Thinking about pursuing a career in cybersecurity? You should start in high school. Although you should worry more about your current studies, but if you love IT and want to protect businesses and companies from people who are not so friendly on the internet, you should begin today.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t pursue a degree or complex high requiring certifications, you can still take part in cybersecurity and start gaining practical experience.
Practical experience is often highly regarded when you are finally out there to get a job. If you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help you out.
First of all, check our epic list of cybersecurity resources where you can find tons of blogs to read and competitions to take part in.
Here’s what you can do to polish your skills when you are in high school.
- Take part in the Capture The Flag contest held by ctftime.org
- Go and attend DEFCON. Don’t hesitate to talk to strangers and make friends who are well above your age. Everyone at the DEFCON is a cybersecurity enthusiast and has tons of knowledge under their belt. These are the right people to talk to about what you can do in your current circumstances to gain and increase your skills in the industry.
- Get IRC and find a community where cool projects are hacked as a hobby. You’ll hack something out of your league with the help of community members gaining experience on the go.
- Consider doing certifications only after you have gained enough fundamental experiences listed above.
If that isn’t enough, you can go an extra mile by securing your systems at home and then setting up a server and trying to break in yourself. You can also sit and wait for natural attacks to happen while you set countermeasures. You can also challenge your friends to try and break in your server while you set countermeasures for them. They could do the same for you.
You can also volunteer to help communities over the internet in any way you can. There are tons of places where you are openly invited to take on a project and work along with group members to secure, hack or even defend a live attack.
You can get a lot of information if you somehow manage to make friends with an IT expert. As mentioned above, IT experts are easily available at the DEFCON. You can also find them on forums over the internet. If you’re lucky, you might even land a freelance job from IT experts who think you have got the passion it takes to become the best in cybersecurity.
If you work hard and learn quickly, you will find yourself being noticed by the best in the industry. Keep in mind that IT experts are always on the lookout for young talented kids like you. So aim high to please their senses with your skills and you are on the right path to become a major force to reckon with in the IT security industry.