Early in your career, you may not have a lot to speak to in the way of work experience, so you need to play up to your education strengths. Any courses, internships, volunteer work, self-study, etc. that can address the job requirement only helps. My first IT job, I had absolutely no formal IT training beyond some programming classes in college (but this was not a programming job and I didn't have a technology degree), but it had a customer service aspect to it which I could talk about at length having worked in retail and the food industry. After you get your foot in the door, you need to be willing to learn whatever you can. At that first job, I learned about IT security, learned to write my own scripts, and surrounded myself with people that were passionate about the security field in general. I made it clear to everyone around me that I wanted to learn and I had a team that was willing to teach. This got me to eventually transfer out of my initial role into the network security team. From there it was three things - continual education, the willingness to pick up new technologies / concepts, and networking with people in the industry. Every job after, it was building on a skill that I had learned at previous jobs and packing my resume with certifications and education experience to show that I was continually growing professionally. I could not have gotten to where I have, however, without having made connections along the way. Find those teachers or educators or just enthusiastic people and learn from them.
Ken recommends the following next steps:
- Figure out what you're passionate about. A job is a job. A career you love is something different altogether.
- Look for opportunities to speak to or hear from people in that field. Pod casts, webinars, or even local events are a good place to start.
- Join a club or a social group for your interests. Networking plays a huge role in career development.