Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Starting Your Career in Cybersecurity

October 9, 2018

According to the 2017 Cybersecurity Jobs Report, there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. At the same time, it is also predicted that the global expenditure for cybercrime will rise to $6 trillion annually by 2021.  The steep rise in cybercrime begs the question: can the cybersecurity industry keep up with the demand for security specialists?

Herjavec Group Founder & CEO, Robert Herjavec, has stated, “The pipeline of security talent isn’t where it needs to be to help curb the cybercrime epidemic. Until we can rectify the quality of education and training that our new cyber experts receive, we will continue to be outpaced by the Black Hats.” 

As the rate of cybercrime rises dramatically, organizations across all sectors and sizes are having a difficult time hiring cybersecurity professionals, although that may be due to the inability to attract more young people to the field. 

“Young people of today don’t completely understand the opportunity in front of them,” Robert Herjavec says. “The industry changes every 3 years and it’s an incredible field to be a part of. When I was in my twenties, I wanted stability but I didn’t really understand how much opportunity there was out there in the world. Stability and opportunity - that’s cybersecurity.”

Although there is a general belief that HR cyber recruiters often look for candidates with at least a diploma or degree in IT Security or something similar, many organizations are exploring “new collar” jobs that don’t require traditional cybersecurity education. These jobs, valuing skills, knowledge, & willingness to learn are a step in the right direction for those looking to switch careers or get an entry-level position. 

Robert Herjavec agrees. "If you don’t know cybersecurity, you’ve got to have a basic understanding of infrastructure. Now, if you don’t know that, you can still find opportunity at an entry level. Start as an IT administrator, or even in a help desk. You can certainly progress that way. If you’re hungry, eager and passionate about the space, you can forge a career path.”

So how can a cybersecurity hopeful get started in the industry?

"We hire based on aptitude and attitude,” says Erin McLean, Herjavec Group’s SVP of Marketing and Human Resources. “Yes - we’ve hired computer science students and IT professionals into our Security Operations Centre, but we’ve also hired math majors, psychology students and gamers with the right combination of technical aptitude, curiosity and critical thinking skills. I recommend anyone interested in the field attend industry networking events and most importantly, demonstrate their commitment to learning and training. Start on the path of securing vendor certifications or security specific certs on your own to help you discover the type of work in cyber that really interests you. You’re going to have a lot of options and opportunity ahead of you!”

Tier-I Analysts are often expected to deal with various technologies and environments so when it comes to progressing in their careers, they have a much better idea of what they want to specialize in. This provides them with a really strong foundation for moving into a client-facing role, or honing their technical skills in a service-oriented technical role.

Internships can also provide a lot of hands-on training for students looking to enter the cybersecurity industry. At Herjavec Group, we are dedicated to developing cybersecurity talent within Canada by participating in Ontario’s TalentEdge Internship Program (TIP). This program allows post-secondary students and recent Masters graduates to work on research and development projects for some hands-on industry training. Read more about Herjavec Group’s involvement with the program here

To encourage more students to join the cybersecurity industry, Herjavec Group recently visited students at Fleming College to speak about the opportunities in the cyber industry, our global Security Operations Centers (SOCs), and what it means to work in a high-paced environment. 

Taylor Robinson, a Technical Services Lead at Herjavec Group and a Fleming College alumnus, spoke to the students about the role, responsibilities, and what it takes to succeed in such a fast-paced industry.  

“The majority of people start here as an analyst in the SOC,” he said. “It gives you the opportunity to gain practical experience while applying everything you learn in class. There are also a lot of opportunities available to you after the SOC to progress at Herjavec Group.” 

Taylor, who started at Herjavec Group as a co-op student finishing his last year at college, has been with the company for over 2 years and has progressed significantly in such a short period. In 6 months, he became a Shift Lead in the SOC and after one year at the company, he was promoted to a Technical Services Lead position. 

“Your future within the company is completely dependent on you,” he told the Fleming students. At Herjavec Group, we expect that as an employee progresses in their career, they want to be challenged and mentored. So what are some of these opportunities?

“There’s the Tier-II team – where you’ll do more investigation work; Security Engineering group – where you’ll hone a technology skill set; Advisory Services team – where you can specialize in vulnerability scanning, assessment services or web app testing for example; and Threat Management team – where you may work in red team operations, threat analysis or threat hunting.”

As for why Taylor picked the Technical Service team, he said he was drawn to the client-facing nature of the role. “I get to talk directly to our clients at our weekly touchpoints and build a relationship with them but still remain in a technical position. It’s the perfect combination for me.”

When one of the students asked Taylor for his advice on what it takes to succeed in cybersecurity, his tips were simple. “Stay up to date with security news. The more you know, the more immersed you’ll be in the field. Also, take advantage of free literature and training so you can start on your certifications. Lastly, be able to work in a team, especially when you’re in a SOC environment.” 

For those interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, it’s important to note that there are really three core skills necessary to be successful in cybersecurity: having attention to detail, being analytical, and having a constant desire to keep learning. 

If you are a driven individual, seeking a fast-paced, innovative firm to support your success; this industry is for you. Learn more about Herjavec Group career opportunities in sales, technology, marketing, and operations here.

About Herjavec Group

Dynamic entrepreneur Robert Herjavec founded Herjavec Group in 2003 to provide cybersecurity products and services to enterprise organizations. We have been recognized as one of the world’s most innovative cybersecurity operations leaders, and excel in complex, multi-technology environments. Our service expertise includes Advisory Services, Technology Architecture & Implementation, Identity Services, Managed Security Services, Threat Management and Incident Response. Herjavec Group has offices and Security Operations Centers across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

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