Is a Career in Cybersecurity right for you?

By Tony Marshall
President and CEO
Innovative Systems Group (ISG)

Bestselling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” offers this advice, “begin with the end in mind.” If at the end of your educational journey you hope to start a rewarding career, you should consider a career in cybersecurity. The cybersecurity field offers scores of in-demand jobs with competitive salaries across the country and right here in Mississippi. According to Cyber Seek, there are currently over 800 cybersecurity jobs open in Mississippi and thousands more available in every state in the country. See a live heatmap of cybersecurity jobs across the country

At Innovative Systems Group, we estimate that by 2020 there will be 1.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States. If you look internationally, the numbers are even more staggering. Young people might overlook careers in cyber because they are intimidated by the complexity of the field. It is important to keep in mind that many of the tasks you take on for the first time appear to be complex and intimidating. There was a time when all of us were stumbling around holding on to coffee tables and walls as we tried to learn to walk. After some practice and effort, for most of us, it became so easy that we don’t even think about it.

Learning to walk is not much different than learning most things in life; it takes practice and careful steps. First, we crawl. Then, we walk. Finally, we run. Learning a new skill might seem daunting at first, but after some exposure, practice, and effort, we can learn to do most anything – including how to become a cybersecurity specialist, analyst, or engineer.

There are a wide variety of cybersecurity jobs. One of the misconceptions is that cyber jobs are limited to just “geeks” or what I refer to as binary thinkers. While there are many jobs for good binary thinkers, there are several positions for other personality types as well. The National Institute for Cyber Education (NICE) has developed a great tool that illustrates the cybersecurity career pathway and how a cyber aspirant can proceed to their specified goal. Learn more

While there are many pathways to a successful career in cybersecurity, as an employer, I have found great success using apprenticeship as a work-based learning and development tool. Next week I’ll share how apprenticeship programs are creating opportunities for people to gain the skills they need to pursue rewarding careers in cyber while earning a living.

Tony Marshall is the president and CEO of Innovative Systems Group (ISG), a cybersecurity service provider and career development center that focuses on all areas of cyber security including penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and training. Learn more about ISG by visiting them at

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