10 Key Cybersecurity Skills You Need to Land a Cybersecurity Job

If you’re eager to take up a cybersecurity job, but don't have the right skills, consider acquiring these cybersecurity skills that would make your resume stand out and help you bag some of the highly paid jobs.

Cybersecurity Skills You Need to Land a Cybersecurity Job

Cybersecurity is a fast-growing field that involves protecting computer systems and devices from threats and malicious actors. It can encompass all industries, ranging from government and banking to utilities and retail. According to the ISC Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the number of cybersecurity professionals needs to grow by 62% to match the skills shortage. With over 3 million unfilled positions and talent gaps in employees prevalent across the country, it is certainly the right time to get your foot in the door.

Here are 10 of the top skills to master to land a top cybersecurity job.

Technical Skills Required for Cybersecurity Jobs

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1. Application Development Security 

Application Development Security involves finding vulnerabilities in an application, often through Application Security Testing (AST). A few approaches include Static Application Security Testing (investigating the source code for potential problems), Dynamic Application Security Testing (finding issues with a running system without prior code knowledge), and Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST), which is a mix of dynamic and static approaches.

2. Firewall administration 

According to Cisco, “a firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a defined set of security rules.” Depending on the company’s technology, you should have a good understanding of how to create and maneuver both software and hardware firewalls. 

3. Software skills

There are many different software packages critical to the day-to-day of a cybersecurity professional, such as penetration testing software (Wireshark, Netspark, Acunetix), anti-virus software (Malwarebytes, ESET endpoint security, and Webroot endpoint protection), and security event and information management (SEIM) tools (Solarwinds, Splunk, and IBM QRadar). Along with particular software packages, cybersecurity professionals should have general knowledge of cloud deployments and how to work on public cloud platforms (Amazon, Azure, Google) and private cloud architecture.   

4. Coding skills

Coding requirements vary depending on the job description, but it never hurts to learn new languages. Some of the most useful according to Hackernoon are C and C++, Python, JavaScript, PHP, and SQL. You can gain an intro to many of these skills through Springboard’s engineering coursework. Reverse engineering is another crucial part of cybersecurity and you should to be able to take code apart for robust analysis. 

5. Risk analysis

Before applying for your first job, you should have a solid understanding of risk mitigation and different types of cyber attacks, like malware, data breaches, ransomware, and phishing. When conducting an assessment, you will want to answer questions regarding the magnitude of the threat, the vulnerability of the system, and the financial or reputational damage at stake to come up with a mitigation and response plan. 

6. Audit and compliance

With more regulations today (HIPAA, FISMA, SOX, PCI DSS, GDPR, ISO 27001 and 20000, and COBIT are a few examples), organizations need to make sure their security strategy adheres to local, federal, and international guidelines to avoid costly penalties. 

Soft Skills Required for Cybersecurity Jobs

Cybersecurity Soft Skills

1. Communication skills

Learn how to “talk the talk.” You will often need to present your findings to colleagues, managers, and customers and layout a cybersecurity strategy clearly and concisely. Through cybersecurity briefings and trainings, you may also be responsible for detailing the action items that employees need to take in order to protect their data and secure passwords and logins. 

2. Problem solving

Cybersecurity professionals are the ultimate problem solvers, whether finding bugs, decoding ciphers or preventing attacks. If you enjoy coming up with creative solutions to technical challenges, you will probably enjoy roles such as that of a penetration tester or a crime investigator

3. Attention to detail

Since hackers are very savvy at finding pathways into an organization, cybersecurity professionals need to thoroughly scan for vulnerabilities and escalate critical risks. It pays to have a perfectionistic eye! 

4. Adaptability

Flexibility is key when it comes to cybersecurity, particularly given the number of emergent attacks and advances in technology, like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, cryptocurrency. and 5G networks, which change the nature of exploits. Cybersecurity workers should genuinely love learning about new trends and upskilling to broaden their toolkit.

4 Ways To Acquire Top Cybersecurity Skills

Cybersecurity Skills

There are many ways to gain expertise in this growing career field.

1. Formal degree program

Usually, cybersecurity employers look for a bachelor’s degree in a relevant topic, but some may be interested in candidates with less formal credentials, while others may request master’s level qualifications. 

According to College Consensus, the best degrees for cybersecurity include:

  • Computer Science
  • Computer Programming
  • Database Management
  • Computer Hardware Engineering
  • Network Administration
  • Cloud Computing
  • Information Technology Management
  • Information Security & Assurance
  • Computer Forensics
  • Machine Learning  

2. Certifications

96% of IT leaders saw the value in cybersecurity certifications, which require you to master core concepts and take an exam to prove your competence. You should browse potential openings to understand the exact qualifications at companies of interest. 

These certifications are rated as top credentials for beginners:

For those still unsure about how to best use their time and resources, this New Horizons article provides an overview of which certifications are most useful for different career paths and next steps for earning them. 

3. Books/self-study

You can definitely self-teach yourself cybersecurity, especially if you are coming from a related field. Security Made Simple also recommends these YouTube tutorials: Hackersploit, zSecurity, and IppSec.

For hackers learning technical skills, Leetcode, Linux Academy, Codewars, and Topcoder can also provide free hands-on experience, while recommended books like “The Art of Invisibility” and “Hacking: The Art of Exploitation” can supply both real-life examples of hacking and tips/strategies from infamous hackers.

Networking is also important to landing your dream cybersecurity job. You can connect with groups like the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), as well as social media communities, to ask for intros and referrals to companies.

4. Bootcamps and online courses

Bootcamps allow you to pick up new skills quickly and learn through hands-on exercises with a dedicated cohort and instructor. Some cybersecurity bootcamps may ask for an IT background or a foundation in mathematics, while others accept people with little to no prior experience. Bootcamps vary in length (part-time versus full-time), tuition cost, level of career support, and location (online versus in-person).

Springboard offers a Cyber Security bootcamp that comes with a job guarantee within 6 months, career coaching, mentorship, and the CompTIA Security+ certification. The CompTIA Security+ certification provides an overview of core skills, including threats and attacks; identity and access management; risk management; application development and architecture; and cryptography. 

Through real-world projects, Springboard learners gain skills in cybersecurity fundamentals (Threat Actor Types and Attributes (hackers, DarkNet, social engineering, etc., three-legged stools, and malware), identity and access management, and security assessment (how to build Information Security audit plans).

Massive open online course (MooC) platforms like Coursera, Udacity, edX, and Udemy also offer standalone courses, often for free from renowned professors, that can close skill gaps prior to the job interview.

Cybersecurity Job Outlook

Cybersecurity knowledge lends itself to many different career paths (link to Springboard article on entry-level career paths), with high earning potential (link to Springboard article on salaries). The most in-demand job titles today include Information Security Analyst, IT Security Specialist, Network Security Engineer, and Application Security Engineer, and salaries average $116,000, across the industry. 

Astonishingly, during a global pandemic, cybersecurity hit a 0% unemployment rate, which means you can likely receive interviews and offers in a matter of months.

Dive into this impactful career path at Springboard and discover how cybersecurity fundamentals can change the world for the better.

Is cybersecurity the right career for you?

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the cybersecurity industry is expected to have 3.5 million high-paying, unfilled jobs this year. With Springboard’s comprehensive Cyber Security Career Track, you’ll work 1:1 with an industry mentor to learn key aspects of information technology, security software, security auditing, and finding and fixing malicious code. Learning units include subject-expert approved resources, application-based mini-projects, hands-on labs, and career-search-related coursework.

The course will culminate in a multi-part capstone project that you can highlight on your resume for prospective employers or use to demonstrate your technical knowledge in your job interview. The learning materials will also help prepare you to pass the globally recognized CompTIA Security+  certification so you stand out when applying for cybersecurity roles.

Learn more about Springboard’s Cyber Security Career Track here.

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