Excited by the thought of a career in cybersecurity? Here’s our rundown of the skills and qualifications you’ll need and the entry-level positions employers are hiring for.

Every day — every second, in fact — millions of individuals and businesses depend on the safe storage or transfer of data. Security breaches can be catastrophic, and everyone from regular folks with electronic medical records to billion-dollar hedge funds needs protection.

Enter the cybersecurity specialist, for whom business is booming. Demand for information security analysts is expected to grow 33% between 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average. And that’s just one cybersecurity role among many.

Interested in landing a job in cybersecurity? Read on for tips on how to kick-start your career.

what degree do I need for cybersecurity?

It’s possible to find work in the cybersecurity industry with just a high school diploma or associate’s degree. However, most employers prefer to see a four-year bachelor’s degree. So earning a degree in cybersecurity, computer science or a related field will give you the best chance of success.

how do I start a cybersecurity job with no experience?

Starting a cybersecurity career with no experience can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. In addition to getting a bachelor’s degree, you should also study information security and technology.

While most entry-level jobs don’t require coding skills, higher positions might, so learning to code will give you a head start on the competition. You should also earn some certifications to pull ahead even more. Entry-level cybersecurity certifications valued by employers include:

top 3 entry-level cybersecurity jobs

Now that you know what employers are looking for, you can start assessing entry-level cybersecurity roles that align with your skills, qualifications and work style. Here are three positions worth considering:

1. cybersecurity support technician

These entry-level IT professionals are the first responders of the cybersecurity world. When systems are attacked or brought down by malicious hackers, cybersecurity support technicians install emergency arrangements to minimize the company’s downtime. When they’re not putting out fires, they work proactively to detect and prevent potential security threats. This is a role for people who are steady under pressure and don’t mind working unsociable hours. Hackers operate around the clock, which means cybersecurity support must too.

2. systems administrator

Although systems administrator isn’t a security role per se, it’s an excellent springboard to a cybersecurity career. In this role, you’ll be responsible for maintaining and safeguarding the private data of users on a company’s network. You’ll also gain experience in deploying numerous security tools, including vulnerability scanners and firewalls. No surprise, then, that employers advertising for entry-level cybersecurity roles often seek candidates with systems administration experience.

3. junior penetration testers

If you like the idea of (literally) trying to bring down the system while getting paid for the privilege, penetration tester could be your dream job. Pen testers (as they’re known) execute cyberattacks on an organization’s computer networks to identify vulnerabilities. If they find any gaps that malicious hackers could exploit, they communicate these findings to senior management. Most pen testers have a background in programming since part of the job involves reviewing code for security weaknesses and reverse engineering spam and malware.

Inspired to launch a career protecting people and companies from hackers, phishers and ransomware gangs? Take a look at the cybersecurity roles employers are hiring for right now.