How to start a career in cybersecurity | Dailytrust

How to start a career in cybersecurity

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami

As pupils and students of secondary schools embark on their long vacation, and at a time when students of public universities are still at home due to strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), there are some skills the students could get online. Skill in cybersecurity is one such.

There has never been a time in history that demanded more skilled personnel in cybersecurity than the present time, according to Sadiq Nasir, a cybersecurity expert.

There are also concerns over ransomware attacks that weaponise cloud resources that make networks even more vulnerable. As a result, there is an open job opportunity for those who have the right skill sets.

In the coming years, security professionals will need to collaborate more than ever with their business due to a lack of security.

A recent study by the ISC² found that despite COVID-19 and economic pressures, organisations plan to increase cybersecurity staffing over the next 12 months.

What is Cybersecurity?

· Cybersecurity is a practice of protecting the systems and networks from digital attacks. 

· Now that many of the companies, financial sectors, and government organisations are looking forward to protecting their data from hackers or cybercriminals. These attacks must be handled by engineers, pen testers, security testers and other professionals to prevent the attack. 

Why is Cybersecurity important? 

· Cybersecurity is important across different sectors such as government organisations, startups, mid and large enterprises and even for personal use. But why do you think security is very important?

· Gone are the days of simple firewalls and antivirus software being your sole security measures. Cyber threats can come at any level of your organisation. So, educate your employees about simple scams like phishing, ransomware attacks or other malware designed to steal intellectual property or personal data.

· Cybersecurity risk is increasing and without its help, your organisation cannot defend itself against data breach campaigns.

So, all these factors are directly related to an increase in job opportunities. Before moving to the actual topic, let’s see some of the common questions that cybersecurity aspirants have in their minds.

To Nasir, COVID-19 as a global pandemic has made individual organisations and countries alter their culture and general approach towards cybersecurity. He said the continued use of social engineering to hack banking information, social media profiles, and other aspects need more competent hands with the right skill sets to arrest these social vices.

The situation will not be any different in the coming years, other experts said. They said cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, considered as the methodology of protecting valuable data from unauthorised access. Cybersecurity affects individuals, parents, kids, and organisations in the public and private sectors, according to Nasir.

He said the implementation of technology is viewed as a default way of protecting networks and systems from attacks. However, he added that the human being remains the weakest link in any cybersecurity infrastructure; having the right mindset and skills set for any organisation would be considered as the more dependable means of protection against any data breach.

Speaking about how to get started in a career in cybersecurity, the cybersecurity expert said there are several ways to get into it. He said: “Earning a degree in cybersecurity, information technology, and computer science at the undergraduate or graduate level is the most common means of starting a career. Many universities offer these courses. However, there are other alternatives. Websites like www.coursera.org and www.udemy.com and other similar sites offer options for self-study. By doing a simple search on this platform, one would get many offers of various courses from beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The relevance of the course can be assessed by reading each course profile and watching a preview of the short video clip. Therefore, one can have a deeper understanding of the courses before making any payment. There are a lot of free courses on cybersecurity on these educational platforms; for the paid courses, they start from a minimum of N2,500. The most exciting aspect is that anyone with any level of education can take these online courses.’’

But he said good problem-solving skills should accompany the interest and desire to build a career in Cybersecurity; the continued willingness to learn new things, the ability to pay attention to details, the ability to work under pressure and collaboration with colleagues are some of the core competencies required by this profession.

Cybersecurity provides paid career opportunities in various paths such as Network Security Engineering, Cloud Security Engineering, Security Architecture, Security Administration, Application Security Specialist,  Penetration Testing, Incident Response Analysis, Cybersecurity training and much more.

There are also opportunities in the freelance cybersecurity space. Other options can be found around start-ups which concern developing cybersecurity as a service. Experts said this area attracts investors and innovators

But to encourage more Nigerian youths to take careers in ICT, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has committed over N500 million to the Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions across the country to facilitate research and innovations to promote developments in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this at a two-day Regional Roundtable with Academia, Industry and Other Stakeholders in Kano recently said the funds have been committed to research grants to universities and tertiary institutions, including professorial chairs in the universities in salient areas to drive technology development.

Danbatta said the commission is now focused on supporting the academia in the commercialisation of the prototypes from these innovative researches as this is relevant to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy’s policy towards achieving indigenous technology for sustainable development of our country. He said the roundtable organised by the commission was to provide the necessary platform to support the commercialisation of locally-developed telecommunications innovations which NCC has been sponsoring. 

“The commission collaborates with the academia in maximising the contributions of tertiary institutions to innovations and sustainable development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry as finance is needed to drive possible success of these endeavours,” Danbatta said. He said these efforts have enabled the commission to contribute to national efforts to ensure overall growth of the industry and create wealth for innovators, saying all these are fundamental to the objective of the NCC’s R&D-oriented programmes.

On the basis of these, he said ideas, inventions, and improvements that emanate from academia are required by the industry for improved efficiency and productivity. Danbatta said appreciable impacts had been achieved since the commission reinvigorated research grants for telecommunications-based research innovations from Nigerian academics, focusing on successful commercialisation of locally developed solutions to foster and deepen the uptake of indigenous technology by Nigerians.

NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Engr Ubale Maska, also disclosed that the commission has so far awarded 49 telecom-based research grants to the academia out of which 10 prototypes were successfully developed and displayed to industry stakeholders. He said the R&D efforts of the commission were aimed at actualising some of the 8-point Pillar Eight of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, focusing on Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.

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