Is It Possible to get into the cyber security specialist job role without a degree?
In short, yes! You can get into some job roles in the cyber security industry without any degree, whereas it needs some skills to get into it. So let’s discuss it in brief about it.
Can you get a job in cybersecurity without a degree? If you
- Have prior IT or military experience, or
- Have a security-related certification such as CompTIA Security+, and
- Are looking for an entry-level job, you can get a job in cybersecurity without a degree.
If one or more of these criteria do not apply to you, your options for finding a cybersecurity-related job may be severely limited.
Even with this possibility, keep in mind that a lack of a college degree does not bode well for your cybersecurity career options. So let’s look at what a cybersecurity degree can do for us and, more importantly, what cybersecurity employers think about candidates with and without college degrees.
Despite popular belief, it is possible to work in cybersecurity without a degree.
One primary reason for this is the scarcity of cybersecurity professionals in the industry.
On its top 10 list of Best Computer Jobs for the Future, ITCareerFinder ranks “IT security specialist” as the job with the most growth potential, with 32% growth and 35,500 jobs by 2028. “Year after year, IT executives report actively seeking professionals with information security skills but finding it difficult to find good talent,” according to the website. “This represents a fantastic opportunity for technology professionals to advance their cybersecurity skills and certifications.”
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics concurs, predicting that information security analyst jobs will increase by 31% by 2029, adding 40,900 jobs.
That is true not only for the future but also for today. There is a significant backlog in cybersecurity hiring. According to Cyberseek, an industry-led initiative examining the cybersecurity job market, there are over 500,000 cybersecurity job openings.
4 Reason how you can get into a cybersecurity specialist without a degree
Reason #1: The market is skewed in favor of employees
First, keep in mind that what an employer desire is not always what an employer receives. Because the cybersecurity job market is expanding so quickly, employers are having difficulty filling positions, forcing them to consider hiring candidates with less college or work experience and training them in-house. But, again, I’ve seen many instances where employers were willing or forced to do so.
Reason #2: Certifications can be used in place of a degree
Certifications are one of the many alternative qualification options available in cybersecurity. Because of certifications, you and I in the cybersecurity field aren’t stuck in a situation where we can only prove our knowledge with a degree. This fact has assisted thousands of technology professionals in establishing a career without the need for a college education.
Reason #3: College isn’t the only place where you can learn
There are numerous alternative learning options available to cybersecurity professionals. Returning to the medical school example, I believe the only legitimate way to learn medicine is through a university program. However, in the case of cybersecurity, this is not the case. Outside of a college setting, there are numerous learning opportunities in cybersecurity, including trade schools, technical schools, and online learning programs. O’Reilly’s Safari Books Online, Cybrary, Udemy, and Pluralsight are excellent examples of online programs. And, for the most part, these alternatives are less expensive and more convenient than college.
Reason #4: Many current cyber professionals and hiring managers lack a bachelor’s degree
When you enter the cybersecurity field, you may notice that many of the professionals, team leaders, and well-established managers do not have a degree themselves. This is more common in the tech field than in other professions because professionals who have been in the area for 15 or 20 years came into the field when degree programs in information technology or cybersecurity were scarce. I’ve seen many successful senior-level professionals, managers, and business owners who don’t have a cybersecurity degree or any degree.
Can I enroll in a college program if I haven’t attended school in a long time?
When you haven’t been in a classroom in a long time, returning to school can be intimidating and challenging. However, remember that you are not the only one in that situation. Colleges, particularly community colleges, offer transitional coursework that can bring you up to speed on academic skills you haven’t used in a while. In addition, these programs frequently have extensive transitional options to assist students returning to the classroom after a break.
So, how do you get a job in cybersecurity if you don’t have a degree?
To get a job in cybersecurity without a degree, follow these three steps.
While a degree is not required to begin a career in cybersecurity, relevant certifications such as CompTIA Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker will benefit. These demonstrate that you are interested in cybersecurity enough to have made the time and financial investment and that you have some basic knowledge.
Look for opportunities to demonstrate your expertise
I know what you’re thinking—how do you get a job when you have no experience? There are options. Participate in competitions, volunteer, and create your projects.
Prepare to begin from scratch
Even if you have certifications, accept that your first cybersecurity job will be entry-level, and you may be required to work nights or weekends. IT technicians, network engineers, information security analysts, junior penetration testers, and systems administrators are examples of entry-level positions.
Your cybersecurity career will be on its way once you’ve gained some experience, and you’ll be able to start looking for your next job in this lucrative field. Look no further than Springboard’s cybersecurity Bootcamp with a job guarantee if you need assistance with this process.
What are Alternatives to a Degree?
While it is possible to enter the cybersecurity field without a degree, don’t make the mistake of assuming that “no degree” means “no training.”
Numerous jobs in the field require certification, even if a degree is not required. For example, according to Exabeam, over 33% of cybersecurity professionals have the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation, according to researchers for Global Knowledge. Another 23.7 percent hold the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification, while 22.7 percent hold the CompTIA Security+ certification.
If you’re wondering how to get into cybersecurity without prior experience or a degree, there are two main educational paths: self-directed study and boot camps.
Studying by Yourself
If you are a highly motivated and self-directed learner, studying on your own can significantly improve your technical skills. In addition, there are numerous books, tutorials, and other resources available to help people learn cybersecurity skills.
Don’t know where to begin? We’ve got your back.
Darknet Diaries is an investigative podcast that tells real-life stories about hackers, malware, botnets, cryptography, cryptocurrency, cybercrime, and internet privacy.
Is it hackable? — This podcast investigates the vulnerabilities in our increasingly connected daily lives.
Udemy: Offers hundreds of courses in cybersecurity, technology, business, and other subjects. This is primarily a paid platform, but it frequently hosts sales.
Cybrary: Provides a variety of cybersecurity and technology-related courses and an extensive library of resources. Although this is a paid site, many of its features are available with a free account.
Before we proceed, we must emphasize one critical point: While it is theoretically possible to learn all of the skills required to succeed in cybersecurity on your own, doing so can be difficult.
The sheer quantity of available resources is a double-edged sword; while there are many options to choose from, some may be of lower quality than others.
Therefore, thoroughly investigate all of your options before settling on one!
Independent study also necessitates a high level of commitment and self-accountability; if you develop the habit of skipping study sessions or glossing over “assigned” material, your progress will be impeded.
Make a firm curriculum and find ways to hold yourself accountable to a learning schedule if you intend to go the self-guided route.
Boot Camp for Cybersecurity
Without a degree, studying independently is one way to get the industry background and technical skills you need to succeed in cybersecurity. It is, however, not the only route to a career in the field. If you prefer a more guided, organized approach to learning, a cybersecurity boot camp may be a better fit for you.
Boot camps are intensive programs designed to provide people with the practical skills to enter the job market quickly and effectively. They are excellent educational options, particularly those seeking a quick career change.
These intensive, skill-based programs are becoming increasingly popular.
According to a 2019 report from Career Karma, the coding boot camp market grew by 4.38 percent in 2019 alone, producing 33,959 graduates.
Furthermore, boot camps are valued not only for their ability to impart skills quickly but also for the guidance, structure, and flexibility they provide. Enrollees have the freedom to learn in a way that suits their schedule and learning preferences because most boot camp providers offer a variety of part-time, full-time, virtual, and in-person courses.
Participate in Communities
Building your network is one of the most important things you can do to advance your career in cybersecurity. Joining professional cybersecurity groups, attending conferences, and networking with others in the field can all help you reach your career.
“One of the most challenging things in InfoSec is that one needs to stay updated with different areas of technology and their threat landscapes,” Vandana Verma, a security architect for IBM India, told Security Boulevard. “Learning with many people in communities can make it a bit easier.”
“The turning point in my career came after I joined cybersecurity communities like null, OWASP, and infosec girls,” she explained. “[They] introduced me to domain experts and the broader security domain.”
Make it a point to network regularly. You never know who you’ll meet or where your new friendships will lead!
So, Do You Need a Cybersecurity Degree?
The short answer is no — you can get into cybersecurity without a degree, either through a convenient boot camp or a self-directed educational path. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so think about your learning preferences before deciding on the best way.
There are numerous lucrative positions available in the cybersecurity field, and the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is increasing. The real question is in an area brimming with opportunities: which training path will you take?
Take the first steps toward a cybersecurity education today to prepare for a positive career change.