Cybersecurity Careers in Government: Which is the Best Fit for You??
Rob Sobers is a software engineer specializing in web security at Varonis and is the co-author of the book Learn Ruby the Hard Way.”
Jobs in cybersecurity are in high demand, with companies and organizations throughout the country hiring cyber talent to keep data safe and computer networks secure. If you’re considering a career in cybersecurity, a job in the government sector comes with good benefits and advantages not found in other businesses.
Reasons to Choose a Cybersecurity Career
Technology is becoming more advanced, with increased security breaches and data hacking by cybercriminals targeting organizations both large and small. This influx of cybercrime means that cybersecurity jobs are more in demand than ever before, with employment opportunities in the public, private, and government sectors.
A career in IT security can be challenging and exciting as well as rewarding. It also comes with higher salary expectations than other IT jobs. But perhaps one of the most encouraging reasons to consider a cybersecurity career is the skills gap – there are more jobs available than there are cyber professionals to fill them. What does this mean for you? It means that you could pick and choose who you want to work for.
Government Cybersecurity Career Paths
The US government fully recognizes that cybercrime is a big issue for its organizations – data breaches, cyber hacking, and threats against security are creating thousands of new job openings around the country in local, state, and federal government administrations. If you’re considering a job in cybersecurity, the government offers numerous career choices and incentives. This includes job security, high-paying salaries, and job satisfaction in being an active part of government security.
Other reasons to choose a government job are loan-forgiveness and scholarship programs, such as the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service, as incentives for choosing a career path in government cybersecurity.
For a career in cybersecurity at the government level, you’ll need the right education and skills – choosing the right degree in IT is your starting point for a career in security. Another way to narrow and refine your skills is by working towards certifications that can make your resume look even more appealing to employers.
What type of degree should you consider? A degree in computer science is a good place to start and will qualify you for entry-level jobs in cybersecurity. However, most government job positions will require that you also have some basic IT certifications, such as Microsoft and ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) that focuses on governance and risk management.
Other degrees that can qualify you for cybersecurity jobs in government include a bachelor or a Master of Science degree with a focus on cybersecurity. If you’re applying for specialist cybersecurity jobs, such as a cyber threat analyst, government organizations may also require that you have experience in a related field.
Personalities in cybersecurity known as “problem solvers” are ideal for jobs that require precision when it comes to identifying security risks.
Which Role is Your Best Fit?
How do you know which cybersecurity career you’re best suited for? The following five personalities describe some of the characteristics needed for some of the most in-demand government cybersecurity jobs:
The Problem Solver
Personalities in cybersecurity known as “problem solvers” are ideal for jobs that require precision when it comes to identifying security risks. Personalities with these characteristics are well suited for a career in government cyber incident response:
- Critical thinking
- Ability to analyze each situation
- High perception and response to security threats
The Quick Learner
The quick thinker can keep on top of the latest in cybersecurity threats using the personality traits seen below. If you fall into this personality profile, you may want to consider a career in government security networks and systems engineering.
- Excellent research skills
- Working well when under stress and pressure
- Curiosity and the desire to learn
Every cybersecurity team needs the avenger, who thrives on fighting cybercrime. If you have these characteristics the ideal job for you is one as a government cybersecurity analyst that specializes in risk management:
- Instinctive response to security threats
- Cerebral method of analyzing each situation
- Empathy and understanding of the risk of security breaches
If you enjoy teaching others and sharing information about cybersecurity to help develop strategic solutions, you may fall into the personality of the teacher. Government cybersecurity jobs that match the teacher traits include cybersecurity consultants and information technology specialists. Characteristics for these cybersecurity role include:
- Helpful and caring attitude
- Patience and understanding in explaining cybersecurity risks
- Effective listening skills
If you feel rewarded by fighting cybersecurity threats, you may have the characteristics of the enthusiast. With these characteristics, you may want to consider a career in government cybersecurity working in digital forensics and analysis or as a cybersecurity officer.
- Passion to analyze and mitigate security risks
- Motivation to find security weaknesses in computer networks
- Creativity to think outside of the box in any situation
As cybercrime continues to be a top concern for all organizations and businesses, this is a great time to consider a career in cybersecurity. The ability to be selective about where you work, job security and lucrative salaries provide you with the opportunity to launch into a fulfilling career.
Working in the government sector of cybersecurity is rewarding as you protect the federal, state, and local government data from cybercrime.
This infographic from Varonis can help you determine what cybersecurity career is right for you based on your personality traits and interests. You’ll be able to narrow down your options and find the right career path for you in cybersecurity.