Are you a Cyber security graduate looking for your first job? Perhaps you’ve been working in IT support and looking to transition into Cyber Security? Or even, you have no Cyber Security knowledge or experience but want to get into the industry. How can this become a reality? In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps to land your first Cyber security role.
We all have to start somewhere! Your typical entry-level role to kickstart your career in Cyber Security will be a Junior SOC (Security Operations Centre) Analyst, also known as a Security Analyst. There are other entry-level roles too, but from experience, this is a great starting point to gain valuable experience and open the gateway for your chosen career path, whether that be in incident response, security engineering, architecture or even a CISO.
What is a SOC? As mentioned, SOC stands for Security Operations Centre. It is vital in monitoring an organisation’s IT infrastructure, which includes their users, endpoints, servers, firewalls and other systems for the detection of security threats. For an insight into what a SOC might look like, check out the Mondas approach here.
What does a SOC / Security Analyst actually do? Most of their time will be spent working on a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tool, some examples include Microsoft Sentinel, Spunk and USM Anywhere. These tools have their differences, but the general consensus is that they collect data from various data sources to allow analysts to detect, investigate and respond to potential threats.
Build Your Profile
It may seem daunting when browsing job adverts and seeing a long list of requirements with X number of years experience required, and understandably so. However, don’t let this put you off. It’s worth applying for roles even if you don’t tick all the boxes, some employers may be willing to give you a shot if you demonstrate the willingness to learn and have the right attitude.
Certifications aren’t everything, but they certainly help to validate your skills. For an entry-level SOC Analyst looking for their first job, I would recommend some industry-recognised certifications such as CompTIA’s Network+ and Security+ as a great starting point in understanding the foundations. The training material will likely help you tackle those technical interview questions too!
Get hands on! While certifications are great, experience is just as vital. Although you might struggle to get experience before landing your first job, you can still get hands on at home. Whether that be taking part in CTF (capture the flag) challenges, setting up a lab for malware analysis, or creating your own SOC environment, there are plenty of ways to build-up your skillset and gain experience. Platforms such as LetsDefend or TryHackMe are also great in trying your hand in skills required by Cyber professionals.
Understand the Threat Landscape
Stay updated on the latest Cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and attack techniques. Following Cyber Security news, blogs, and forums can help you gain insights into evolving threats. Learning about threat intelligence and how to analyse it is a crucial skill for SOC analysts. You will be expected to keep up to date with all things Cyber throughout your entire career whilst working in the industry.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t land your first role within several months of trying, it’s not a race. Keep refining your skills, applying to relevant positions, and seeking feedback to improve your chances of landing a SOC analyst job.
If you’re finding it challenging to secure a SOC analyst position right away, consider internships or other entry-level roles in Networking or Cyber Security. These can be stepping stones to your dream job and provide valuable experience. Be patient, your time will come!
Networking is essential in any career, and Cyber Security is no exception. Attend Cyber Security conferences, webinars, and local meetups to connect with professionals in the field. Building a strong professional network can open doors to job opportunities. Finding a mentor can also be a great way to gain some inside knowledge.
Craft a resume that highlights your relevant skills, certifications, and experience. Emphasise any specific incidents or projects where you contributed to Cyber Security efforts. Customise your resume for each job application to match the specific requirements of the position.
Expect technical interviews where you’ll be asked to solve real-world security scenarios or answer questions about Cyber Security concepts. Practise your problem-solving skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends to ace these interviews.
It is also possible to break into Cyber Security without formal education, certifications or work experience, they may help but they are not essential. It is worth reviewing job descriptions and seeing how you can build your profile to match the requirements. Anything you can do to bring value to a company will increase your chances of getting hired.
In conclusion, becoming a SOC analyst is an achievable goal with the right combination of education, technical skills, practical experience, and networking. Remember that Cyber Security is a continuously evolving field, so lifelong learning and adaptability are keys to success. Good luck on your journey to becoming a SOC analyst!