How Do I Begin My Career with a Cybersecurity Scholarship in 2024?

March 1, 2023
| David Tidmarsh
| Cybersecurity Technician

Cybersecurity certifications are an excellent way to begin your career in IT security. The good news is that you may be eligible for a cybersecurity scholarship that helps cover the costs of your entry-level cybersecurity training program.

What Is Cybersecurity?

Modern organizations face a dizzying array of cyberthreats, from hacking and phishing attempts to malware and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Cybersecurity is the study and practice of protecting IT systems, networks, devices, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access.

The field of cybersecurity is vast and encompasses a wide range of subdisciplines: network security, application security, data security, cloud security, mobile security, and more. Cybersecurity involves deploying various technologies, processes, and controls to secure an IT environment. Cybersecurity professionals work to ensure the continuous privacy, integrity, availability, and reliability of their organization’s critical IT resources.

What Are the Career Paths Available in Cybersecurity?

If you’re interested in a cybersecurity career, the good news is that the field is in high demand, and a diverse array of positions are available. Below are just a few possibilities for cybersecurity career paths:

  • Network security engineers are responsible for establishing and maintaining the security of IT networks within an organization. This includes fixing network outages and errors, performing network upgrades, installing firewalls, and creating policies for inbound and outbound network traffic.
  • Ethical hackers are responsible for using hacking skills “for good” by using them to detect flaws in an organization’s cybersecurity posture. They may use automated tools to scan for vulnerabilities in web applications, servers, and networks or even use social engineering to trick employees into providing access to internal systems.
  • SOC analysts work inside an organization’s security operations center (SOC), a cross-functional team that monitors, detects and responds to security incidents. SOC analysts have many responsibilities, from estimating the severity of potential and incoming cyberthreats to creating and implementing disaster recovery plans.

Cybersecurity professionals who excel at their jobs and climb the career ladder may eventually assume the title of CISO (Chief Information Security Officer). The CISO is the executive in an organization who is ultimately responsible for the security of its IT systems and data.

What Prerequisite Skills Are Needed to Begin a Career in Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a critical business function, which means that it requires several competencies—both technical and non-technical. The skills necessary for a career in cybersecurity include the following:

  • General technical skills: Cybersecurity professionals must have a solid general understanding of enterprise IT systems, networks, and computer programming.
  • Knowledge of security concepts: Familiarity with IT security technologies, protocols, and methodologies is essential for cybersecurity professionals.
  • Problem-solving skills: A career in cybersecurity demands strong problem-solving skills, knowing how to break down and resolve complex technical problems.
  • Attention to detail: Cybersecurity professionals should be highly logical and detail-oriented to spot potential security vulnerabilities and ensure the proper implementation of security measures.
  • Communication skills: Because cybersecurity professionals often collaborate with non-technical employees and managers, they must have good communication skills to explain in-depth technical concepts.

How Do I Begin My Career in Cybersecurity?

There are several pathways to start your career in cybersecurity. Some cybersecurity professionals begin with computer science, computer engineering, and information technology degrees. Other cybersecurity specialists achieve expertise through self-study or learning on the job.

If you don’t have a degree in cybersecurity, obtaining a cybersecurity certification is an excellent way to jumpstart your career. A cybersecurity certification demonstrates to employers, colleagues, and clients that the holder possesses valid credentials to work as a cybersecurity professional. The certification confirms that the recipient has the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in the IT security field.

Cybersecurity certifications require the recipient to go through an extensive process of learning and training. The best certifications give students both the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills required for their future careers. According to the recently released C|EH Hall of Fame report, 2023, one in two professionals received promotion after completing C|EH certification.

How Do I Get Certified in Cybersecurity?

If you’re considering getting certified in cybersecurity, it’s crucial to evaluate all your options to find the best program. When choosing a cybersecurity certification, consider the factors below:

  • Career goals: What is your current job, and what do you hope to achieve in the future? Select a cybersecurity certification that aligns with these goals and helps you progress toward them.
  • Job requirements: Check the job listings of the positions that you’re interested in. Do they list any specific cybersecurity certifications as required or preferred?
  • Reputation: Research the reputation of the cybersecurity certification provider and the value of the certification in the industry. For example, what percentage of the program’s graduates obtain jobs in their desired field?
  • Difficulty and time commitment: How long will the program take to complete, and how difficult will it be? Make sure that you have the bandwidth in your personal and professional life to obtain the certification in a timely manner.
  • Cost: How much will the cost of the cybersecurity certification be? Make sure to include secondary expenses such as exam fees and study materials.

Why Should I Start My Career With EC-Council’s Cybersecurity Technician Program?

EC-Council’s Certified Cybersecurity Technician (C|CT) program is the ideal certification for those who want to start a career in cybersecurity. The C|CT program is an entry-level cybersecurity certification demonstrating the recipient has foundational technical, hands-on, and multi-domain cybersecurity skills. C|CT graduates have obtained IT security competencies in several subdisciplines, including network defense, ethical hacking, digital forensics, and security operations.

After finishing the C|CT program, graduates will be ready to assume the role of a cybersecurity technician. The C|CT certification prepares students to handle various complex issues related to securing IT systems, networks, and software against the most common cyberthreats and attacks. In particular, C|CT is the world’s only entry-level cybersecurity program to provide total foundational cybersecurity multi domain coverage with 200 hours of premium learning and 85 hands-on labs—three times more than any other entry-level certification.

Which Cybersecurity Scholarship Program Can I Apply To?

If you’re thinking about joining EC-Council’s C|CT program, the good news is that you may be eligible for a cybersecurity scholarship. EC-Council has pledged $7 million to the C|CT Scholarship for Cybersecurity Career Starters, which will help approximately 20,000 students begin their careers in cybersecurity.

Students who receive EC-Council’s cybersecurity scholarship get the opportunity to be certified at very little personal expense. EC-Council’s cybersecurity scholarship covers the program’s cost, requiring students to pay only the exam proctoring and technology fees for the program’s certification exam. C|CT scholarship holders receive the official curriculum e-courseware covering 22 immersive modules and 2400 pages of learning content in exchange.

How Do I Apply for the Cybersecurity Scholarship Program?

EC-Council’s cybersecurity scholarship is for people at all stages of their careers and life. Whether you’re a motivated high school student or a working professional looking to switch to IT security, the C|CT program can help start your career in cybersecurity.

Ready to apply for EC-Council’s cybersecurity scholarship? Visit the C|CT Scholarship for Cybersecurity Career Starters page to learn more about the initiative and begin your application.

About the Author

David Tidmarsh is a programmer and writer. He’s worked as a software developer at MIT, has a B.A. in history from Yale, and is currently a graduate student in computer science at UT Austin.

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