Breaking Barriers: Landing Cyber Security Jobs sans Degree?


When I decided to pursue a career in cyber security, I knew that it would be no easy feat. With the constant evolution of technology, cyber crime was on the rise and companies were increasingly vulnerable to attack. However, what I didn’t expect was the seemingly insurmountable barrier of needing a degree to even be considered for a job in this field.

As someone who didn’t have the resources or opportunity to pursue a degree, I was discouraged. But I refused to let that stop me from pursuing my passion. So, I began to do my research, scouring the internet and asking professionals in the field. And what I found was that it was indeed possible to break through the degree barrier and land cyber security jobs without that piece of paper.

But how, you may ask? That is exactly what I’ll be exploring in this article. From networking to certifications to getting your foot in the door through internships, there are ways to obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to not only enter the field, but to thrive. So, if you’re someone who is determined to join the ranks of cyber security experts but lacks a degree, keep reading. This article is for you.

How hard is it to get a job in cyber security without a degree?

It is possible to land a job in the field of cybersecurity without a degree, but it greatly depends on the type of position and the specific requirements of the organization you are applying to. Essentially, you’ll need to prove to potential employers that you have the necessary experience and knowledge to succeed in the role, which can be done in a number of different ways.

Here are some tips on how to increase your chances of getting a cyber security job without a degree:

  • Gain practical experience: One of the most valuable assets in the cybersecurity field is practical experience. Whether it be through internships, training programs, or independent study, gaining hands-on experience will demonstrate your abilities and knowledge.
  • Obtain certifications: While many certifications require a degree or specific education, there are some that do not. Look for certifications such as CompTIA Security+, SANS GIAC, or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) that do not require a degree but are highly valued by employers in the industry.
  • Showcase your skills: Create a portfolio of projects that demonstrate your cybersecurity skills. Having a portfolio is a great way to prove your abilities to potential employers.
  • Networking: Attend industry events, join online communities and forums, and connect with professionals in the field. Networking can lead to job opportunities or even new experiences to add to your resume.
  • Ultimately, while not having a degree may seem like a hindrance, it is possible to land a cybersecurity job without one. By gaining practical experience, obtaining certifications, showcasing your skills and expanding your network, you can become a viable candidate for a variety of cybersecurity roles.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Gain relevant experience through internships, certifications, or online courses. This demonstrates your knowledge and commitment to the industry.
    2. Build a strong professional network by attending cyber security conferences or joining industry groups on social media platforms. Networking can help you learn about potential job opportunities and meet key players in the field.
    3. Tailor your resume and cover letter to showcase specific skills and accomplishments related to cyber security, rather than focusing on your lack of a degree.
    4. Consider working in entry-level positions or volunteering for cyber security projects to gain valuable experience and build your resume.
    5. Stay up-to-date with industry developments by reading cyber security blogs, following relevant news sources, and participating in online forums. This will help you stay current and informed during job interviews.

    Entry-level Cyber Security Jobs

    Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field, with an ever-increasing demand for skilled professionals to safeguard sensitive information and prevent cyberattacks. In recent years, the industry has become more inclusive, with many employers willing to consider applicants without a degree. Entry-level positions are a great starting point for individuals who want to explore a cybersecurity career without the need for a degree.

    Entry-level jobs typically include IT support, security analyst, and incident response. These jobs require only the basic knowledge of cybersecurity, as most training happens on the job. While entry-level positions may not pay as much as more senior roles, they offer an excellent starting point for a successful cybersecurity career.

    Job Requirements for Cyber Security

    While it’s possible to get a cybersecurity job without a degree, a formal education is often required for more advanced positions. A degree in cybersecurity or a related field, such as computer science or information technology, is highly regarded in the industry. Many employers prefer candidates who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher. A higher education degree also provides prospective employers with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in cybersecurity roles.

    Alternative Qualifications

    If you don’t have a degree, there are other ways to demonstrate your skillset and dedication to cybersecurity. Alternative qualifications such as online certifications, bootcamps, coursework, and self-study shows an applicant’s readiness and willingness to learn.

    These alternatives are less costly compared to a degree, affordable, and can be done at the comfort of an individual’s home and convenience. In addition, these courses provide hands-on training and the opportunity to gain experience in a specific area of cybersecurity.

    Certifications for Cyber Security

    Certifications are often sought after by employers as a way to gauge an applicant’s level of expertise. Some of the most popular cybersecurity certifications are:

    • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
    • CompTIA Security+
    • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
    • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
    • GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

    The certifications listed above demonstrate mastery in a specific cybersecurity area and proves an applicant’s expertise.

    Experience in Cyber Security

    Experience in cybersecurity is crucial for career advancement. Even if you do not have a degree, experience can fill in the gap and could put you in a better position compared to those with formal education but no hands-on experience. Internships, entry-level positions, and volunteering in cybersecurity-related fields, such as IT, help hone skills, gain experience and expose an individual to practical real-world problems.

    Necessary Skills for Success

    Although a formal education can provide a strong foundation in cybersecurity, essential skills are necessary for success in the industry. Strong technical skills in areas such as networking, programming, and operating systems are essential. Other critical skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, and effective communication.

    Remember: Cybersecurity isn’t just about technical skills. It’s also important to understand security policies, compliance, procedures, and the business.

    Networking and Job Hunting

    Networking is a critical aspect of finding a cybersecurity job. Meet-ups, conferences, and online forums provide opportunities to engage with professionals in the industry, build connections, and learn more about job openings. Online job search engines, social media platforms, industry-specific websites, and job boards offer a plethora of cybersecurity job opportunities.

    When job hunting, it’s important to avoid spamming resumes. Instead, do research on the firms to apply to and understand their cybersecurity culture.

    Advancing in the Industry

    Once in the industry, advancement is necessary for career growth. Keep in mind that advancements do not occur overnight and are not instant. Continuous learning, upskilling, and building relevant technical experience are key to career advancement in cybersecurity. Gaining industry-specific experience allows one to specialize in a specific cybersecurity area, for instance, network security, cloud security, or application security. Continuing education is necessary to keep up with the rapidly evolving cybersecurity environment.

    In conclusion, while a degree is preferred by many employers, cybersecurity is a field that emphasizes skills and experience over formal education. Alternatives such as certifications, coursework, bootcamps, and self-study can help one gain knowledge and industry-relevant skills. However, one’s cybersecurity journey shouldn’t stop there, career growth in the industry entails continuous learning, gaining experience and advancing expertise.