systems Design: This is the largest employer of cybersecurity specialists, where they help design and secure computer networks, systems, and databases. For example, a cybersecurity specialist working in a software company may help design security features such as two-factor authentication to ensure that customer data remains secure.
  • Finance and Insurance: Both finance and insurance industries deal with very sensitive financial data and as such cybersecurity experts work to protect this sensitive data, ensuring that transactions and communication are secure.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare industry is increasingly reliant on technology, making it a target for cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity specialists in this industry help protect medical devices, especially from DoS and DDoS attacks.
  • Government and national defense: Cybersecurity specialists in the government and defense industries help protect confidential information and national security. For instance, a cybersecurity specialist working for a national defense agency may help develop security protocols that protect sensitive military information from cyber-attacks.

Key Certifications for a Cybersecurity Specialist

High angle view at software developer writing code while using computer and data systems in office

In the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity, professionals need to keep their skills up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity technologies and practices. Certifications are a great way for cybersecurity specialists to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise to potential employers. Here are some of the most highly-regarded certifications in the industry:

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is a widely recognized certification that covers foundational security concepts such as network security, compliance, and operational security. It is ideal for entry-level cybersecurity professionals and those looking to expand their knowledge in the information systems industry. 

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

CISSP is a vendor-neutral certification that covers advanced security concepts such as risk management, asset security, and security operations. It is ideal for experienced professionals who want to advance their careers in cybersecurity. According to Forbes, CISSP is one of the most highly-regarded certifications in the field.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

CEH is a certification that covers the techniques used by ethical hackers to assess and improve the security of computer systems and is valid for three years. It is ideal for cybersecurity specialists who want to understand how attackers think and operate. 

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

CISA is a certification that covers auditing, monitoring, and assessing the security of information systems. It is ideal for cybersecurity specialists who want to specialize in risk management and compliance. According to Flatiron School, CISA is a valuable certification for cybersecurity professionals in the finance and healthcare industries.

Soft and Technical Skills

These skills are crucial for success in the cybersecurity field, as they help individuals to identify and mitigate potential threats, work effectively in teams, and ultimately protect valuable assets and information from cyber-attacks. Here are essential soft and technical skills for cybersecurity professionals.

Soft Skills

Communication: Cybersecurity specialists must be able to communicate complex security concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences.

Problem-Solving: Cybersecurity specialists must be able to identify and solve security problems quickly and efficiently.

Teamwork: Cybersecurity specialists often work in teams to implement security measures and respond to threats.

Technical Skills

Network Security: Cybersecurity specialists must have a deep understanding of network security concepts such as firewalls, intrusion detection, and penetration testing.

Programming: Cybersecurity specialists must know programming languages such as Python and C++ to develop and test security measures.

Cyber Threat Intelligence: Cybersecurity specialists must be able to analyze and understand the latest cyber threats, such as social engineering, to develop effective security measures.

Start Your Journey to Becoming a Cybersecurity Specialist Today!

The journey to becoming a cybersecurity professional may seem challenging, but with the right training and resources, you can achieve your goals. At WOZ U, we offer a comprehensive cybersecurity program designed to give you the training you need to succeed in this field. Get started today!