The cybersecurity sector is one of the fastest-growing job markets in the world. In 2016, Forbes projected the total market for cybersecurity services would grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion in 2020. This growth has increased the need to hire qualified IT security professionals to help protect businesses networks and customers.

What has caused the cybersecurity skills gap? The truth is; IT-related field jobs aren’t as sought-after courses in college or university as they once were. Enrolment is less than half of what it was from the ’90s. The same could be said for Teaching and Policing jobs; newer generations aren’t as excited to take on those once fought after positions.

Here are some tips on how to get into a cybersecurity career:

1. Pick a Speciality

Specialization is critical, you can’t be jack-of-all traits, and you shouldn’t have to be. Figure out what you are already good at and see how you can apply that to a security field:

  • Security engineering, or defensive security: anti-DDOS, Web content filtering, IDS/IPS, firewalls
  • Security auditing: pen testing, patch deployment confirmation, password audit, forensic, ethical hacking
  • Information assurance/incident response: SIEM, security policies, log analysis, external audit response, DLP
  • Application security: application code security review, AppDev QA, architecture review, AppDev security standards
  • Security analysts protect a business by a range of technologies and processes to prevent, detect and manage security threats. Which includes protecting computers, data, and networks.

2. Follow Experts on Social Media

I’ve learned more from security experts on Twitter; than any certification could provide. I love how the theories you are learning are discussed in real-time.

3. Learn Networking!

Cybersecurity isn’t glamorous; it isn’t all CSI Cyber. A lot of it is repetitive, and everything you do is loosely related to Networking protocols.

It would help if you understood how servers work (cloud, dedicated, raspberry pi…), how clients work (access the internet, files, VPN when working remotely…), and how they could be exploited.

Understanding cybersecurity doesn’t mean you need to know how to code, but you should understand the theory behind how the internet runs.

4. Get Certified

If you have no real-world experience or an IT-related degree, the only way someone will ever be willing to hire you is with a Security Degree.

CompTIA Security+ is a global certification that validates the baseline skills you need to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career. It’s the most competitively priced certificate and most widely accepted.

5. Keep Learning

With the nature of cybersecurity, this job will always require constant learning. You have to love to learn 🙂

I hope this article is a recipe for success.

Tip: Stay happy in your career by figuring out what your job will look like

Take Pentesting as an example. The job sounds cool and “sexy,” but in reality, you can’t break into anything connected to the internet. Pentesting is more like Boxing; boxers get their big break and get front-page news once in a while, but people don’t see the countless hours in the gym getting beat up by trainers and better boxers.

I suggest looking at the worst part of any job and ask yourself if you are willing to do it with a smile. A teacher has that problem kid that disturbs the class, in construction, you work the coldest & hottest days of the year… what issues will you have to deal with when you start your new career? Is your family going to be ok with you responding to a breach during Christmas dinner? These are things you should reflect on before selecting which specialty you want to take on.

Cyber Security salaries

Penetration Tester: $80,000 and $130,000
Tests security effectiveness and identify are any vulnerabilities.

Network Security Analyst: $90,000 and $150,000
Responsible for securing a company’s computer network and information system.

Security Engineer: $90,000 to $150,000
Maintains a virus-free network, performing regular security testing.

Cybersecurity Analyst: $90,000 and $185,000
Focus primarily on protecting and preventing cyber-attacks, malware, DDoS attacks, viruses on the company’s website or computer networks.

Security Manager: $120,00 and $180,000
Focuses on data information security.

Application Security Engineer: $100,000 to $210,000
Specializes in securing software used by a business (AWS, Azure), ensuring privacy and compliance.

Bonus: Jobs at CSIS & the RCMP

CSIS and the RCMP, who are amongst the top employers in Canada, are in pressing need of talented IT techs with experience in Networking, Information Security, and anyone with a Computer Science Degree.


More than 100 specializations! From Intelligence Officers to IT Professionals and Analysts, CSIS recruits top talent in multiple fields can be found here!