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How I became a Cybersecurity Analyst straight out of high school

How I became a Cybersecurity Analyst straight out of high school

Emma shares her top tips for getting a job in the cybersecurity field without a degree.

“CyberStart gave me everything I needed to hit the ground running in the world of cybersecurity, and just out of high school I landed a job as a full-time Cybersecurity Analyst”.

This is a guest post written by Emma who landed a Cybersecurity Analyst job by participating in CyberStart America.

Emma, a student from Ohio, participated in CyberStart America (CSA) and has now landed her first role as a Cybersecurity Analyst!

In this guest blog, she shares her top tips for job hunting in the industry and how programmes like CSA provide all the knowledge and certifications you need to land a well-paid and in-demand role.

Emma won a scholarship for free SANS Foundations training and her GFACT certification by taking part in CSA. You can learn more about the free CyberStart America programme here.

Here are some of Emma’s biggest takeaways from her experience of finding an infosec job.

Look for local jobs

It may feel like there are very few entry-level jobs out there, and even fewer that don’t require a college degree or some sort of advanced training. The key is to look local! Think MSPs and MSSPs. They’re everywhere, and they need entry-level cybersecurity professionals.

Patience is key

It took me 8 months to secure a position from the time I first started looking. Keep applying to more jobs while you wait on other people to respond to your application. You can’t apply to too many!

Don’t skip out on your resumé

Create a solid resumé, even if you don’t have solid work experience. Use what you do have, and make it look professional!

Impress colleges and employers with the badges you earn in CSA by including them in your resumés, college applications and on LinkedIn. You only need to earn 3000 points to earn your first badge!

Embrace your blue side

Entry-level infosec jobs are almost always going to be blue/purple team. You have to know the infrastructure before you can red team it. There’s always the opportunity for growth though, and I love blue team waaaaay more than I thought I would.

Degrees aren’t everything

Figure out your education path. You don’t actually need a degree for cybersecurity- in fact, it’s almost better if you don’t have one! You’ll have a four-year head start in your career, and you’ll learn so much more on the job than you would in a classroom. If you want a degree though, go for it! Find internships for summer and you’ll be set.

Don’t underestimate training opportunities

Find and utilize every resource you can! I remember seeing free Fortinet certification opportunities that I passed up because I thought I would never use it. As it turns out, I now use Fortinet every day. Never underestimate the power of training; that’s what sets you apart from other applicants!

Want to land a cybersecurity career like Emma? Register for free access to fun cybersecurity challenges in CyberStart that will build your real-world skills.

Or check out our programmes to see if you’re eligible to access all of CyberStart for free and earn a GIAC certification and other scholarships from the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation.

All of these programmes are entirely free, and feature CyberStart!

CyberStart America

What is it?

A fun programme developed to help you discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cyber security.

Who's it for?

13-18 year old high school students in the US only.

Awesome! How can I find out more?

Cyber FastTrack

What is it?

The fastest and most cost-effective route to a career in cyber security via free training and exclusive scholarship opportunities.

Who's it for?

College students in the US only.

Great! How can I find out more?

CyberStart Canada

What is it?

A free programme teaching cyber security to high school students in Canada through CyberStart's immersive learning platform.

Who's it for?

Students between the ages of 13-18 in Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia.

Nice! How can I find out more?