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How to Get Into Cybersecurity: A Practical Guide

Did you know that cybersecurity has been around since the 1970s? Starting a cybersecurity career path actually goes back decades.

23 years before the public launch of the World Wide Web, computer hacking existed in small forms on company networks, which eventually led to the inception of The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network: the first form of cybersecurity.

As the internet became a more accessible and evolved network, risks and exploits began to emerge that involved everything from email chains and phishing attempts to fake virus alerts.

With so many threats now on the internet that could creep their way into any unsuspecting person’s computer, cybersecurity had an even more important defense against hackers and scammers.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity has come a long way since the 1980s, but it has always held the same core purpose: to protect systems and data from cyber-attacks.

Both sides of cybersecurity – the viruses and trojans created, and the people/programs securing data – have undergone major changes over the past few decades.

Today, cybersecurity is the practice of securing networks, resources, and systems; defending computer networks (i.e. servers, mobile devices, electronics) against malicious attacks, unauthorized access, and security breaches.

Cybersecurity personnel use various tools to protect their company’s valuable data, including:

  • Antivirus software
  • Encryption
  • Penetration testing
  • Network security monitoring tools
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)
  • Packet sniffers

Being familiar with cybersecurity tools is an important step in beginning your career in cybersecurity.

Why is Cybersecurity Important?

Private data always needs to be secured, no matter the type of company. In some cases, it’s of even more importance: think financial institutions and e-commerce businesses with sensitive customer information.

With much of the world and our daily activities being online (and stored online), there’s a lot of important information that needs to be protected.

Cybersecurity is also about keeping important services online and available. Often, server threats and hacks cause systems to go offline, disrupting

Is Cybersecurity a Good Career Path?

With the ever-evolving sphere of cyberattack threats, a cybersecurity career path is a great choice. In fact, back in 2017, it was estimated that there would be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021.

Today? We’re on the same trajectory for 2025.

It is a highly sought-after skill and is in high demand with a major rise in attacks including:

  • Malware
  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Viruses

Now is a great time to begin your career in cybersecurity.

How to Get Into Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a huge field with many different career branches and job opportunities, making it one of the few fields you can break into without needing a 4-year post-secondary degree.

Not to mention that ransomware attacks occur every 11 seconds, making this sector more important than ever.

With that being said, here are some things to consider when looking to break into the industry, and where you may be able to start.

Determine your current education level

Suppose you’ve got a bachelor’s degree in computer security, information systems, mathematics, or something similar. In that case, you’re in an optimal position to dive head-first into the industry and climb into a management position more quickly.

However, a degree is certainly not required.

If you’ve decided to begin a career in cybersecurity, a coding bootcamp is a great option that will teach you the same fundamentals and skills in a shorter amount of time.

Coding Dojo offers short-term, intense bootcamps that will prepare you for breaking into a new career path, including cybersecurity.

Narrow down your interest

Cybersecurity is an expansive field that employs numerous different job titles. Here are a few ideas of job branches you might want to consider:

  • Analyst
    • Cyber Crime Analyst
    • Incident and Intrusion Analyst
    • Digital Forensic Analyst
  • Information Technology (IT)
    • IT Support Specialist
    • IT Security Specialist
    • IT Security Manager
  • Administrator
    • Systems Administrator
    • Security Administrator
    • Network Administrator
  • Engineer
    • Computer Software Engineer
    • Network Engineer
    • Security Engineer

These are only scratching the surface of the potential jobs you could land (or work towards) when you delve into a cybersecurity career.

Apply to entry-level jobs

If you don’t yet have experience in the cybersecurity space – on a professional level – or you have a degree, cybersecurity training, or other skills needed for the profession, begin by applying to entry-level jobs.

Below, you’ll find a list of great entry-level jobs that can kick off your cybersecurity career.

Top Entry-level Cybersecurity Jobs

The best entry-level jobs in cybersecurity are among the following:

  1. Network Administrator
  2. IT Support Specialist/Technician
  3. Computer Programmer
  4. Systems Administrator
  5. Security Specialist
  6. Penetration Tester (“Ethical Hacker”)
  7. IT Auditor
  8. Network Engineer

If you’re looking to begin your cybersecurity career, keep an eye out for one of these job titles.

Cybersecurity Career Path

There are plenty of opportunities to join a cybersecurity career, with many branches that can lead you to exciting roles such as Cybersecurity Manager, Engineer, or Architect.

Check out these five distinct career paths you can take.

Engineering and architecture

Security engineers build, screen, and test security software and systems used to protect computer systems and networks from data and security breaches.

Cybersecurity architects are in more of a senior-level role and are in charge of determining and designing an organization’s cyber security solutions. These two positions generally work closely together.

Incident response

The incident response team is made up of many parties including an executive-level individual, communicators, and legal representatives.

Security team members include a security analyst and a digital forensic analyst on the IT side. Security analysts are responsible for protecting a company’s network and servers through monitoring and security assessments, and forensic analysts assist in investigating these crimes and cybersecurity incidents.

Management and administration

Cybersecurity managers are responsible for overseeing the company’s network and computer systems, managing teams and ensuring security compliance is met within the organization.

A security administrator plays a crucial role in IT, creating safe digital environments for employees and ensuring systems stay online (and free from attacks) by implementing and monitoring security measures in the system.


Security consultants are hired by companies to perform tests on their network systems and computers to identify any vulnerabilities or security risks. They are advisors and help businesses and teams keep their information protected.

Testing and hacking

Penetration testers – also known as ‘ethical hackers’ – help secure and improve an organization’s security systems. They put their knowledge and skills to a real test by attempting to bypass a company’s security system to find any areas of weakness.

6 Must-know Cybersecurity Skills

Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field, meaning you need to keep up with new technology and processes, among other things.

There are some fundamental knowledge and skills you need before getting into a cybersecurity field, including. These are the top 6 you should have (which sometimes means learning or practicing).

  1. Programming languages (C, C++, Python, JavaScript, PHP, SQL)
  2. Strong problem-solving abilities
  3. Communication skills (written and verbal)
  4. Knowledge of networks, applications, and systems
  5. Understanding of hacking
  6. Ability to work independently

How Much Does Cybersecurity Pay?

A career in cybersecurity is a great option, not only because it’s a highly sought-after field, but it also pays quite well.

Entry-level positions generally begin around $71,000 per year, whereas senior roles can get as high as $180,000 and even over $200,000.

Cybersecurity Degree vs. Cybersecurity Bootcamp

A degree in cybersecurity, programming, or a similar program can certainly give you a leg up when it comes to certain positions or career growth, but it certainly is not required. A cybersecurity degree will take longer to obtain and may not teach you nuanced skills for specific cybersecurity branches.

With a cybersecurity bootcamp, you can gain focused education and skills that you will apply throughout the course. This will keep you on top of your learning and help you retain what you’ve learned.

Why Chose Coding Dojo’s Cybersecurity Bootcamp

Coding Dojo offers a part-time cybersecurity bootcamp that was designed to give you a competitive edge.

Not only will you receive a CompTIA Security+ certificate, which is the standard for bootcamps, but you’ll also go a step farther with a CySA+ certification. These in tandem will make you stand out when it comes to your search for entry-level jobs in cybersecurity.

Our hands-on program will work you hard and prepare you for a career in cybersecurity over 24 weeks. You’ll learn how to work with popular tools in a sandbox environment and gain valuable skills in real-world cybersecurity management practices.

Learn more and begin your cybersecurity career today.