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How to Become a Cyber Security Engineer

With an increase in cyber attacks and security threats, cyber security engineers are more important than ever. Every industry from tech to finance to education needs its data and private information to be safe and secure. If you want to be part of this exciting career path, then you should learn how to become a cyber security engineer.

Various resources are available to enthusiasts looking to break into cyber security, such as courses, coding bootcamps, books, and training programs. If you are a newcomer or a career switcher, this guide will help you understand how to get into cyber security.

As a cyber security engineer, you will master advanced technical skills to learn how to protect against cyber attacks and keep private information safe for individuals, governments, and corporations. Furthermore, to excel in your job, you will also need to learn soft skills

This guide has everything you need to help you enter the job market for this fast-growing tech career. We cover everything from cyber security degrees to common cyber security engineer questions. So, read on if you want to know how to start a career in cyber security.

What Is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is the protection of systems and networks from theft or damage to their hardware, software, or data. It also aims to stop the disruption or misdirection of the services rendered by these systems.

Among tech jobs, the demand for cyber security engineers is incredibly high. It offers high salaries, positive career prospects, and high problem-solving skills. However, learning how to become a Cyber Security engineer can be difficult, especially if you have no experience.

What Is a Cyber Security Engineer?

A cyber security engineer is responsible for protecting data and systems against unauthorized use by external parties. Cyber security engineers create policies and programs to prevent security breaches and protect an organization's data. Furthermore, what cyber security engineering is used for depends on what industry you work in.

What Does a Cyber Security Engineer Do?

A cyber security engineer focuses on protecting networks, websites, databases, and other technological systems against attack. A cyber security engineer’s responsibilities vary between organizations. If you want to know what a cyber security engineer does, here are a few of the everyday tasks you can expect to have as a cyber security engineer:

  • Keep up-to-date with the latest technology developments and security systems

  • Identify potential weaknesses in a system and create policies to resolve them

  • Advise staff on how to stay safe when using company computers

  • Evaluate new security policies

  • Monitor a company for attacks and report on any problems

A cyber security engineer does more than just monitor attacks. They also create programs to fix vulnerabilities and work with others to ensure that the systems are safe from attacks. Such attacks can cause damages that are costly and time-consuming to repair. Cyber security engineers are on the front line in protecting our data.

Cyber Security Engineer Skills

Professional cyber security engineers must be trained in up-to-date and in-demand practices. These vital technical skills include programming languages, development processes, and other important concepts. Here are a few of the key cyber security skills you’ll need if you want to know how to get into cyber security.

Cyber Security Engineer Hard Skills

  • Malware analysis. While there are various cyber security required skills, protecting a system against malware is one of the most important parts of being a cyber security engineer. Cyber security engineers must stay up-to-date with the latest malware threats, and understand how they can protect against those threats.

  • Continuity planning. A cyber security engineer must create plans to ensure an organization can continue operations if there is ever an attack. This may include creating backup storage policies and recovery policies if data becomes corrupted.

  • Programming languages: Bash, C, C++, Python. As a cyber security engineer, you’ll need to have an active knowledge of at least one programming language. The most common programming languages you’ll encounter are Bash, C, C++, and Python, which are often used in cyber security tools. Most businesses state upfront that they use certain programming languages which you’ll be expected to know. That said, having knowledge of additional programming languages such as PHP, Java, and Ruby on Rails may be helpful. These particular cyber security required skills are best learned at top coding bootcamps.

  • Risk analysis. A big part of being a cyber security engineer is identifying risks before they become a threat to an organization. You’ll need to be able to find and track risks that may present a threat to an organization. You'll also need to ensure your systems are protected against certain risks. Likewise, you’ll conduct audits of existing systems to ensure you have done everything to mitigate the risk of an attack on your network.

  • Cloud security. Demand for cloud security skills is high in cyber security roles. This is because many companies use cloud technologies for everything from data storage to application deployment. You’ll need to be familiar with the basics of the cloud and have some knowledge on how to prevent common cloud attacks. 

Cyber Security Engineer Soft Skills

  • Problem Solving. Cyber security is all about finding threats and preventing them. Being able to effectively and efficiently problem solve is a vital part of the job. As your experience grows, you will be able to identify threats quicker and come up with multiple solutions to problems.  

  • Team Work. As a cyber security engineer, you will often work as part of a team. Being a strong team player will allow you to identify and nullify cyber threats easier. Cyber security required skills like this can be learned on the job by engaging in collaborative projects during training. 

  • Communication. Cyber security is an extremely technical job. However, you may be dealing with colleagues or clients who lack the same technical understanding or training you have. Being able to communicate issues clearly and in a simple way will help you advance your career. 

Types of Cyber Security Careers

There are various cyber security careers available to job seekers. If you want to know how to become a cyber security engineer and choose the right cyber security career path, you must be aware of cyber security career outlooks. 

Cyber security can be divided into five broad categories. Different tools are available to cyber security experts according to their specialization. Continue reading for information on how to start a career in cyber security.

Critical Infrastructure Security

Much of today’s essential infrastructure is connected to the Internet, which makes it vulnerable to cyberattacks. It is imperative to guarantee the safety of the electricity grid, water purification systems, traffic lights, shopping centers, and hospitals.

Application Security

The focus here is on the cyber security software and hardware needed to tackle cyber threats during the development stage of an application. Antivirus programs, firewalls, and encryption programs fall into this category.

Cloud Security

The cloud is gaining prominence in our lives. As a result, the need to protect the data in cloud resources has drastically increased. Cloud providers are constantly updating their tools to ensure user data is safe. Cyber security career outlook is projected at 33 percent over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is especially prominent in the cloud security sector.

Network Security

Network security deals with unauthorized intrusions in internal networks. The goal is to guarantee the integrity of the network by protecting the infrastructure and preventing security issues from occurring. Common examples include intrusion detection, new passwords, penetration testing, and antivirus programs.

Internet of Things Security

The interconnectedness of today’s world has brought a myriad of problems and new cyber threats. With a growing number of devices connected to the Internet, opportunities to carry out cyber attacks with malicious intent have multiplied.

Chief Information Security

Security engineers that show exceptional skills in leadership may take on cyber security engineer roles such as this. A chief information security position is a high-level cyber security engineer role where someone works with experienced cyber security engineers to neutralize new and persistent threats. This cyber security career path typically requires a higher degree, such as a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security.

Required Education for Cyber Security Engineers

There are many options when it comes to cyber security engineer education. Your options will be limited by your financial situation and location. Furthermore, cyber security education requirements may play a factor. Here are the most common cyber security education options:

  1. Attend a cyber security engineering coding bootcamp

  2. Pursue a cyber security degree at a traditional university

  3. Learn cyber security engineering on your own through self-study

Each cyber security education path has its own benefits. The most common path is to pursue a computer science degree, because many employers look for computer science degrees when hiring cyber security engineers.

However, more short-term, intensive coding bootcamps and training programs have become more popular in recent years. Bootcamps can help you become a cyber security engineer in six months to a year. 

You can learn all the practical cyber security engineering skills you need at a lower cost than at a traditional university. Bootcamps typically have fewer cyber security education requirements, with most simply requiring a high school diploma.  

Cyber Security Bootcamps

A cyber security bootcamp is a short-term, intensive training program that teaches students in-demand and up-to-date technical skills. Bootcamps use hands-on training to help students gain real-world experience and ensure they are job-ready.   

Cyber security bootcamps also offer students extensive career services, such as mock interviews, career coaching, networking opportunities, job fairs, technical portfolio building, and career partners. This means students will not only be experts in the technical elements of cyber security, but they will have the soft skills and confidence required to land lucrative cyber security jobs.

Top Cyber Security Bootcamps

  • Simplilearn. Simplilearn has multiple cyber security bootcamp programs, but the Introduction to Cyber Security program is ideal for beginners and career switchers. This program operates on a self-learning platform and gives students lifetime access to the curricula. This program teaches the fundamentals of cyber security at a low cost and is an ideal way for newcomers to test the waters and see if cyber security is for them. Upon completion, graduates will receive cyber security certification.  

  • Flatiron School. Flatiron School’s cyber security bootcamp program offers students a lot of flexibility. The course is offered both full-time and part-time, as well as on-campus or online. The curriculum is reviewed by industry experts to ensure it meets in-demand standards. Students will also have professional career assistance, such as one-on-one career coaching for 180 days and access to an employer network. The curriculum covers a wide variety of subjects such as network security, Python, threat detection, and application security.

  • Springboard. The Springboard cyber security bootcamp covers various topics such as cyber security fundamentals, IT project management, network security, and application security. The program is offered part-time and takes six months to complete. Students will graduate with the CompTIA Security+ certification, which is ideal for specialized career paths in the cyber security industry. Students will have access to personalized mentoring and career coaching. Furthermore, if you don’t find employment within six months of graduation, Springboard will refund your tuition.

  • Clarusway. Clarusway’s part-time Cyber Security Analyst Bootcamp offers students industry professional instructors, a flexible schedule, hands-on learning with labs, personal mentoring, and job preparation and guidance. This program is aimed at beginners or intermediary cyber security specialists who want to advance their careers. This bootcamp provides CompTIA Security+ exam training, job hunting assistance, and security operation center experience.

  • Coding Dojo. This online, part-time cyber security bootcamp takes 24 weeks to complete and requires 20 hours a week of classes. The program includes a two-week prep course to ensure newcomers are up to speed on cyber security fundamentals. This program is ideal for those seeking CompTIA or CySa certification. Coding Dojo also offers dedicated career services, including online profile creation, resume help, and technical portfolio building.

College Education for Cyber Security

College education for cyber security ranges from cyber security certificates to bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. A Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security will suffice for most jobs, but a graduate-level cyber security engineering degree will help professionals reach the pinnacle of cyber security and land high-level research or managerial positions.

Recent high school graduates should start their college education in cyber security with an associate’s degree. These are typically offered by community colleges, and students can use credits earned to transfer to a four-year college and earn a bachelor’s degree. 

These undergraduate degree courses cover foundational cyber security classes and practices and qualify graduates for entry-level positions. As well as core classes, they also include general education classes and electives that give students a broad education.

Students who want to earn the highest level of education can pursue a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. These programs will have a more focused and specialized curriculum that often allows students to choose specific tracks or concentrations. Doctoral degrees may require students to complete a thesis and are ideal for students looking to teach cyber security or pursue research roles.

Cyber security engineering degrees require time to complete, and students who are looking to quickly break into the industry or upskill should look at bootcamp or other online learning options instead. Furthermore, getting a master’s degree in cyber security can be extremely costly and leave students in debt, but the education received will be of the highest quality. 

Traditional learning is just one option to consider if you are looking at how to become a cyber security engineer. Students must weigh up the pros and cons of getting a cyber security engineering degree when deciding which educational pathway is best for them.

Cyber Security Self-directed Learning

If you want to teach yourself cyber security you can use cyber security self-directed learning. These are flexible and easy-to-access resources for anyone who wants to know how to get into cyber security without committing to an expensive or long-term learning program. 

This is a great option for professionals with little spare time who want to enhance their knowledge, or cyber security newcomers who want to learn fundamental principles, risk-free. It takes discipline to teach yourself cyber security and this learning format might not be for everyone. Furthermore, most employers will require a higher level of education or qualification than self-directed learning, but being self-thought is a great addition to a resume.

How to Become a Cyber Security Engineer: Step-by-Step

Cyber security is an in-demand career with jobs available across different industries. If you want to know how to become a cyber security engineer, our step-by-step guide will help you land your dream job. So, if you are wondering how to become a cyber security engineer then continue reading. 

Plan Your Career Path

Cyber security spans a vast array of careers and industries. If you want to know how to get into cyber security, planning a career path will help you get started. You can start by listing your strengths and interests within cyber security to figure out what type of cyber security professional you want to be.

If you plan your career path you will avoid wasting time and money. You can use online resources such as free online coding bootcamps and free cyber security bootcamps to figure out what area of cyber security you want to pursue.

Obtain an Education

Once you have a career path, you can obtain a suitable education. Cyber security professionals or experienced tech professionals might only need to bolster their knowledge by enrolling in bootcamp programs or short online courses

Newcomers might be better off pursuing a traditional degree to gain a wider knowledge of cyber security. If you want more information on how to become a cyber security engineer you can talk to admission counselors at colleges, universities, or bootcamp providers. 

Gain Experience

Once you have earned a cyber security qualification, you should consider getting valuable experience. Depending on the program you do, you may have access to career services. These can often include internship or career partner opportunities to help you gain real-world experience. Cyber security internships might lead to full-time positions. Graduates can network with other professionals and enthusiasts to build up cyber security experience.

Become Certified

Most cyber security jobs will require official certification, and this is a vital step in most cyber security education plans. Some bootcamp or degree programs will get you ready for certifications. 

As a certified cyber security professional you can easily advance your career and learn up-to-date technologies. Bear in mind, cyber security certification is not the same as a certificate program.

You must know how to get certified in cyber security and what types of certification are available. Professional cyber security certifications include Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Information Systems, Auditor, CompTIA Security+, and Certified Cloud Security Professional. 

Build Your Portfolio

Most cyber security jobs will require potential employees to have a professional cyber security portfolio. If you take a bootcamp program, you will generally have access to career services that will help you build your portfolio. Sites like LinkedIn and GitHub are websites for portfolio building.

If you want to know how to build a cyber security portfolio, you can use online resources to help you find projects and learn skills. You can also reach out to cyber security professionals for help. Building up a quality network of cyber security enthusiasts will help you with building the best cyber security portfolio.  

Work on Your Resume

You must have a high-quality cyber security resume if you want to impress future employees. Knowing how to write a professional resume will ensure that any skills you have learned, and any specific job requirements, are clearly listed. You should tailor your resume to different jobs and ensure you keep the information relevant. 

Prepare for Your Job Interview

The best way to prepare for your job interview is to research cyber security engineer interview questions. If you have access to career services you can take advantage of mock interviews. These are great tools to help students prepare for upcoming interviews and gain confidence. If you have a good understanding of typical questions you can be confident about what to expect and avoid any nasty surprises. 

Apply for Jobs

The final step when you are considering how to become a cyber security engineer is to apply for cyber security jobs. If you are a recent bootcamp graduate, you might have access to career partnerships. 

Alternatively, you can look for cyber security events such as job fairs to network and find work. There are plenty of websites like Indeed or Hired that help you with your cyber security job search. 

Common Questions About Becoming a Cyber Security Engineer

How long does It take to learn cyber security?

It takes two to four years to get a cyber security degree. Coding bootcamp students take six months to a year to become a cyber security engineer. People who want to break into the industry often ask how long does it take to become a cyber security engineer. It depends on if you want to be self-taught, your prior professional experience, and what resources you use.

Is cyber security hard to get into?

No, cyber security is not hard to get into. There are multiple resources available to enthusiasts looking to break into cyber security, from free online bootcamps to traditional degree qualifications to self-directed online learning. 

However, if you have no prior experience or technical knowledge, you may be wondering, is cyber security hard to get into? Luckily, resources like bootcamps are aimed at complete beginners. 

How hard is it to get into cyber security depends on your work ethic. For example, bootcamp programs offer prep courses but use intensive, short-term learning that requires students to put maximum effort in.

What’s the difference between a software engineer and a cyber security engineer?

When it comes to a software engineer vs cyber security engineer, there are notable differences. A software engineer develops and works on applications and websites whereas a cyber security engineer identifies and develops solutions to increase computer system and network security. 

Software engineers must have advanced knowledge of computer programming and computer systems. While these skills are useful for a cyber engineer, a basic understanding of coding will often suffice. Cyber security engineers will learn subjects like threat detection and ethical hacking that are not required for software engineers.

What do you need to become a cyber security engineer?

You need professional cyber security training, a portfolio, a strong resume, and experience to become a cyber security engineer. Traditionally, companies required potential employees to hold a degree in computer science or a related field. However, alternative training such as bootcamps or even self-directed learning is more popular and allows you to enter into the cyber security field without the need for a traditional degree.

As well as computer science technical skills, cyber security engineers must have strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These soft skills are essential for assessing and finding solutions for cyber threats. Furthermore, most cyber security jobs require a professional cyber security certification.

Cyber Security Salary and Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cyber security job outlook is expected to grow 33 percent by 2028. This is much faster than the average job growth, and faster than many other roles in computer science.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average cyber security engineer salary is over $120,000 per year. Junior cyber security engineers usually earn over $50,000, and more senior engineers can earn up to $180,500 per year.

The exact salary you will earn depends on the company you work for, your location, and what your cyber security engineering job responsibilities are. For example, cyber security engineers in San Francisco earn an average of almost $125,000. Some positions offer salaries of up to almost $363,000.

Some cyber security engineers work as independent consultants and are not affiliated with any company. These engineers usually have more experience in cyber security and can earn thousands for only a few hours of work.

Where Can I Work as a Cyber Security Engineer?

Cyber security engineers can work in nearly any industry. More and more companies now depend on cloud networks to store their private information. Furthermore, company and employee records are typically stored in digital formats. Therefore, cyber security engineers can work anywhere, and are not limited to the tech industry

Cyber Security Internship 

Cyber security internships are an ideal way for newcomers to gain valuable cyber security experience before applying for jobs. These internships will allow you to work alongside cyber security professionals and hone your skills.

Cyber security internships can be found on the Internet through sites like Indeed. Students who have completed a bootcamp program or a degree at a top university may have access to partner internship programs. While cyber security internships may lead to full-time employment, that is not always a guarantee.

Internships for cyber security are common because data protection is so important. Cyber security engineers are in-demand, therefore, companies and organizations want to help cyber security graduates to develop their skills and advance their professional growth. By providing internship opportunities, businesses and individuals can help safeguard their data and ward off potential cyber attacks and threats. 

Cyber Security Certifications

Cyber security certifications prove that an individual is fully qualified and trained in required cyber security skills and practices. Most employees will require job-seekers to have a cyber security certification before they apply. 

Depending on which cyber security course you take, you may earn a cyber security certification upon graduation. Other programs will provide cyber security certification training. Below is a list of the best cyber security certifications you should consider getting if you want to become a cyber security professional.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

During this certification course, you will learn the ins and outs of how hackers think and how they can infiltrate a network. You will also learn the technologies that protect against hackers that are looking to penetrate systems and steal information.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

This is a high-level certification that requires individuals to have at least five years of experience before they can register. This certificate is mainly used for information auditing. In studying for this certificate, you learn how to protect information assets, how to audit information systems, and explore IT management and governance.

Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)

This is an advanced certification for individuals who are already employed in a forensic security networking field. Through this certification, you will learn how to recover data that has been deleted, damaged, or encrypted. People who work in this field gather evidence and prosecute offenders.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

A certified cloud security professional certification is also intended for individuals with five years of experience in Cyber Security or a cloud computing environment. Individuals who obtain this certificate will have verified experience in the following topics: cloud data security, cloud operations, cloud architecture, and design concepts.

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is a beginner-level certification for IT professionals who have two years of experience and will bring you up-to-date on general Cyber Security. It provides a basic understanding of the Cyber Security field. It is also great for anyone looking to work with the US Department of Defense, which prefers this certification.

You will learn about network attack strategies and how to defend against them, encryption standards and products, and network- and host-based security practices. This is the ideal certification if you want to know how to start a career in cyber security. 

The Best Cyber Security Courses, Training Programs, and Books

You can start learning cyber security through a wide variety of methods. Some people learn through earning a degree in cyber security or by attending a coding bootcamp. Others are self-taught. 

Whatever path you choose, you’ll need to learn essential cyber security skills and be well-versed in various programming languages, security threats, and the latest cyber security tools used to protect networks.

Many bootcamps, universities, courses, and training programs can help you throughout every step of this process. Below is a list of the best courses and resources available to help you find one of several Cyber Security jobs.

The Best Cyber Security Schools and Learning Platforms

If you are new to cyber security and have no prior experience, you must know how to get into cyber security. Below is a list of the best cyber security courses for those that want to become a cyber security engineer with no experience.

Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University is a private school located in Cleveland, Ohio. It offers a part-time, virtual cyber security bootcamp that focuses on information technology, networking, and modern information security. This challenging, hands-on bootcamp is for newcomers to cyber security. Those already working in tech who want to broaden their knowledge of IT and cyber security can also benefit from it.

By the end of this course, you will have learned the fundamentals of network security. You will also have developed skills that you can apply to the certifications CompTIA Security + and Certified Ethical Hacker.

Here are some skills you will learn during the course:

  • Bash scripting

  • Secure network design and architecture

  • Cryptography and encryption

  • Cloud Security

  • Kali Linux

  • Wireshark

  • Digital forensics methods


Cybrary is a cyber security course library. It has a range of courses for beginners and for industry experts who want to learn more. Upon signing up, you will get a free three-day trial to see if you like what the program has to offer.

In any Cybrary course, you will be watching instructional videos taught by cyber security professionals. You will gain experience in a virtual lab, practice for your final test, and take a final assessment to get your certification.

These courses will introduce you to the industry and teach you all-new skills. Some of the courses you can take are:

  • Information Security Fundamentals

  • Become a Security Operation Center Analyst (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3)

  • How to use tcpdump (BSWJ)

  • Identifying Web Attacks Through Logs

  • Become an Incident Handler

  • Cyber Network Security


Coursera offers a multitude of online cyber security courses for people looking to learn more about the field. Coursera collaborates with over 200 leading organizations and schools, including Google, IBM, and Stanford. Furthermore, some of the programs will allow you to earn a professional certificate at the end. 

Programs offered through Coursera include:

  • Secure Coding Practices

  • Introduction to TCP/IP

  • Security in Google Cloud Platform

  • Cyber Security in Healthcare

  • IT Security: Defense Against the Digital Dark Arts

  • IBM Cyber Security Analyst (Professional Certificate)

  • Cyber Security MasterTrack Certificate (MasterTrack Certificate)


Udemy has a large selection of classes in any field that comes to mind, including a range of courses in cyber security. Udemy offers about 100 courses for free, and there are plenty of other paid options.

Available programs range from beginner to expert levels. Most of the classes are paid for individually. However, Udemy also offers some packages that combine a few related courses for a more affordable price.

Some of the courses offered through Udemy include:

  • The Complete Cyber Security Course: Hackers Exposed!

  • The Complete Cyber Security Course: Network Security

  • The Complete Cyber Security Course: Anonymous Browsing

  • Complete Ethical Hacking & Cyber Security Masterclass Course

  • Cyber Security for Normal People: Protect Yourself Online

  • Intro to Cyber Security Certification – Security + Bootcamp

Best Cyber Security Courses Online

Below is a list of free cyber security courses. These courses allow you to learn more about cyber security and find out if this is the right career for you. Enrolling in cyber security courses online gives you maximum flexibility and allows you to learn at your own pace.

Introduction to IT & Cyber Security | Cybrary

  • Duration: 4.5 hours

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Cost: Free

This course covers system administration, network engineering, incident response and forensics, and penetration tests (also known as white hacking). It is led by a former employee of the US Department of Defense. Students who complete this program will understand what a career in cyber security is like.

Introduction to Vulnerability Assessment | Open Security Training

  • Duration: 3 days

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Cost: Free

In this course, students receive an introduction to vulnerability assessment. They learn about the general methodology for conducting assessments, scanning and mapping network topology, and testing network firewalls, among other topics. All materials can also be downloaded as Microsoft PowerPoint files or PDFs.

Essentials of Cyber Security | University of Washington/edX

  • Duration: 6 weeks

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Cost: Free ($199 for completion certificate)

This course, offered by the University of Washington, is made up of four classes. It focuses on helping learners identify the skills and tools necessary in today’s cyber security toolkit. Students will gain insight into the cyber security field directly from academic leaders and practitioners. The course culminates in a self-assessment to match students to a specialization.

Cyber Security Books

Cyber security books offer an alternative to online learning. If you just want to hold a paperback book in your hands or if analog learning is your thing, here is a list of some of the best books cyber security books you should consider:

Hacking: The Art of Exploitation (2nd Ed.) | Jon Erickson

Erikson’s book provides a holistic view of network communications, programming, and current hacking techniques. The author doesn’t just show you how to run existing exploits. Rather, he walks you through how arcane hacking techniques actually work. The included LiveCD provides a complete Linux programming and debugging environment—all without modifying your current operating system.

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker | Kevin Mitnick, William L. Simon

This book presents a thrilling account of Mitnick’s career. As a hacker, he accessed the networks and computers of some of the world’s biggest corporations, including Motorola, Pacific Bell, and Sun Microsystems. 

Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World | Joseph Menn

Cult of the Dead Cow is the oldest and most respected hacking group in the US. Through their hacktivism, they forced many corporations to take their security protections more seriously. In this book, you will learn about their history and how their work has impacted the world.

Online Cyber Security Resources

If you want to learn cyber security in your spare time, you should consider online cyber security resources. These cyber security learning resources allow professionals and those still learning the ropes to learn about different cyber security technologies and practices. Learners can dip in and out as they please to expand their cyber security knowledge.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

NIST is an agency of the US Government that aims to promote excellence in science and industry. It contains various departments related to IT and cyber security, and publishes guides and standards that are indispensable for professionals in the field. One such resource is a collection of papers that describes security best practices held by the Computer Security Resource Center. NIST also creates security assessment tools.

United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team

This is an online library containing lots of top-quality publications on all kinds of security-related information. This initiative is a collaboration of Carnegie Mellon and the US Department of Homeland Security.

Station X

Station X is a UK online portal for cyber security training and education. It offers comprehensive training for established and aspiring professionals. With a VIP membership, the student has unlimited access to all the training material needed to become a well-paid professional.

Should You Study Cyber Security?

You should learn cyber security if you’re interested in protecting your data, defending computer systems, and staying up to date on the latest in cyber protection. Learning cyber security opens up several career opportunities, many of which are in high demand, very lucrative, and don’t require a degree.

Pros of Becoming a Cyber Security Engineer

  • High salary potential. Cyber security engineers can earn a lot of money. According to the BLS, the top 10 percent of earners make more than $165,000 a year. 

  • Flexible learning options. There are numerous ways for cyber security enthusiasts to learn the fundamental skills needed to become a cyber security professional. These range from traditional university degrees to part-time online bootcamps or self-paced online classes. 

  • In-demand. Cyber threats and attacks are becoming more and more frequent. Protecting data is a high priority for nearly every company and organization. Therefore, the need for cyber security engineers is rapidly growing. Choosing a career that is in high demand is great for a high salary, job opportunities, and job safety.  

Cons of Becoming a Cyber Security Engineer

  • Emerging technologies. Cyber security technologies and practices are constantly evolving and adapting to keep up with the increase in cyber threats. While there are plenty of easy-to-access resources to keep professionals on top of these practices, it can be overwhelming and costly to stay up-to-date.

  • High stress. Being responsible for the safety of private information and data is stressful. As a cyber security engineer, there is no room for error. One small mistake could result in an entire company going bankrupt or personal information being accessed.

  • Budget roadblocks. Cyber security engineers are needed by most companies, but budget roadblocks can make it difficult for engineers to work to the best of their ability. A professional cyber security engineer relies on companies to invest in cyber security initiatives and to educate their staff on best practices.

How to Become a Cyber Security Engineer FAQ

Has cyber security engineering changed post-pandemic?

Yes, cyber security engineering has changed post-pandemic. Companies have been forced to migrate and expand their networks to allow people to work remotely. This has led to an increase in vulnerability to cyber attacks and threats.

How do I find a job in cyber security engineering?

There are multiple ways to find a cyber security engineer job. You can use job-search websites like Indeed or GlassDoor or you can attend cyber security events and job fairs. You can also find cyber security engineering jobs through your school’s career services, via career partnerships, internship programs, and networking opportunities.

Can I become a cyber security engineer without a degree?

Yes, you can become a cyber security engineer without a degree. There are many industry professionals without a degree who are successful cyber security engineers. If you want to know how to become a cyber security engineer without a degree you can research alternative educational options, such as bootcamps, books, self-directed learning, and online courses.

Is cyber security a good career?

Yes, cyber security is a good career. Cyber security engineers can work in nearly any industry and receive a high salary. Furthermore, this is an in-demand job. This means you can easily find work and with job growth on the rise, you will have job security.   

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