The theme for this week of Cyber Security Awareness Month is “Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cyber Security”. As we all know, the world of information technology is ever expanding and there are no signs of it ever stopping. With continuous development in technology, comes a continuous need for more cyber security professionals. We are at a shortage of cyber security professionals. The field is currently sitting at a 0% unemployment rate! However, this means that there is not enough talent and professionals to meet the needs we have to secure our IT environment and cyber space. The problem stems from the lack of education and understanding about this field. We must fix this problem and help with raising the next generation of capable cyber security professionals. But the question is, how do we interest this next generation? Below are a few tips on what we can be doing to not only help us learn more about cyber security, but to also help spread the knowledge of cyber security and motivate the next wave of professionals.
1. Learn more about the field of cyber security. What is it and why is it so important?
By definition, cyber security is the protection of information technology systems entailing of hardware, software, and data, from cyberattacks. To put this in better perspective, think about our military: They are constantly training to be able to properly defend themselves and our country. Now, the virtual world could never compare to the sacrifice these honorable men and women accept on our behalf however, cyber security is becoming just as important to defend our nation. We are in the middle of virtual warfare; governments and companies are getting hacked, and sensitive information is being leaked. There are adversaries out there that are training to do nothing other than illegally infiltrate their target’s systems to wreak havoc. Not only is there concern of protecting sensitive data, but also a cyberattack could cause catastrophic disasters. Imagine if the power grid were to get compromised and shut down. People would lose their lives (e.g. people who are in hospitals or are living off support systems). Imagine if a nuclear powerplant were compromised and the adversaries were able to shut off safety features resulting in an explosion. Cyber security is drastically important to the safety and security of our country and more importantly our people!
So where do you go to learn more about cyber security and to stay on the up and up?
There are plenty of resources available and I will list a few below.
- www.cybersafenv.org is a great start for basic information about cyber security.
- https://www.sans.org/security-awareness-training/ouch-newsletter contains a plethora of cyber security awareness information that is suitable for beginners to advanced!
- Listen to Podcasts! There a ton of great podcasts here are some to name a few:
2. Engage in the different community groups and events that take place and revolve around cyber security
Believe it or not, there are a lot of different community groups and events that are dedicated to bringing people together to learn more about the field of cyber security. These are not only great ways to get to learn more, but they are great ways to really get involved in the community and meet tons of amazing people! Below are some awesome community groups that are local to Las Vegas.
- Information Systems Security Association Las Vegas (ISSA-LV)
- Infragard (an organization for the partnership between the FBI and the private sector) – Las Vegas Chapter
- Electronic Crime Task Force (ECTF) –( A organization for the partnership with Secret Service and the public) – Las Vegas Chapter
- Shad0w Synd1cate, a local cybersecurity meetup group
- Southern Nevada Cybersecurity Alliance (SNCA)
There are also different cyber security conferences that are held in Las Vegas every year! DEF CON and BSidesLV are just a couple to name a few.
3. Cyber security can be a very rewarding career, both from a mission and monetary standpoint
Like mentioned in tip 1, cyber security is an extremely important job. As someone in the field of cyber security, you are not only looked at as a techie but a defender. Your sole missions is to help protect and defend an organization from cyberattacks, whether it be a small mom and pop shop, a large organization, or the federal government! It can be a very rewarding position to be in and many people rely on you day in and day out to keep them protected. On top of that, cyber security is a very lucrative field to be in. Studies from 2018 indicate that the average salary for someone in the field of cyber security is $95,000 a year!
Take some time to reflect on the tips provided above. Let’s all do our part in trying to help spread the knowledge of cyber security and help prepare our next generation of cyber security professionals!