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What are key skills to have when going into the cybersecurity industry?

Hello, I'm Brandon, and I'm a rising freshman from Atlanta, Georgia. I've researched a bit about cybersecurity and with the computer programming skills that I have now, I see cybersecurity as a promising career path for me; one thing I'm not sure of, though, is what soft skills are the most crucial to when working in that kind of field.

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Edmond’s Answer

Cybersecurity holds a lot of promise and although programming is used by and includes cybersecurity, that is just sliver of this field. I would therefore suggest that you first try to see which area of cybersecurity is a best fit for your talent and aptitude. You might like the hands-on technical deep-in-the-weeds of a pen-tester role, a Security Operations Center (SOC) analyst, or to work in cybersecurity governance, policy, privacy and law. You might prefer forensics or law enforcement. Software security is a world on its own with so many branches and disciplines.

Each of these would require its own set of soft skills, but I'll echo Malar's advice: solid communications, both verbal and written are key to your success. Being able to collaborate in teams is also key.

To figure out which field you like, start w/ https://niccs.cisa.gov/education-training/cybersecurity-students

Next explore in-person meetings of the local chapters of cybersecurity non-profits in your area. Most are free and/or free for students. That would give you an opportunity to meet professionals in the field and learn first hand about their individual fields. These are ISSA (issa.org), OWASP (owasp.org), ISC2 (isc2.org) and ISACA (isaca.org). Some also organize conferences that might let you attend at little or no cost. In my experience these communities are welcoming and everyone is eager to share what they know.

ACM (acm.org) and IEEE's Computer Society (computer.org) are also professional organizations that have strong presence in cybersecurity and will most likely have representation in your college. Check them out.
Thank you comment icon Thanks, can't wait to put this advice into action! Brandon
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Malar’s Answer

Hello Brandon, it's exciting to hear that you're considering a career in cybersecurity. This field is indeed full of potential, particularly with the rise of Cloud strategies and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It's fantastic that you're already honing your computer programming abilities. It's crucial to grasp the ins and outs of Cloud technologies, AI, and other cutting-edge technologies like BlockChain, along with their security implications.

Moreover, soft skills are integral to success in any career, including cybersecurity. Spending time to improve these skills is a wise move. Concentrate on enhancing your communication abilities, fostering collaboration, building teams, managing projects, and developing leadership skills. These are some of the key areas that will serve you well in your career. Best of luck on your journey!
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Atul’s Answer

Over the past ten years, the cybersecurity field has grown significantly. To position yourself for success, concentrate on well-established cybersecurity firms and identify the skills they are seeking.

To meet these requirements, consider pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or Engineering. This will provide a strong foundation and open doors to opportunities in numerous cybersecurity companies, including prestigious organizations like the NSA, DNI, or FBI.

It's crucial to become proficient in the necessary languages to pass their assessments, which typically last around three hours. This will increase your chances of securing an interview.

Remember, regardless of your GPA, most companies today require you to take these tests.

Lastly, Machine Learning has become a standard requirement in this field. Therefore, enrolling in relevant courses will give you an edge in this competitive industry.
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Jeff’s Answer

Hello Brandon,

You ask an excellent and very smart question. Many job seekers focus on the hard skills but I would say that the soft skills are equally important, not only to you but to your co-workers and your employer.

I think the most crucial soft skill to have is being trustworthy. In cybersecurity, you may be in a position of safeguarding valuable assets and you will want people to know that you can be trusted to be granted restricted access, to follow policy, not steal, not give away secrets, etc.

After that, I would say other important soft skills include:

- Ability to be professional: Be dependable. Treat people with respect. Remain calm if there is an "event". Do not cause drama and do not be lured into drama.
- Ability to communicate clearly: Have good written and oral communication skills. Use complete sentences, not chat lingo. Use proper spelling and grammar.
- Ability to work hard: Show extra value by doing more than the minimum required. Be available when needed. Volunteer to help.

I hope this helps!

Best,
Jeff
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Brandon
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