If you are considering a career change and are dreaming of diving into the exciting world of cybersecurity, you may be wondering if your age will hold you back.
Trust me–it won’t. Recent research has shown that the cybersecurity market is estimated to hit a global revenue of over $650 billion by 2030 – and even conservative estimates have the market cap reaching $376 billion by 2029, which is an average growth of 13.4 percent annually.
With numbers like these, it’s safe to say that it’s a prosperous industry to look into. We explore the age factor in cybersecurity and provide you with valuable insights to help make an informed decision about your budding new career.
Skills & Passion Trump Age
First and foremost, let’s debunk the myth that 31 is too old to embark on a cybersecurity career.
The world of cybersecurity is not exclusive to fresh-faced graduates or tech prodigies.
In fact, it thrives on diversity, bringing together professionals from various backgrounds, experiences, and age groups.
Your life experiences and skills acquired in your previous career can be assets in cybersecurity, not liabilities.
Essential Skills For Cybersecurity Experts
- Tech Skills: Obviously, a deep understanding of computer systems, networks, and software is crucial for identifying vulnerabilities and implementing security measures effectively.
- Willingness to Keep Learning: We never stop learning, so keeping up-to-date with the latest threats and security technologies is a must in this ever-changing field.
- Attention to Detail: Identifying subtle indicators of cyber threats requires a keen eye for detail.
- Security Frameworks and Standards: Familiarity with industry standards like NIST, ISO 27001, and CIS controls is valuable for designing robust security systems.
- Incident Response: Being prepared to handle security incidents and breaches is critical to minimize damage and recover quickly.
- Risk Management: Understanding and managing security risks is an integral part of the job, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively.
- Team Collaboration: Cybersecurity experts often work in teams, so effective collaboration and teamwork skills are essential for success.
- The Legal & Regulatory Stuff: You will need a strong understanding of data protection laws and compliance requirements to ensure organizations adhere to legal obligations.
That’s all. These skills, combined with your dedication and enthusiasm, are the main components needed to set you on a path toward a rewarding career in cybersecurity, regardless of your age.
Where To Start Learning About Cybersecurity at 31
You’ve heard the old saying – age is just a number. Not only that, it can be an asset too.
How? Well, for starters, your life experiences and skills acquired over the years can be valuable tools in this field, putting you at an advantage over younger workers.
Get started with these six tips.
1. Assess Your Current Knowledge & Skills
First, you need to evaluate your existing knowledge of technology and security and identify areas where you feel comfortable and the areas where you may need to improve.
To do this, start by looking at your prior experience. Even if they aren’t directly related to cybersecurity, they may still provide you with valuable insights and skills that can be applied to this field.
2. Start With The Basics
No one starts at the top, right, so begin your cybersecurity journey by building a strong foundation in key areas such as networking, operating systems, and programming languages.
There are numerous free and affordable online resources and courses that cater to beginners. Platforms like Cybrary, Coursera, edX, and YouTube offer a wide range of introductory courses.
3. Join Cybersecurity Communities
Engaging with the cybersecurity community is a fantastic way to learn from experienced professionals and stay updated on industry trends.
Consider joining online forums and social media groups and attending local cybersecurity meetups or conferences to network and gain insights.
4. Pursue Relevant Certifications
Cybersecurity is one of the industries where certification is important, so as you progress in your studies, consider obtaining industry-recognized certifications such as:
- CompTIA Security+;
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP);
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH);
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
These certifications can enhance your credibility and job prospects.
5. Hands-On Practice
Cybersecurity is a hands-on field, so practice is key. Set up a home lab to experiment with various security tools and techniques.
Participate in capture the flag (CTF) challenges and ethical hacking exercises to apply your knowledge in real-world scenarios.
6. Stay Informed
Cybersecurity is constantly evolving, so staying informed is crucial.
Follow cybersecurity news websites, subscribe to industry newsletters, and read books and blogs written by experts to keep up with the latest developments.
Staying Safe While Learning & Working
It can be easy to forsake our own personal online security during our quest for a lucrative cybersecurity career, but this is a rookie error.
It’s essential to apply the principles of online safety to your own digital life by protecting your personal data and online activities before you take your first steps into the world of cybersecurity.
Consider using protection software such as antivirus programs, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption tools in addition to a VPN (virtual private network).
Particularly the latter. A VPN will provide additional security and privacy, making it more challenging for cybercriminals to track your online activities. Look for the Cyber Monday VPN deals to find the best option for a reasonable price.
Age shouldn’t be a deterrent when pursuing a career in cybersecurity. Maybe you’re 31 or 81; it doesn’t matter; your passion, dedication, and willingness to learn are the keys to success in this exciting field.
You’re ready to begin, but as you embark on this exciting new adventure, don’t forget to apply the principles of online safety, including the use of a VPN, to protect your digital presence.
Your age is just a number; your potential in cybersecurity is limitless!