One common question for people that are learning about cybersecurity is, “Is Cybersecurity hard?”. Some people equate cybersecurity to fields like programming, software engineering or other very technical fields that can be very intimidating for people that don’t know a lot about computers. However, this isn’t the reality, while it’s true that there are some people that make their living as top class computer hackers and that requires extreme technical knowledge. Most careers in cybersecurity don’t require you to have an extraordinary level of technical knowledge or a super high IQ. Many people that work in Cybersecurity are normal people with normal IQs. They have some knowledge of computers, malware etc but it’s nothing that can’t be picked up with a little bit of research. Especially in management level positions many people get paid because of their soft skills rather than being computer geniuses. Like any other profession you need people that can organize other people, communicate with stakeholders, people that understand business processes and so on. So, the short answer to this question is no, cybersecurity isn’t inherently hard. It just takes time to understand what the field is, how to do your job and how you fit into the grand scheme of things. If you find cybersecurity overwhelming I’ve put together a list of things that will help you understand what cybersecurity is and how to make getting into the field easier for yourself:
Understand what Cybersecurity is: Simply put, cybersecurity is all about preventing your company from getting hacked or helping your company recover from being hacked. Every activity that someone working in cybersecurity does can be put in one of these two categories, that’s the ultimate goal of cybersecurity for any company. The “Cyber” aspect of cybersecurity means that you focus on electronic threats, physical threats to a company’s facilities or employees are not within the scope of Cybersecurity.
Focus on your specialty: If you have an idea of what area of cybersecurity you want to learn or get into, focus on that. If you try to learn everything at one time it can be overwhelming. Since cybersecurity is about stopping a company from being hacked it can cover many different areas of technology. As you can imagine businesses have thousands of devices and this can get overwhelming. So, to make it easier to learn, focus on learning the in’s and out’s of just one area at a time.
Relate it to something you know: If you have a background doing something else, relating it to that area can make it much simpler to understand. For example, if you were a salesperson, rather than trying to get really technical I would suggest focusing on learning how to sell cybersecurity products. Understand what the biggest products are on the market, what companies look for when procuring cybersecurity products, how to give an effective demo of the products etc. Some people think because the industry is technical that they need to learn a lot of technical things to make money but that’s not true. Cybersecurity is part of business; we need people that can sell just like any other business. By only getting as technical as your niche needs you to, you can save yourself a lot of time and headache and it will be much easier to learn.
Overall, cybersecurity is not as daunting as other technical professions in my opinion. Some people may equate it with being a computer engineer, software developer etc. While some people may choose to go into a very technical path it’s not at all necessary. There are tons of people in Cybersecurity who can’t code, who don’t know computers very well and have never hacked into anything. Like any industry, cybersecurity requires different people with different skill sets and no matter what you’re capable of doing there are things that you can do within the field to make good money. If you’re someone that doesn’t know computers well and doesn’t want to know computers well, I would suggest that you don’t force it. You don’t need to try and become a computer genius, find a way to make money in a different way that comes more naturally to you. But overall Cybersecurity is not hard, with a moderate amount of studying and effort you can get a good grasp on the field.