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6 pieces of advice for a happy cybersecurity career

by Kevin Bellah

Let’s say you have completed a prestigious cybersecurity course (the CEH course for example) and have started working at a renowned Information Technology behemoth as a white hat hacker. It has been three years since your first day but you have been feeling quite stuck with your professional progress and you feel like you’re not growing as much as your peers. What could be the reason? Well, turns out, there could be a lot of them! Many of us forget to follow some basic career advice at the beginning of our career because everything is new and exciting and we forget to pay attention to the gems of wisdom we get from our seniors. Here are some of those lost and valuable pieces of advice that you can still apply in your professional life as a cybersecurity expert and shed away that dust that has settled due to not paying enough attention to your growth. Remember these wisdom nuggets are as useful in your daily work as they are in polishing your overall career.

  1. Organise your life: Organising your professional life is the key to discipline and productivity. As a cybersecurity professional, you can have a lot on your plate, and new and exigent tasks can come anytime without knocking, demanding your urgent attention. Make sure you have a routine and schedule that you follow strictly and that helps you adhere to your timelines to avoid any backlog.
  1. Avoid burnout: Burnout is not a pretty sight. Cyber security is a job that requires you to stay updated and alert most of the time which can be pretty overwhelming and nerve-racking for a lot of people. To avoid burnout, look out for symptoms like excessive stress and fatigue due to work. Remember that a refreshed state of mind is the source of productivity and sharpness and vice versa.
  1. Upgrade yourself: Cybersecurity professionals need to upgrade their skills from time to time. If you are a network security specialist, then you can enroll for an ethical hacking training course and expand your skill set. The more you learn, the higher you will go in your professional life. It’s not just enough to stay updated with the industry news, you also require to add more feathers to your cap to have a successful and progressing career in the long run.
  1. Network: Networking should never be taken lightly. The more you connect with people, the more doors you open for yourself. Whether it is attending industry and community events or joining social media groups, staying in touch with people in your field will go a long way in building your career. Taking part in hackathons and such events is also a great way to network with like-minded people.
  1. Sharpen your skills: Don’t let your skills become stale and rusted with time. Cybersecurity is a field that quickly changes and demands you to hone your skills. As a cybersecurity professional, you are up against world class hackers who hardly rest. So, keep practicing your craft and sharpen your weapons with the latest tools, techniques and tricks of the trade.
  1. Have a T-shaped profile: Knowing everything is good but specializing in something is better. Having a T shaped professional profile means that you know a range of subjects about your field (the hat of the letter T), but you have deep, detailed knowledge about a particular subject (the leg of the letter T). So, go ahead and pick a specialization like web application penetration testing or ransomware incident handling. Trust us, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

That’s all for now. Make sure you revisit this page 1 year from now to reflect and evaluate how much you have progressed and how much you still have left to improve.

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