Which one: Web Development, Cyber Security, Digital Forensics, IT Consulting?
I've looked into these 4 fields/jobs, read about and watched videos on them and even took a course or two on some (basic intro level courses). They all seem very interesting. Currently I'm working in the web development field and I like it but also want to try the others as well. I think this is a great platform to ask, does anyone work in these fields? If so: why do you like the field, what made you chose it, whats the best part about it, and what advice do you have for someone wanting to get into this field/learn more (maybe how you started out)? The only ones I've had the most experience with is web dev and digital forensics since I am an IST major going into my last semester. technology computer-science stem digitalforensics cybersecurity consulting
The best thing about the IT world is that there are plenty of opportunities to work in different areas and move between them. As a web developer are you familiar with security best practices for designing web applications? Are you aware of things like denial of service attacks or SQL injection attacks that can impact your web application, and how to protect against them? These two areas complement each other really well and can help expose you to new concepts and opportunities for you to expand your skill set.
After you've decided what to specialize in you can continue expanding your sphere of influence and work to become a subject matter expert in your field. You know you're on the right path when people have a question about web application security and they say "go talk to Sam!".
After you're comfortable with your level of knowledge and experience you can look into IT consulting and even starting your own business if that's what you're interested in. Make sure to apply yourself early and take opportunities when they arise, even if you feel a little intimidated or out of your depth. Dont be afraid to try new things if you find one area doesnt interest you as much as you thought it would.
Try looking for some more education opportunities in your area such as part time courses, or even some unofficial sources like Khan Academy or YouTube training tutorials. There's a ton of good (and free!) information for all topics online, you just have to make the effort and do it.
You have picked 4 great fields that all have tremendous job opportunities. Cyber Security is one of the hottest markets because of the recent uptick in cyber attacks on companies. I see you already have experience with Web Development, so learning more about how to "harden" your code to protect against Cyber attacks would be great to learn. It will teach you, attack vectors hackers go after and how you protect against it. Learning these skills will allow you to apply them as a web developer or as someone consulting or working within a company advising developers ways to "harden" their code to protect against attacks.
Advice I was give everyone is to find something you are passionate about and focus on what it takes to make a career out of it. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide, but I'm sure whatever you do you will be great at it!
Best of luck!
I look at them this way (for what it is worth):
Web Development - good to know, but unless you really want to develop webpages all the time, probably a skill to have and use the knowledge of when you need it.
Cyber Security / Digital Forensics - These will only continue to grow and be more critical and highly valued as the world continues to digitize.
IT Consulting - This is a career that could allow you to do all of this. A lot of Cyber Security and Digital Forensics are done by IT Consultants.
Hope this helped.
As for me, I have been a generalist in IT for many years and worked in a variety of fields leading teams to deliver major programs. In the last few years, I have spent a lot of time working side by side with CyberSecurity teams since I have taken on Data Security and Data Governance roles. It along with digital forensics will be in high demand in the coming years. So, they are both great for job security (no pun intended). If you have an interest or passion in those areas, that would be a great place to start. If you want to lead or be a consultant in the future, you can stack on other capabilities and broaden your scope to handle more scenarios.
It's a great question and very relevant in today's era. I strongly believe that technology is changing so thick and fast that we are almost in the midst of another industrial revolution! I think most of the professionals are spot on with their answers, I'll just add some of my perspectives.
Computer science is a huge field and the professionals frequently switch areas through upskilling and cross-skilling.
I can talk about IT consulting as I have experience around it. This field is more about understanding the client's business and helping them out so that they can fulfil their business goals. A lot of time needs to be spent in the client premises to understand their business and advise them around IT strategies and solutions.
Web Development - (Assuming full stack here) - Full-stack web development is in great demand right now.
Cyber Security - Cybersecurity is more around dealing with preventive measures so that a cyber attack can be blocked. Key activities include:
> Designing robust systems to thwart any cyber attacks
> Identify network vulnerabilities and finding ways for mitigation
Digital Forensics - This is more around reactive measures after an attack has happened. Key activities involve:
> Conducting data and security breach investigations;
> Recovering and examining data from computers and electronic storage devices;
> Dismantling and rebuilding damaged systems to retrieve lost data;
> Identifying additional systems compromised by cyberattacks and compiling evidence for legal cases.
Now IT Consulting can be around any of these fields as well. Suppose, there is a client requirement to build a website that will need a secure payment gateway. So, as an IT consultant, you might advise the client on how this can be achieved. While the core web development will be done by a developer, but as a consultant, you are expected to outline and advise the client how things will best work given the business scenario. Also, to harden the cybersecurity part, you might rope in a Security architect who provides a possible solution architecture to mitigate the risks.
Now, say the same system gets sabotaged after hackers found a new vulnerability that they exploited, now it is important to carry out the investigation to check how much data breach has happened and take corrective measures. So, again a security architect will be brought in along with a digital forensics specialist, both of whom will work together to find out what happened and how it happened and take steps so that the system security can be hardened further. Apart from that from a legal standpoint, the digital forensics specialist may also collect traces and evidence to provide to law enforcement agencies to see if the attacker can be tracked down.
So, you see all parts are important and everything together fits in at the right places.
In the foreseeable future, all of it can be really vital, as with the technology boom, IT systems will need all of these professionals. But then, these do not work in silos. As a web developer, you would need to understand how a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack occurs. A consultant needs to understand which parts of an IT system could be vulnerable. It's okay not to be an expert in all areas, but the key is to be an expert on one at least and then have some breadth of knowledge so that you can talk to these other experts and may even suggest a thing or to, from your perspective.
In this digital age, it is easy to learn about any of these fields. Lots of opportunities exist for cross-skilling and even getting certified.
As far as career prospect is concerned, I believe this very strongly, if you are really good, you will shine, no matter which field you choose!
But, key being -
1. Don't be afraid to try a new area.
2. If you don't like it for whatever reason, don't stick around.
3. Find your niche and then increase your experience and expertise.
4. Can't stress this enough. Don't make money the primary motivation for choosing an area. You gotta love the work, that's the key, everything else will automatically fall in place and money will automatically flow.
Not sure, if I could answer your question. If you have any feedback, please let me know.
Let me start by saying there is no wrong choice here. There is only a choice that is best for you. I suspect you will get several who will suggest Cyber Security is the way to go because it is definitely a very hot field right now. I agree that would be a great choice. However, each of the four fields you've asked about presents tremendous opportunities for someone just starting their career. But each has it's own challenges, too. Digital forensics, for example, may lead you into a court room. Is that something you would like or something you would feel uncomfortable doing? Pre-pandemic, IT consulting often meant travel and extended periods of time away from home. Again, something you would enjoy or stress over?
So I have a suggestion and a reminder for you. My suggestion is to seek out people in those particular fields and ask them not just what they enjoy the most, but also what they like the least about their jobs. Ask them what is most rewarding, but also ask them what is the hardest part of their job. I think once you have comprehensive and well-rounded input to consider, something will likely move to the forefront for you, You should feel a passion to get started. But my reminder is to don't let yourself stress over your choice. This is your start, but it is just that. No one who is first starting out can predict the many twists and turns I promise you your career will take!
I wish you the best of luck,
VP, Software and Hardware Engineering