5 Surprising Careers That Can Transition to Cybersecurity by@zacamos

5 Surprising Careers That Can Transition to Cybersecurity

Here are five careers that translate surprisingly well to cybersecurity: accountant, lawyer, customer service representative, military, and performer. Each of these careers provides important soft skills that will serve you well in the cybersecurity field. With some studying and a few certifications, you can make the jump to a cybersecurity career even if you aren't currently working a tech job.
Zac Amos HackerNoon profile picture

Zac Amos

Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers cybersecurity, AI and more.

The number of cybersecurity jobs has grown 350% since 2013. As more agencies and corporations store and transmit data, having a secure network is more critical than ever.

Cybersecurity is also a lucrative career field, with the average salary being six figures in many states and the average salary sitting at over $80,000 per year. It is a career that offers growth opportunities and isn’t going away anytime soon.

Cybersecurity was not a prominent career opportunity just decades ago, but workers are finding that it’s not too late to change the direction of their careers.

Cybersecurity is a field that requires many technical “hard skills,” which will typically require some education and training. Still, it also needs “soft skills” that employees can gather in some surprising other career paths.

Communication, creativity, security, and legal skills can become the basis for a fruitful cybersecurity career. Here are five careers that translate surprisingly well to cybersecurity.

1. Accountant

There are many similarities between the accounting and cybersecurity fields. Both careers require employees to be skilled with numbers and very detail-oriented. Accountants can follow money trails and build a large, detailed picture of a financial situation. They have to ensure every cent is accounted for to keep their clients in the best financial position without worrying about facing the Internal Revenue Service.

Cybersecurity experts go through a very similar process with data. Whether developing new software and protocols or tracking stolen data, experts can piece together bits of information to find and protect data. They work with their clients to see where data sits in their infrastructure and how it moves along their supply chain to control the information.

Protecting a client’s data also means protecting financial information that has become digitized, which is a natural extension of any computer-savvy accountant’s career.

2. Lawyer

With cybercrime rates higher than ever, the industry will look for cyber lawyers in greater numbers.

As high-profile data breaches continue to be a problem, corporations are looking for lawyers who are focused on cybersecurity matters to defend them and protect their interests.

Cyber lawyers will also need to stay up-to-date with their technical knowledge, from disk- to web-based technologies, and preserve any virtual evidence to prosecute cybercriminals. This differs from other law specialties since cyber lawyers are at a much higher risk of their evidence disappearing.

There are two types of cybersecurity lawyers: advisors and litigators. Advisors typically only assist with pre-litigation matters, while litigators handle the rest. A skilled and knowledgeable cybersecurity lawyer can relieve information technology (IT) teams under stress when legal issues arise.

3. Customer Service

Despite the stereotype, cybersecurity experts don’t work in an isolated environment. Having people skills is an asset in the cybersecurity field.

Phishing is a common way for hackers to breach data, so it’s essential to have professionals in the industry who understand how to communicate with both internal and external teams to educate them about these types of cybersecurity threats.

Customer service representatives are already skilled in this type of communication and quick on their feet to solve problems. These skills become vital when cybersecurity threats arise.

Adaptability and people skills are essential traits that customer service representatives bring to the table in the cybersecurity field.

4. Military

It can be more challenging for veterans to adjust to a new career after years of serving their country. It makes sense to transition from one job of keeping people safe to another.

Military professionals are quick on their feet and dedicated to the safety of those they’re assigned to protect. This is true with cybersecurity professionals as well. The industry appreciates this passion and dedication.

Veterans can look into private-sector positions or apply to stay with the government in one of their cybersecurity sectors. Those with a college diploma or some experience working in cyber areas have an even more significant advantage in getting a job in cybersecurity.

5. Performer

Cybersecurity and performance may seem like completely different careers, but the creative skills honed by performers can be vital for cybersecurity.

Hackers don’t follow the rules and can be incredibly creative, which is why they have been able to get past most traditional security defenses. The cybersecurity industry needs professionals who can get inside the mind of a hacker and think of the outside-the-box ways they may try to get past security so experts can fix those vulnerabilities before hackers find them.

Creative minds are vital to the future of cybersecurity and may be the perfect option for an artist or performer looking to settle into a more stable career.

Entering Into Cybersecurity

While professionals don’t necessarily need a degree to get started in cybersecurity, they will likely need some cybersecurity certifications before making it anywhere in the industry.

Getting certified by programs such as Certified Ethical Hacker or COMPTIA+ can be a significant step towards getting a cybersecurity job. These courses and exams help ensure that applicants are proficient in various networking and IT skills.

To be hired in an expert role, applicants will likely need a computer engineering or computer science degree, though significant experience in these fields may suffice.

A variety of shorter online certificate programs are available for those who want a more comprehensive course but not a degree.

The level of knowledge an applicant needs depends on the area of focus they are working on getting into. Cybersecurity is a broad term for several different areas of expertise. Areas of focus include incident response, cloud security, forensics, legal, leadership, and more. Once applicants know where they want to be, they can cater their education to foster the skills they may be missing.

Networking is a huge part of landing a dream job, and cybersecurity is no exception. Reach out to professionals in the field to get more connections and advice for landing a position.

Participating in a hackathon can be very beneficial for applicants wanting to get into coding. Companies tend to use hackathons to determine applicants they are interested in pursuing. Hackathons take place over several days but are not typically longer than a week, and focus on team collaboration for a project that requires some intense coding practice.

Applicants will also need to decide where they would like to be, as most government cybersecurity jobs are in Washington, D.C., with other large cities hosting many more positions. If an applicant is open, they could potentially find a job in any state.

Embracing Soft Skills

For workers seeking a new career, cybersecurity has many opportunities open to them. Embracing the soft skills they have gathered in other positions can be a great launching point for a successful career in cybersecurity.

Employers may recognize skills from other fields that have become essential for cybersecurity. Combining these skills with education and certifications will pave the way for a long career in this growing field.

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by Zac Amos @zacamos.Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers cybersecurity, AI and more.
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