If you would like to get into cybersecurity after high school, one of your questions would be, “how do I get into this field?” Cybersecurity is among the most in-demand professionals in today’s tech-driven world. Although one of the most common ways to get into any career after high school is getting a 4-year degree, you don’t need a university education to start working in cybersecurity. You can gain the necessary skills like programming through other avenues, such as taking coding courses for young adults online. Read this article to know the various options you can take as your pathway to cybersecurity after high school.
Enroll in a Community College
Community colleges are among the best ways to get into cybersecurity after high school without having to spend so much money. It will take you only two years to get your degree in cybersecurity or computer science, and you can supplement your training with certifications and experience. Usually, community colleges have internships that allow you to put your academic knowledge to practice and gain experience.
By joining a community college, you can get a job much earlier and use it to pay for your 4-year degree. Also, most companies offer educational benefits which come in handy when paying your tuition fee. A community college also enables you to save money since you can live and work in your hometown. You also have friends and family nearby who can support you through your journey.
Take Advantage of Online Training Programs
Numerous online platforms offer training in computer science disciplines, including coding courses for young adults like Python programming. What’s more, you can get a certificate on completion. The good thing about these platforms is that you can learn at your convenience. You also have the freedom to choose specific skills you would like to master, be it networking, AI, and even introduction to cybersecurity.
Here are some of the online training platforms you should check out.
- Hacker High School
Platforms like Microsoft offer free courses, although you may have to pay a specific fee for a certificate upon completion. Whether you are just learning the basics or looking to specialize, online learning resources go a long way in equipping you with the skills you need to start a career in cybersecurity after high school.
Join the Military
Although it may not be the most obvious way to get into cybersecurity, joining the military is a valid option. Before joining the military, do your research on your chances of getting a role in information technology. You should then study and ensure you pass your aptitude exams to get access to more opportunities. The perks of joining the military include free training, experience, and certification while earning an income.
You can train to become a cyber network defender, cybersecurity analyst, or cybersecurity specialist, among others. If you don’t want to remain in the military for the rest of your career, you can choose to be in the reserves. Doing so enables you to practice in the private sector and still enjoy your military benefits. Note that you can use military benefits to enroll for a 4-year degree once you get out of service. You can also use them to pay for programs offering coding courses for young adults.
Whether you decide to get a degree or study independently, certifications are crucial for showing your competence and complementing your qualifications. Most employers require candidates with certifications for cybersecurity roles, even in positions where a degree is unnecessary. While there are many certifications you can get, some are more suitable for you than others, depending on your experience. For Example, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is ideal for you if you have at least five years of experience.
Immediately after high school, consider getting certifications ideal for beginners such as CompTIA Security+, CompTIA CySA+, and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). As you gain more experience in the field, you can proceed to get CISSP, Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), all of which require at least five years of experience to be eligible. It is not uncommon to find professionals with more than one certification, as it gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
Obtain Practical Work Experience
Relevant work experience will increase your chances of attaining your dream job in the cybersecurity field. Therefore, strive to get as much work experience as possible in your field of interest, be it system administration or penetrative testing. As a beginner, you can look for internships to help you apply your knowledge and solve real-world problems. Although most internships may be unpaid, they help you develop and perfect your technical and soft skills.
You can also volunteer your services in start-ups and put your education and skills to good use. The experience you gain will make your resume more impressive when applying for jobs. It is also a great way to network and create valuable relationships.
Despite the high demand for cybersecurity professionals, you need the right combination of education and experience to get your foot in the door. With the above options, you will be on the right track towards achieving your career goals.