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Basic Technical Skills Needed to Start a Career in Cybersecurity

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Hello everyone, its been some time since we last updated our blog. Recently during our penetration testing, auditing engagements & training, we have been coming across multiple queries from professionals and students alike with a common query - "How to start our career in Cybersecurity?" or "How can we switch our career to Cybersecurity?". The answer to this question is not very straightforward. Based on the individual who asks this question, the current skillset will be the starting point answer to this question. However, we can mention some points that will help most of the individuals in getting their answers. Let's talk about these points in a little more detail.

As the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is on the rise, but starting a career in this field can be challenging without the necessary technical skills. In this blog post, we will discuss the 7 basic technical skills that are essential to kickstart a career in cybersecurity.

Understanding of Networking Protocols:

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To succeed in cybersecurity, you need a solid understanding of networking protocols, such as TCP/IP, HTTP, SMTP, and FTP. This knowledge will help you understand how networks operate and how attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in them. Here, we would mention our observations that students tend to ignore these important foundations of networking protocols which are the essential building blocks to advance and succeed in #cybersecurity Always remember that the networking is a crucial part powering the internet so it will be wise to atleast have a foundational understanding about networks and networking concepts and protocols.

Knowledge of Operating Systems:

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A good understanding of various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS, is essential. This knowledge will help you identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities in these systems. As knowledge of an Operating System helps you in multiple ways, depending on the organisation or system you are testing or evaluating, there will certainly be an active operating system that will be needed in assessment from your side or a package or application that you could be testing, that be running on an operating system like a Windows server or a Linux server. So, if you know properly how to interact and navigate through the operating system and its permissions, filesystem and various other necessary modes, you will certainly have a very good output from your assessment.

Familiarity with Security Tools :

You should be familiar with popular security tools, such as Wireshark, Nmap, Metasploit, and Snort, to identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities. Additionally, an understanding of intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), firewalls, and other security technologies is crucial. If we talk about network security, then the tool 'nmap' known as the 'king of scanners' is the best open source tool on your side. Nmap has extensive documentation and tons of tutorials available online. If you wish to learn nmap security scanner the correct way, structured in detailed format, then you can checkout our udemy course on nmap. You can contact us to get Udemy discount coupon for our course - Network Security Audting with nmap.

Another Excellent tool that you can learn is Wireshark. This tool too is opensource and tons of tutorials along with extensive documentation is available on its official website. You can visit the Wireshark website to download and learn more.

Another tool or we can say a framework is Rapid7's Metasploit framework. To start learning metasploit for free you can visit the free course - Metasploit Unleashed

These are just the most basic tools that you need to start learning rightaway at a basic level. You can also learn about tools like Snort which is an open source IDS/IPS tool. Try setting up this tool and play with it. This will give you an idea how to configure security tools. You can also configure and deploy open source firewall - pfSense read the documentation and try deploying it in either a virtual environment or if you have an old laptop/desktop/server. Remember, practice is the key.

Understanding of Cryptography:

Cryptography is an essential aspect of cybersecurity. You should have a good understanding of various cryptographic algorithms and protocols, such as AES, RSA, SSL/TLS, and PKI. This knowledge will help you secure communications, authenticate users, and protect data from unauthorized access.

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Here, you are not expected to be a crypto expert, but you should have basic knowledge to understand how cryptography works in different scenarios. For instance, how an SSL/TLS handshake works and what are attacks related to SSL/TLS and other cryptanalysis attacks.

Programming Skills:

Basic programming skills in any language can be helpful. This knowledge will help you write scripts to automate security tasks and identify vulnerabilities in software.

Another question that we often get is - "Which is the best programming language for cyber security?". There is no single answer. This purely depends on your preference for programming language.

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You can choose to learn any language - C, C++, Python, Bash, Powershell, perl, ruby, etc. For your scripting needs.

Web development languages like - HTML, JavaScript, PHP, ruby on rails, etc. It purely depends on your choice. The least you can learn is how to read the code and understand the logic flow of the code in front of your eyes.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:

To identify and mitigate vulnerabilities, you need strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You should be able to analyze data, identify patterns, and come up with creative solutions to problems.

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Just like in programming, here critical thinking and problem solving skills are needed. This skill can be acquired by working and gaining more experience in this field. The more you interact and work with teams, you will learn this over time. So, keep challenging yourself and keep learning. This is the key.

Continuous Learning:

To stay current, you need to be committed to continuous learning. Keep up with the latest security trends, attend training courses, and obtain industry certifications.

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Cybsersecurity is a continuously evolving and dynamic field. Always remember that to go ahead and achieve your goals, continuous learning is extremely essential. There are multiple focus areas in this field. So, the more you are specialised, the more career advancement you will have. You need to learn on a daily basis and keep yourself updated on the latest security trends and vulnerabilities. Invest in specialised and internationally recognised certifications which are essentially required to be in certain job roles. These certifications serve you a dual purpose, one being is you get the relevant skillset that is needed to fulfil the expected task and other being is that you will be more preferred candidate to get ahead and get a suitable work promotion and pay raise.

Starting a career in cybersecurity requires a solid understanding of various technical skills. By developing these skills, you can build a successful career in this exciting field. It is crucial to have a passion for cybersecurity, continuous learning, and a willingness to keep up with the latest trends in the industry.

In case you have any doubt related to getting started in the field of cybersecurity, please visit our contact page and drop a message, we will certainly be happy to connect with you.

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