Breaking Into Tech: Cybersecurity
We all know getting a job in the tech industry has been being pushed across social media such as TikTok, Twitter, etc. The promise of getting a six-figure salary after taking a few free courses or getting certifications. These tech influencers make it look like getting a tech job is easy. Is it possible to get a tech job without experience with a six-figure salary? Maybe? For most, it is a long and painful process from the constant rejection emails, ghosting from recruiters, multiple job interviews, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome. I know. I have experienced it all. After graduating 5 months from a cybersecurity boot camp, I still trying to get my first cybersecurity job. If you told me that I am still looking for an entry-level cybersecurity job, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Why is getting your first tech job specifically in cybersecurity so hard? Well, true entry-level jobs are very hard to come by. Most tech job postings for entry-level look like this: requiring 3+ years of experience, having a bachelor's or a Master's degree in computer science, information security, or cybersecurity, and requiring high-level certifications such as CISSIP, etc. Also, the market is competitive. There are millions of people applying for that one entry-level job. Companies are looking for the perfect person instead of potential. They don’t want to train future employees. They want someone who can jump right in. There is a skill gap. There are fewer experienced cybersecurity professionals and more entry-level professionals. The cybersecurity community realizes the issue and taking steps to bridge the skill gap.
You might be asking: How do you gain experience when no one will give you a chance to gain experience? That’s the million-dollar question here. If you are a student whether high school, college, or grad student, please apply for internships. Please be friends with your career service center. They are there to help you get internships, help you with resume building, interview prep, etc. You need experience in the field to secure a job in the future. For the career changers, I can recommend cybersecurity boot camps (please do your research. There are a lot of scammers out there !!!!), cybersecurity apprenticeship you can find at: https://www.nist.gov/itl/applied-cybersecurity/nice/resources/apprenticeship-finder to gain experience while getting paid, volunteer your cybersecurity skills to businesses around your neighborhood, and work on projects that show off your new cybersecurity skills. Hand-on cybersecurity experience goes a long way than getting cybersecurity certification.
Do you have a LinkedIn? If so, is it optimized so that recruiters can know that you are looking for job opportunities? If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, make one. In tech, you need a LinkedIn. There is no way around it. People want to know who you are, what are you doing, what are your skills, etc. How to optimize your LinkedIn? There are many articles and YouTube videos on how to do it. Google is your best friend here. Also, make sure you are networking with recruiters and hiring managers. I know it is scary to put yourself out there, but it’s worth it. Introduce yourself to the recruiter and tell them what you are looking for or a job you applied for with the job posting ID number. Make the recruiter’s job easier for you to get that job by being qualified for the position. Also, please make sure your resume is perfect. Grammatical errors can cost you the job.
Not only do I network on LinkedIn, but also Twitter and Discord. On Twitter #blacktechtwitter and tech spaces where I find recruiters, aspiring cybersecurity professionals, and cybersecurity professionals in the field. On Discord, I join a cybersecurity group called: SecurityNewbs created by Maite. (Here is the Maite’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maite-x/ and Discord link: https://discord.gg/securitynewbs)where you can get advice, ask questions, and they post entry-level, mid-level, and senior roles. Everyone is nice and willing to help in any way they can. Both tech communities are supportive about helping people break into tech. Building a social media presence/ community is important. These are the people who can refer you to your next job.
Okay, you heard and done all the information from above. All you can do now is keep applying, keep networking with recruiters, keep building your skills, and keep building your social media presence. Your time is coming. Don’t take rejection personally and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Remember, you are on your own path and on your own timeline.
Update: Currently, I’m a cybersecurity engineer intern at Virtual Testing Foundation ( I updated this on May 12, 2022)