Are you interested in moving into the cybersecurity profession? Perhaps you want to help others to transition into a cyber role. With the current skills shortage and demand for cyber professionals, let’s help make it easy for those who want to change their career to cyber.
I transitioned into a cyber role, by forming a voice in the industry. Here’s what I did.
The ‘C to C’ in 20 years: Chartered Accountant to Cyber professional. I started my career as a tax accountant and, whilst I have had to upskill myself continuously to learn, grow and stay relevant, this has seen me transition into a myriad of roles including internal audit and risk, to compliance, governance and regulation, to strategy, third-party and innovation and then finally data, technology, cloud and cyber.
Reflecting on my journey of transition and changing career, several core themes emerged:
Why building your voice is so important?
The data tells us that social eminence or online presence is widely recognised as a top ten skill for all working professionals. The volume and level of interactions for business, social, community, entertainment and education has dramatically increased and shifted online.
Similar to the importance of ‘in-person’ networking, the digital equivalent, or ‘online presence’, is now essential. If both the industry and its professionals are now networking, connecting and sharing views online, should we also not be there?
I initially had no online presence. Through several steps I built up a voice online in cybersecurity. Over time it meant that I was getting known, people would reach out and connect with me and I would get invited to share my views and ideas at conferences and through writing articles. Combined with the continuous knowledge and skills building exercises I was undertaking, that same online voice helped me transition into the cybersecurity profession.
How to build your voice?
Step 1: Grow your network
Start by regularly connecting with other cybersecurity professionals at different levels.
By connecting with other cybersecurity professionals, you will gain awareness of upcoming jobs, networking events as well as making professional contacts in the industry. This is no different than the digital equivalent of attending a networking event and introducing yourself to people in the room. This then provides a way for you to build your brand and online relationships within the cyber community.
Step 2: Follow cybersecurity influencers
Continue by following cybersecurity influencers on social media.
By following cybersecurity influencers across the globe, I was starting to understand the trends, challenges and big topics of focus for the cybersecurity industry. Topics and trends give you knowledge about a sector, which in turn assists with carrying on conversations specific to that industry. This then paves the way for you to address challenges through a different lens based on your own background and experience, i.e. a different perspective.
Step 3: Contribute with your voice
Contribute your own thoughts and views on social media.
Now that you have become affiliated with the cyber community, it is time to get noticed. Contributing your views from a different perspective that are based on your prior experiences, will start to add value to the cybersecurity sector. The fresh perspective will be viewed as valuable in the sector and keeps you front of mind for future collaborations and opportunities. A simple way is to add your thought as a comment to others’ posts or write your viewpoint in an article.
Cyber is a profession that needs the perspectives, ideas and experiences of individuals from various fields of work. It can be an incredibly rewarding career path, especially if you are interested in contributing and protecting organisations, sectors and countries.
Start today. Connect with five cybersecurity professionals and follow five cybersecurity influencers on social media.
If you have any questions about taking the first step to transition your career into cybersecurity, feel free to reach out to the author by connecting on LinkedIn for tips and insights on what is going on in cyber.
By Anu Kukar, Associate Partner | Cybersecurity – Cloud, Strategy & Risk, Australia and New Zealand, IBM
Anu is passionate about lifelong learning and paving a way for professionals to switch to a career in cyber. She is an industry award winner, international keynote speaker and cybersecurity advisor to CxO and Boards with 20+ years of experience in consulting and industry.