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How to make yourself marketable in career field you have no experience in

What would you recommend for someone who is attempting to make a complete career change into the IT/cyber space with no previous knowledge of it. I'm currently pursuing my BAS in cybersecurity but would like to take advantage of other opportunities to gain experience. I have two years left on my military contract and would like to make myself marketable to prepare when I separate.

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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Phillip,

To enhance your prospects in the IT and cybersecurity sector without previous experience, consider these actionable steps:

Education: Chase relevant qualifications and degrees to establish a robust foundation in IT and cybersecurity. As you're already pursuing a Bachelor’s of Applied Science (BAS) in Cybersecurity, it's advisable to continue this educational journey.

Certifications: Earn respected industry certifications that showcase your knowledge and dedication to acquiring new abilities. Notable certifications include CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Network Defense Architect (CNDA).

Networking: Engage with industry professionals via social media platforms, professional groups, and local gatherings. These connections can pave the way for potential job offers and provide valuable industry insights.

Internships and Part-time Jobs: Acquire practical experience through internships or part-time roles while still studying or during your military service. These opportunities can offer real-world applications of classroom concepts and enhance your resume.

Online Learning Platforms: Make use of free and paid online resources like Coursera, Udemy, and edX to broaden your knowledge and learn new skills at your convenience. Many of these courses provide certificates upon completion, which can boost your credibility.

Soft Skills: Cultivate crucial soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and time management. These skills are vital for success in any profession, including IT and cybersecurity.

Mentors and Role Models: Seek advice from seasoned professionals in the field. Their experiences and guidance can offer valuable insights and help you navigate the job market more effectively.

Stay Updated: Stay abreast of the latest trends, technologies, and regulations in IT and cybersecurity through industry publications, blogs, and podcasts. Keeping informed shows your commitment and enthusiasm to learn.

Prepare for Interviews: Study common interview questions and practice your responses to gain confidence for job interviews. Crafting strong responses will demonstrate to potential employers your dedication to preparing for a career in IT and cybersecurity.

Probability of answer being correct: 95%

May God bless you!
J
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Ryan’s Answer

Making a career change into the IT/cybersecurity field without previous knowledge can be challenging, but it's definitely possible. Here are some steps you can take to make yourself marketable and gain experience:

Pursue relevant certifications: Certifications can help validate your skills and knowledge in the IT/cybersecurity field. Look into certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), or Certified Information Security Manager (CISM). These certifications can enhance your resume and demonstrate your commitment to the field.

Gain practical experience through internships or projects: Look for internships or volunteer opportunities in IT or cybersecurity. These experiences can provide hands-on learning and help you build a network of professionals in the field. Additionally, consider working on personal projects or contributing to open-source projects to showcase your skills and initiative.

Network and attend industry events: Networking is crucial in any career transition. Attend industry conferences, seminars, and meetups to connect with professionals in the IT/cybersecurity field. Engage in conversations, ask questions, and seek mentorship opportunities. Building relationships can lead to job opportunities and valuable insights.

Leverage your military experience: Highlight the skills and experiences gained during your military service that are transferable to the IT/cybersecurity field. This could include skills such as problem-solving, attention to detail, teamwork, and leadership. Emphasize these qualities in your resume and interviews.

Stay updated and continue learning: The IT/cybersecurity field is constantly evolving, so it's important to stay updated on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. Engage in continuous learning through online courses, webinars, and industry publications. This will demonstrate your commitment to professional growth and make you more marketable.

Remember, making a career change takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and focus on building a strong foundation of knowledge and experience. By taking these steps, you can make yourself marketable and increase your chances of success in the IT/cybersecurity field.
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Ryan’s Answer

Hello Phillip!

Transitioning from one field to another, especially into cyber security, can be a challenging task. However, I can share some practical advice based on my own experience. Here are some strategies that proved beneficial for me:

1. Engage with TryHackMe: This platform can be a great starting point.
2. Obtain CompTia or other computer certifications: These can enhance your credibility.
3. Complete a cyber security degree: Formal education in the field can be a game changer.
4. Network within your current industry and the cyber security industry: Building connections can open doors.
5. Participate in Capture the Flag events and set up home labs: These can provide hands-on experience.

When I first attempted to transition from physical security to cyber security, I faced numerous obstacles. However, these steps, suggested by my mentor, significantly aided my journey. It's important to remember that even if you lack professional experience in the field, you can still gain valuable, relevant experience outside of work.

Setting up home labs is an excellent way to achieve this. They can also serve as interesting talking points during job interviews. You can easily create a home lab by downloading virtual machine software and some pre-configured machines to exploit. Make sure to highlight this experience during interviews.

If you're currently in the military and have access to contractors or others in the field of your interest, don't hesitate to reach out and start building relationships. Having connections in the field can give you a heads up about potential job opportunities and emerging market trends.
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Leila’s Answer

Hi Phillip,

Making a career change into the IT/cybersecurity space is achievable, especially with your dedication to pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in cybersecurity. Here's a roadmap to help you gain experience and make yourself marketable for the transition:

1. **Leverage Military Training**: Many skills and experiences gained in the military are directly applicable to the cybersecurity field, such as discipline, attention to detail, and understanding of security protocols. Identify how your military training aligns with cybersecurity concepts and highlight these skills in your resume and interviews.

2. **Maximize Education**: Since you're already pursuing a BAS in cybersecurity, make the most of your academic program. Engage with your professors, participate in extracurricular activities related to cybersecurity, and seek out internships or research opportunities. Additionally, consider supplementing your coursework with certifications (e.g., CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), etc.) to enhance your knowledge and credentials.

3. **Gain Practical Experience**: Look for opportunities to gain hands-on experience in cybersecurity. This could involve internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work with organizations or government agencies that focus on cybersecurity. Consider reaching out to local businesses or cybersecurity firms to inquire about internship or entry-level positions.

4. **Networking**: Attend cybersecurity conferences, workshops, and networking events to connect with professionals in the field. Join professional organizations like ISACA, (ISC)², or CompTIA, and participate in online forums and communities dedicated to cybersecurity. Networking can provide valuable insights, mentorship, and potential job leads.

5. **Build a Portfolio**: Create a portfolio showcasing your skills, projects, and achievements in cybersecurity. This could include academic projects, certifications, personal projects, or any relevant experience gained during your military service. A strong portfolio can help demonstrate your capabilities to potential employers.

6. **Stay Updated**: The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving, so it's crucial to stay updated on the latest trends, technologies, and threats. Follow industry news, blogs, podcasts, and participate in online courses or webinars to continue learning and expanding your knowledge base.

7. **Prepare for Transition**: As you approach the end of your military contract, start preparing for the transition into civilian life. Update your resume to highlight your cybersecurity skills and experiences, practice interview techniques, and research job opportunities in your desired location or industry sector.

By following these steps, you can enhance your marketability and position yourself for a successful transition into the IT/cybersecurity field. Remember to stay focused, proactive, and adaptable as you pursue your career goals.
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Dinesh’s Answer

Transitioning into the IT/cyberspace without previous knowledge can seem challenging, but it’s possible. Here are some steps you can take:

Do Your Homework: Familiarize yourself with the IT industry, its terminology, and potential career paths1. This will help you understand the industry better and identify areas that align with your skills and interests.
Gain Relevant Skills: IT skills come in two varieties: technical and general. Technical skills are specific to the IT world and include understanding operating systems, networking, and data security1. General skills, such as communication, organization, customer service, and problem-solving, are also important.
Education: Many IT jobs require at least an associate degree in information technology2. Some positions may require a bachelor’s degree in information technology or a related field. Consider getting a degree through traditional full-time classes or part-time options if you need to work while you’re in school.
Work on Personal Projects: Create opportunities to demonstrate your skills with projects on your own time. Choose a design that aligns with your career goals.
Certification Programs and Online Workshops: You can gain knowledge and skills to help you pursue a new career by completing certification programs and online workshops.
Forge Connections: Engage with professionals in your desired industry. This will not only grant you access to invaluable insights but also open the door to potential job opportunities.

Dinesh recommends the following next steps:

Certification Programs and Online Workshop
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Atul’s Answer

Your best bet is to finish your undergraduate degree and use your military background and clearance to apply at NSA, CIA, FBI, DHS, DNI or DEA agencies.
Review the job opportunities in these agencies and study or take courses that is relevant.
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Phil’s Answer

It is great you are preparing now for the next stage of your career. Completing your degree is the most important thing. You can also see if there are certifications you can work towards during the next two years. Sometimes these are best done when already working in that field, but considering your particular circumstances, there may be a certification you can obtain. I don't know based on your military service if you would be permitted to do any type of internship where you could work remotely part-time. That would probably be the best way to get real-world experience , which would be an advantage when you are searching and interviewing for a full-time position in the future. Best wishes for your success!
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