Cybersecurity is necessary to protect data and information for most businesses, especially technical ones. The first stage is learning about cybersecurity, which makes it an exciting and professional career to pursue. However, anyone interested in the profession will inevitably ask, is cybersecurity hard to learn?
This article will teach you whether cybersecurity is hard to get into, the various learning paths you might take, and learning strategies to help you navigate this field.
The information provided below can help you to launch a promising career in cybersecurity and find employment, despite how hard it may be to study.
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What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity refers to the techniques for protecting electronic systems, networks, servers, smartphones, computers, webcams, and smart TVs against malicious attacks.
Malicious attacks aim to access, change, and delete sensitive data. Furthermore, they request money from users or interfere in regular corporate operations.
So, individuals and businesses use this strategy to prevent illicit access to computerized systems and data centers.
As technology improves, cybersecurity experts seek new ways to protect online assets from attacks using penetration testing or software development.
How Long Does it Take To Learn Cybersecurity?
Learning and understanding cybersecurity concepts will take a year or two. Unlike programming fields, cybersecurity needs more time and can’t be wholly understood within three months.
Meanwhile, the time frame is also influenced by your preferred educational path and whether or not you have technical knowledge.
Going to college will require four to five years to earn a bachelor’s degree and two years more to earn a master’s degree. But attending a cybersecurity coding boot camp will take six months to one year to finish.
And if you go through the self-taught path, it will require at least two years to comprehend it to land a cybersecurity job fully. Meanwhile, acquiring a Ph.D. in cybersecurity will require three to five years.
But besides formal education, you can learn cybersecurity through an online course. And the duration depends on the topics you cover. In addition, you can work with a mentor to develop your soft skills.
Is Cybersecurity Hard To Learn?
Cybersecurity is not hard to learn or get into. However, some concepts may be challenging—aspects that require technical knowledge or cryptography.
Overall, cybersecurity is among the few tech careers that don’t need a solid technical background. However, the industry values the following skills:
- Attention to details
- Strong passion and desire to learn
- Critical thinking abilities
Meanwhile, in cybersecurity, soft skills are as essential as technical skills. Thus, you need both of them to thrive. Compared to any career, cybersecurity requires much time, commitment, and experience to succeed in the field.
What Makes Cybersecurity Hard To Learn?
Although cybersecurity is not hard to learn/get into, other aspects of this field make it challenging to learn. However, you can master it with the required time and effort.
Furthermore, it doesn’t require complex math and is easier to understand than most subjects. So, you can become a cybersecurity expert if you possess technological expertise, problem-solving skills, and other abilities.
Ultimately, maintaining continuity is the most challenging part of cybersecurity because, irrespective of your experience level, you must continue studying and remaining up-to-date with industry developments to stay relevant and competitive.
But if you’re passionate about this career path and enjoy taking on new challenges, learning and practicing cybersecurity will be a flex for you.
Meanwhile, the following are other factors that influence how hard it is to get into cybersecurity:
Technology continually evolves
One aspect that makes cybersecurity hard to get into is that technology constantly evolves. Therefore, you must stay updated with developments and trends in the tech industry.
Various tools are required
Another thing that makes cybersecurity hard to learn/get into is that it requires you to master various software, techniques, and tools to do your job successfully. Since cybersecurity covers a broad spectrum, you must constantly upgrade your skills and master new tools’ usage.
Malicious threats can come from anywhere
As cybersecurity experts develop new software and techniques to secure information, new cyber attacks are rolling out. Therefore, all cybersecurity experts must stay abreast of the latest hacking trends and other new vulnerabilities that may arise in the systems they’re protecting.
Tips To Become a Successful Cybersecurity Expert
Fortunately, there are many opportunities for you to develop and build a foundation in the cybersecurity field, even if you’re just getting started. There are several certifications that you can earn without a degree in cybersecurity, even though the majority of employers do require a cybersecurity degree.
According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 32% of cybersecurity experts do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Meanwhile, here are some tips to help you develop the expertise you’ll need to thrive in the cybersecurity field.
1. Obtain a degree in cybersecurity
The best way to begin learning cyber security and all its subtleties is by enrolling in college courses. You can take excellent introductory cyber security classes in degree programs like computer engineering, information technology, or computer science to become familiar with many fundamental concepts.
Also, you’ll be placed in a situation that will let you determine whether cybersecurity is a good fit for your professional interests and goals. Furthermore, the rapidly expanding need for the skill set has increased the number of universities offering degrees in information security or cyber security.
If you narrow down your skills and interests, you’ll better understand the particular cybersecurity specialty or expertise you want to work in.
2. Get Certified
Whether or not you have a degree, cyber security certifications will make you appear qualified to potential employers. So, you can take courses online or register for coding boot camps that will help boost your career.
But many people would instead take the technical route since it enables them to learn about marketable job skills thoroughly. Again, it allows newbies to grab essential technical and soft skills that yield an immediate job opportunity.
Most times, the technical route is faster than acquiring a college degree.
3. Stay abreast of the latest technology
Becoming a cyber security professional doesn’t end with obtaining a certification or degree. New cyber security tools are built daily, and new types of malware are flooding the internet. Hence, you should stay updated so you don’t lag.
Meanwhile, here are essential technologies and concepts you should know:
- Coding and computer programming
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning
- Encryption technology
- Cloud-based systems
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Whether it involves doing personal research, keeping up with experts, or attending seminars, staying abreast of the latest technology keeps you at the top in your field.
Other things you can do to stay relevant are:
- Work for organizations that invest in continuous training.
- Frequently check vulnerability feed sites.
- Subscribe to cyber security news alerts and newsletters.
- Follow cyber security experts on social media.
- Attend one-on-one live events.
4. Join a cybersecurity community
Joining a cyber security community is an excellent way to kickstart your professional journey or network with others in the field. Thus, you can connect with experts and learn new skills, seek job opportunities, or get a mentor.
Furthermore, you can join platforms like LinkedIn or Reddit with large online communities, which can keep you updated with cyber security news and enable you to engage in conversations with other people.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cyber security is easier than coding because you don’t need many complex technical skills to begin your career. However, coding requires technical skills.
Entry-level cyber security jobs don’t usually require strong math skills. But as you advance and the work gets more complex, you must get more comfortable using specific math-based disciplines.
Although both jobs are lucrative and have a promising forecast in demand, the cyber security role offers better chances of employment, unlike the software development role.
Cybersecurity is not hard to learn. However, the aspects that require cryptography and technical knowledge may be hard to understand.
Generally, learning cyber security doesn’t require much technical knowledge. But you must possess soft skills to succeed in this path.