It’s the perfect time to be a cybersecurity professional because of the high employer demand for your technical talents. In 2018 alone, 3.6 billion records were compromised in 3,676 data breaches (that’s only through September), the EU’s GDPR created intense mandatory fines for data breaches, and new revelations indicate hackers might use some Chrome extensions to bypass security measures. These threats, and a plethora of others have created plenty of job opportunities for cybersecurity pros. However, if you want the best jobs for your cybersecurity career, you need to pitch yourself with three factors in mind.


Your Job Title

What’s in a name? According to Dice, quite a bit. In a recent nationwide study, Dice looked at cybersecurity professionals with comparable experience but different job titles and made a surprising discovery. Top talent could earn thousands of dollars more in their region, if they used the right cybersecurity title.


Take Washington, D.C. as an example. In the nation’s capital, cybersecurity professionals can earn more when referring to themselves as Cybersecurity Analysts rather than Cybersecurity Engineers. Why? Analysts have greater contextual value in a region where federal agencies, that utilize plenty of their own analysts, are among the top employers.


Move your search to Silicon Valley and Cybersecurity Engineers earn significantly more than Cybersecurity Analysts. With the maker and innovator culture of California, it’s no surprise that a more actionable word, indicating building and design, pulls greater pay checks. The Kansas City and Twin Cities metro regions fall into this camp, providing Cybersecurity Engineers with greater compensation.


Every city and region has their own preferences, so you’ll need to find the right cybersecurity title to use on your resume before you begin applying. Tools like the Dice Salary Calculator (used in the above study) can pinpoint which title will increase your cybersecurity salary. If you want to get even more specific, talk directly with local recruiters to determine if local companies are hiring more for a specific title.


Your Proactive Track Record

What most businesses know about cybersecurity, they’ve learned through cautionary tales playing out in the public eye. Threats like data breaches, ransomware, social engineering, and others, leave a lasting impact and are front-of-mind in their concerns. Despite all that, companies will be more convinced by your proactive measures than by your reaction to big events (unless you pulled off a Hail Mary strategy and averted a huge catastrophe). Since proactive measures are typically less flashy, you need to be prepared to emphasize the right cybersecurity skill sets in your application and interview.


So, what appeals to interviewers? A combination of technical expertise and an understanding of the real-world outcomes. If you are asked about how you would mitigate the impact of a DDoS attack, talk about the protections you would create and how that would translate into a positive impact for the company, i.e. continuous website or DNS operation. If you are asked about how to protect businesses in a BYOD environment, talk about how you would establish security policies that will still keep the employees adaptable.


Also, be sure to expand their understanding of your expertise beyond traditional cybersecurity skill sets. For example, if you contribute to secure SDLC practices on a regular basis, be sure to communicate how your security mindset can build or reinforce a larger security-focused culture. Emphasizing a more holistic take on cybersecurity can go a long way toward earning you better cybersecurity opportunities.


Your Abilities with AI

You’re only one person, but there are plenty of bad actors out there trying to breach your defenses. Companies are starting to recognize the full extent of those threats and how important amplifying their security reach can be. That’s why more businesses are seeking out cybersecurity professionals with artificial intelligence expertise. Whether it’s along the line of RPA tools or more sophisticated machine learning platforms, you want to promote your AI experience throughout the hiring process.


How do you communicate your expertise? Talk about how your AI know-how allows you to move beyond System 1 decision making (automatic and reflex responses) to System 2 decision (conscious actions with more reliable results). Essentially, this shows that you know how to properly delegate routine security tasks, which are better and more extensively handled by machines, allowing you to focus more on long-term strategies and staying ahead of cybercriminals’ latest schemes.


Take a Shortcut in Your Cybersecurity Career Path

Though these three factors will help you prepare to win the best cybersecurity opportunities you encounter, there is another consideration to keep in mind: are you even finding the best cybersecurity jobs out there? You might be receiving plenty of offers from potential recruiters, but are they tailored to your goals? To ensure that the cream of the crop is funneled your way, working with the right information technology staffing agency is critical.


At TriCom Technical Services, we partner with top professionals to learn their goals and provide them with a positive experience throughout their entire career. That way, they can focus on mitigating the onslaught of cybersecurity threats at their door, while we focus on presenting offers that align with your career objectives.


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