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Top Ten Tips for Enhancing Your Career

Taking the plunge to change career takes a lot of nerve, and with all the talk about the three million job vacancies in cybersecurity, is there too much focus on getting younger people into the industry? Is there enough opportunity for people considering a career change to get into cybersecurity from other sectors, and for those already in a position in the infosec industry to move to another?

Making it to the position of CISO is not for everyone, and some may want to switch from an analyst or SOC role into more of a red team or pen test-focused position. Is this easily achieved? We are encouraged to make career plans while we are still at school, ahead of doing exams or being mature enough to realize the challenges that lay ahead of us in our working lives, but future career paths can be quite unpredictable.

To gauge how to make a career change into and around cybersecurity, Infosecurity talked to security consultants Phill Kimpton and Thom Langford about their experiences, and what they would advise to others.

1 - Find Something You’re Passionate About
Kimpton says that when moving from the Royal Signals into cybersecurity, he learned from watching YouTube videos to follow his interest, so read, listen and learn all you can.

2 - Don’t Get Caught in the Cult of the ‘Infosec Rockstar’
Langford recommends not following the path set by others, but instead he advises forming your own opinions of the industry.

3 - Look for a Mentor
Find people that inspire you, and talk to those people to help you manage your own progression, open doors and meet companies and people you would not have thought possible.

4 - Don’t Disregard Qualifications, but Don’t Follow Them Religiously
So what if you did a qualification in art or languages, that doesn’t mean you have to have a career in those disciplines. Consider the transferable skills you have. 

5 - Get Out and Network
Kimpton says that he went to his first careers fair and came away with positive results, despite having no relevant experience.

6 - Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Take the time to talk to people and ask for opportunities, and don’t be downbeat if things don’t work out.

7 - Blog, and Get Yourself Seen and Known
Kimpton and Langford both recommend writing about what interests you, connecting with social media and attending events and webinars.

8 - Get to Industry Events
Langford recommends volunteering for events or bringing other skills that you bear, such as photography or creative design, and to get your face known.

9 - Start Contributing
Consider what you know and can tell an audience, and write a talk – either for a rookie track or even a regular track talk that shows your unique perspective on the industry and demonstrates your competence, passion and culture.

10 - Look for Introductory Industry Training
Look at free courses you can take, or even workshops at conferences, which can be affordable and are not time-consuming, to give you a step up.

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