Best tips to start a cybersecurity career in Nigeria

Best tips to start a cybersecurity career in Nigeria. Want to start a career in cybersecurity? Here are some strategic tips to help you pave your way into this exciting and in-demand field.

Data protection is paramount to every industry and necessitates the demand for cybersecurity professionals. With the increasing rate of digitization, companies can rely on these experts for security, sustainability, and growth. To succeed in this niche, you must understand, at least, the complex operations of cybersecurity.

You’re in the right place if you’re intrigued by this career path but need help navigating its technicalities. We’re going to cover valuable tips for those looking to start a career in cybersecurity or switch careers.

1. Invest in Cybersecurity Education

The first step to kick-starting a career is to gather as much information as possible in that field. Hence, you should invest time and resources in learning IT network fundamentals. Although some employers may waive formal education, it is still relevant.

You can choose a full-time or part-time bachelor’s degree, depending on your preference. For example, a degree in computer science or a related field is a great option. This degree can take between three and six years to complete.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity operations. This option is beneficial, considering some employers prefer advanced-educated employees. Generally, it’s a preference that positions them for higher pay.

For convenience, massive open online courses (MOOC) platforms have foundational cybersecurity courses for beginners. They are also available for those who want to switch career paths. Thankfully, many of these best online courses to start a cybersecurity career are available at little or no cost.

2. Stay Current With Industry Knowledge

The tech industry is ever-evolving. New tools and software emerge to automate and simplify tasks, making others obsolete. Keeping up with these trends proves you know where the industry is heading. It also helps you take advantage of new opportunities.

Once you have identified a niche you’d like to specialize in, compare industry data over a set period. This comparison will help you to identify consistent results that you can use to map out your business strategies. Familiarizing yourself with these trends enables you to gain experience and identify growth opportunities.

Staying up-to-date with trends also indicates that you have value to offer. Employers regard valuable workers as assets and will not hesitate to put them at the forefront of significant projects. Thus, you should keep up with industry publications, events, and certifications to leverage this benefit.

3. Obtain Credible Cybersecurity Certifications

Digitization is dynamic. Hence, you must subject yourself to continuous learning and obtain certifications that could put you ahead in the industry. Also, with advanced certifications, you may find it easier to move into managerial roles.

In addition, you should go beyond a traditional degree and strive for expertise in a sub-niche. Investing in credible cybersecurity certifications is the best way to enjoy this relevance. Consequently, these certifications will evidence your knowledge and distinguish you from other employees. Some of the industry’s most sought-after cybersecurity certifications include:

There is also a wide range of vendor-specific certifications popular among employers that Cisco offers. The accreditation you opt for should depend on the niche you seek to specialize in and what your prospective employer or job role will require.

4. Network With Cybersecurity Professionals

It is a common saying that who you know can get you through the door. This phrase underscores the importance of networking in a professional setting, and cybersecurity is no exception. The primary networking field is usually schools and learning environments.

Hence, you should maintain and nurture connections with your college pals, teachers, and colleagues in the cybersecurity niche. Connections through internship and volunteering opportunities are as meaningful. These networks are not just relevant but also serve as additional ways of boosting your resume when you include them as references.

Attending cybersecurity events such as webinars or engaging with colleagues’ professional content on social media are unique ways to expand your network. Asking relevant questions and volunteering professional opinions also pave the way for conversations that build networks.

You can also build a professional network on LinkedIn. Utilizing these networking apps to establish an online presence is a proven way to network. You can attract like-minded professionals by sharing professional tips and experiences as content. These professionals can form your network base in the long run.

5. Gain Industry Experience

Putting your theoretical knowledge to practice will help you understand your cybersecurity career better. If you’re unsure what niche to specialize in, the best way to determine is to focus on gaining industry experience. This will help you to pick a preference.

Fieldwork will give you insight into what customers and clients expect of you. Once you adapt to these demands, you become in sync with market peculiarities. You will also be able to explore career options and increase your self-confidence.

You can intern or volunteer as a way to gain this experience. By becoming a field player, you will gain the advantage of real-life experiences to understand better what this sector encompasses. The connections you get during this experience can also contribute to your chain of networks and be helpful to you eventually.

6. Build on the Soft and Hard Skills Required in Cybersecurity

Aside from educational qualifications, soft and hard skills are indispensable for many employers. The demands for these skills vary depending on your employer or niche. Although you may possess some soft skills as natural traits, you must develop them and others through formal education and training. Some of these skills include:

  • Knowledge of programming languages and tools such as Python, Ruby, C++, and Java
  • Outstanding problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge of firewalls
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment under pressure

The best way to develop these essential skills to work in cybersecurity is by practicing over time. As a beginner, you may only have the luxury of landing your first role with industry experience. Hence, academic group tasks, boot camp hands-on experiences, and volunteer and internship roles are the best junctures to start curating these skills.

You can also leverage your networks and mentorship privileges to gauge your performance and get constructive feedback on areas of improvement. Taking programs and certifications that the cybersecurity industry recognizes also plays a vital role in building and attesting to these skills.

7. Specialize in a Field

The best way to gain mastery and become an industry expert is to specialize in a niche. You can begin by taking niche-specific courses or certifications to gain the relevant knowledge that will distinguish you from your colleagues.

The benefits of specialization are inexhaustible. Since your role is narrowly defined, you will become proficient in your tasks. This proficiency strengthens your earnings and job security, making you priceless in your sphere.

Niche specifications can also help to accelerate your career. The more knowledge you get in that field, the easier it is for you to move from entry to mid-level and senior-level roles. This acceleration will help you use your skills to make the most significant impact and attain your career goals.

8. Create a Portfolio and Resume That Highlight Your Experience

Hiring managers seek candidates with education, hands-on experience, and soft skills. Therefore, you must carefully tailor your portfolio and resume to reflect a combination of these categories. One of the essential highlights of your resume is your portfolio of IT-related accomplishments.

If you do not have vast industry experience, you can tailor your contributions from group tasks and internship activities to supplement this section. Once you have tailored these carefully, proofread everything twice for accuracy and grammatical errors. As someone desirous of working in such a sensitive field, you would want to make a great first impression. Overall, keep your resume simple and easy to read.

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