(ISC)2 Toronto Chapter - July Meetup
This evening (ISC)2 hosted a Cybersecurity event at the Grant Thornton LLP downtown Toronto location. Talks composed of representatives from York University and University of Toronto, as well as directors, hiring managers, and recent graduates.
This Chapter discusses the many potential futures in the field of cybersecurity for students, co-ops, interns, recent graduates and professionals from other frields who would like to pursue a career in the field of cybersecurity
Career in Cybersecurity: How to Carve Your Path to Success
The main focus of this meetup is to help security enthusiasts, students, recent graduates and professionals looking for a career change get a job in security. Having professionals speakrs from different areas in the field giving their insight about the industry and what they look for in candidates encouraged many of us in the room.
As a student trying to get a career in security, the overview of the meetup looks promising. We can see that (ISC)2 definitely took the time and effort to create a well structured path into getting a career in security. The talks go in depth about each topic in the path.
Path to Success
The path to success seems simple enough when looking at it. It goes over the very basic checks to identify what we excel at, being able to self-evaluate/reflect on progression, and seeing what differentiates you from the competition. But, being able to take advantage of the self-assessments will take time.
Success is a far journey, especially when you’re just starting to get into the industry.
- Self-Assessment (Strengths, Opportunities and Differentiators):
- Self-assessing yourself is a great way to identify what you can give to employers. Being able to identify what you excel at and what makes you different than the competition determines if you get considered for the job or not. Reflecting on your own progress is a great way to think about assess yourself as well. Using common reflection questions like (e.g. What did I learn today? What did I do well?, What do I need help with, What do I want to know more about? etc…) can guide you into reinforcing and evaluating yourself.
- Developing your technical skills and gaining industry experience:
- Your technical skills determines what your well versed in. This plays a major role in what job you can possible get.
- Developing your soft or communication and organization skills:
- Communication is key not matter what industry, job, or relationship you are in. Effectively communicationing your thoughts to different people in any age group or department in a clear and concise manner can go a long way.
- Developing your leadership skills and creating your brand:
- Being a leader is not for everyone. A leader needs to have patience. Needs to be able to communicate effectively. Needs to motivate and inspire people. Developing all these characteristics takes time and makes you go outside your comfort zone. Building a brand distinguishes you from your competitors. Having a connection with your audience/customers makes you memorable.
Different Flavours of Cybersecurity
Having a career in technology, can lead to many different career paths. Not only that but specializing in a specific field in technology also has many career paths as well. Finding your niche can be difficult. I know for myself, over the course of my time in school, I bounced between wanting to be a frontend develope, backend developer, ios developer, and security analyst. I’ve always liked the aspect of programming to create software or tools. So, I thought why not focus on being a security engineer or penetration tester. Both of them require the creation of scripts/tools (not to say the others dom’t require any programming).
We had the privilege of have three Grant Thorton employees speaking about the company and how they got in the industry. Hearing Jake and Jugal talk about how they ended up where they are today gives great insight for fellow students and recent graduates.
How to get in?
(ISC)2 gives recommendation to students with or without a computer science / IT background to take any courses with information security. This will benefit students because it will teach the basic skills. This also shows interest that shows employers you are willing to take initiative in pursuing a career in security. For co-op/internships, it’s good idea to apply to as many IT Risk and Infomration Security job postings. The experience will be the most beneficial when it comes to applying to full-time jobs when you’re done school. Lastly, certificates are an excellent way to get past HR. Doing this brings you one step closer to getting the job.
Mentorship and Networking
If you’re either still in school, a recent graduate, or a professional looking to change careers - networking benefits you greatly when looking for a job. In today’s society, there is a lot more competition out there. It’s not enough to go to school and have experience. Taking initiatives and doing extra curriculars help you stand out. But, networking by going to meetups and events helps you expand your network and find out who’s hiring. Finding a mentor can be tough. It’s rare to find someone who is willing to help and contribute their own time and effort to help you succeed. But once you find a mentor, they can be a tremendous help. Being able to ask them any questiona and get some guidance can motivate you to learn more and ask more.
At the end of the meetup, the audience had a chance to ask industry leaders, questions regarding a career in security. Getting their expertise and insights as to what they look for in candidates, any tips to help them succeed and stand out, and just general tips interview tips, was a wonderful way to end the meet up. Having an intimatet setting and being able to ask any questions makes the security community in Toronto amazing.
Attending several security meetups/events, I would have to say this specific one was the most intimate, engaging, and informative meetup I’ve been to. Having experts give their insights on what they look for in potential candidates definitely helps. Having the recent graduates/employees talk about how they got into the field and the paths they took also became valuable. Getting their point of view helps paint a picture of what I should be working towards next.
The biggest take I got from this event is the Path to Success topic. Looking at the path and determining where you are and what you need to focus on provides valuable information. This linear path takes a good approach in identifying yourself.