Since there is a crucial need for specialized people to fill the seats in cybersecurity, the employment rate is phenomenal in this field. With cybercrime reaching a peak of six trillion globally by 2021, there is a high probability of securing a job. However, this is a very specialized job. Not only do you need appropriate education, but you also need to cultivate crucial hard and soft skills to succeed in cybersecurity. If you are serious about putting your hacking skills to use, then you need all the right requirements for the job. In this section, we are going to discuss all the steps and certifications you need to boost your resume.
Since this is a very technical job, you need a wide range of crucial skills to assess the security system for vulnerabilities. You have to use your expertise in Information Technology to become a successful vulnerability assessor. Besides hard skills, this job entails you to have a good grip on soft skills too. While you can learn some of these skills beforehand, you can develop the others over time with experience.
Let us take a more in-depth look into all the hard skills required as a vulnerability assessor.
- Experienced with configuring operating systems like Windows, Unix, and Linux
- Fluent in important computer programming languages like C, C#, C++, Java, PHP, ASM, and PERL
- Familiar with finding vulnerabilities using network scanning tools like Nessus, RETINA, Gold Disk, and ACAS
- Knowledgeable about security frameworks used in organizations, including ISO 27001/27002, HIPPA, NIST, and SOX
- Comfortable working with applications based on the web and securing their database
- Well-versed with the critical Metasploit framework
- Knows about all the significant computer hardware and software programs
- Can work with security tools like Appscan and Fortify
- Adept at reverse engineering and vulnerability analysis to find critical flaws
Keeping hard skills aside, a vulnerability assessor has to cultivate many soft skills to work with other cyber teams. Deemed as a team-player, they have to communicate with their colleagues, teach the IT teams about security, and write detailed reports too. Hence, they should have the following soft skills to work well as a vulnerability assessor.
- Excellent communication skills to discuss the flaws with the IT team
- Exceptional writing skills to produce a detailed Vulnerability Assessment Report
- Formidable analytical skills to find the blind spots in the system
- Strategic and creative thinking to find solutions to the vulnerabilities
- Attentive to the tiniest of details
- Adapt well to working under stress
- Ability to guide and educate other IT experts on the security flaws
- Flexible enough to multi-task
Since the job requirements for vulnerability assessors vary from one organization to another, there is no set education standard for it. Some interested candidates might have all the required skills and a keen interest in hacking right after school. These individuals can quickly get a junior-level job without earning a bachelor’s degree in the IT field. Then, they can work their way up by learning the ropes and gaining experience through the IT team. However, many companies require you to have an excellent educational background before joining their cybersecurity team. In such cases, you should opt for a Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security, Computer Science, or related IT fields. Not only will it boost your resume, but you will also learn critical skills during college. Here, you will get familiar with all the above-mentioned hard skills before even starting your job. These include getting comfortable with programming languages, configuration, and security tools. Besides this, college allows you to learn soft skills by assigning your group projects. They are crucial in teaching you teamwork, communication skills, and how to guide others. Moreover, as part of your degree, you will be required to take part in vital internships to gain IT experience. This will give you an edge over other candidates. If you are planning to join government jobs or senior-level positions, you are even required to pursue a Master’s degree in Computer Science or even an MS.
While some companies might require a Bachelor’s degree, others might be more interested in your prior experience. Again, this job requirement varies from one place to another. Usually, most companies require a minimum of two to three years of experience working in cybersecurity to get an entry-level job. Since these depend on the type of job and difficulty, some companies might hire you with just an IT-related degree. On the other hand, most senior-level posts require about six to 12 years of experience. For example, a top vulnerability assessor should have worked with forensics, incident response, or malware teams to learn all the necessary skills.
Apart from gaining technical expertise through a good education background and gaining experience in cybersecurity, there is another way to get an edge over your colleagues. Yes, we are talking about earning critical certifications to give a boost to your resume. While some jobs might not require any extra training, most companies list down penetration testing certifications and CISSP as a job requirement. As such, these are responsible for teaching you essential skills that are not covered in your Bachelor’s degree. One of these certifications, called the Vulnerability Assessment Certification, is quite specific for your job as a vulnerability assessor. You can get this certification from Mile2, an IT security company that is famous for offering accredited certifications for cybersecurity. Before we go on to listing all the major certifications, keep in mind that different organizations have different requirements. Instead of wasting your time and money on pursuing useless certificates, make sure to check for those required by your job. Some of the most popular certifications have been listed below for your benefit.
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CEPT: Certified Expert Penetration Tester
- CPT: Certified Penetration Tester
- OSCP: Offensive Security Certified Professional
- GPEN: GIAC Certified Penetration Tester
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CVA: Certified Vulnerability Assessor
- GCIH: GIAC Certified Incident Handler