North Dakota State University CISO Discusses What Makes A Successful Leader

With a shortage of skilled IT security workers, there is plentiful room for aspiring cybersecurity professionals to take on leadership roles within the industry.

Having a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or the equivalent function in an organization has become a standard in business, government and non-profit sectors. With more than 80 percent of large organizations employing a CISO, we wanted to interview CISOs across a wide-array of institutions, with varying certifications and backgrounds. This month’s featured CISO is Theresa Semmens of North Dakota State University (NDSU).

Theresa Semmens CISO North Dakota State University Silverbull
Photo Courtesy of Theresa Semmens

Theresa Semmens has worked at NDSU since 2003 and has worked in information security for over 14 years. During her career, Semmens served five years on SANS’ Higher Education Board and has been an active member of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of higher education through information technology. Aside from being involved in various infosec committees, Semmens has given countless lectures and presentations on various topics about the industry.

Apart from her strong interest in computer information systems, what drew Semmens to a career in information security was her interest in human behavior.

“Without the human element, there would be no need for information security,” Semmens notes.

By pairing her two interests, Semmens found a career she finds “challenging, invigorating, rewarding and frustrating at times,” but enjoys the fact that no two days on-the-job are ever the same.

For Semmens, one of the accomplishments that she is the most proud of is employing NDSU student security analysts to assist with the day-to-day IT security functions around the office while preparing the students for successful careers in cybersecurity.

“Two of the four individuals that we have hired, have been hired into full-time information security positions with well-known companies. The companies have been impressed with the student’s knowledge and experience,” Semmens notes.

For professionals looking to advance their careers in the cybersecurity industry, Semmens offers the following advice on what it takes to be a successful leader and how to develop the necessary skills to be an effective leader.

How do I know if I would enjoy managing vs. doing?

You need to determine within yourself if you like to guide, encourage, coach and direct, or if you would “rather do it yourself.”  Are you a visionary? Do you have a broad overall picture that you can contribute to the company? Know who you are and what your preferences are. If you are not comfortable providing guidance and direction and dealing with the bigger vision of the department or division, you may not be suited to leadership.

My advice to those looking to become leaders is to develop a vision – determine and visualize where you want to be in the next two years, next five years, and next ten years. Develop a plan of action that is strategic – determine what you will need to do and accomplish to reach those milestones. Be willing to adapt and detour – life will throw up barriers! Those detours and barriers will be your best life experiences to learn from.

How do I know if I would make a good IT manager or if I am more ideally suited for coding, UI and technical work?

  1. Do you like working with people?
  2. Do you like to teach others skills?
  3. Are you often asked to be a lead on teams?
  4. Are you comfortable being in front of and speaking to groups of people?
  5. Are you comfortable with scrutiny, contention and conflict?
  6. Are you good at resolving personality differences?
  7. Are you forward thinking and a visionary?
  8. Do you see the big picture and not just the details?
  9. Do you have an ethical mindset that is critical for a successful CISO?

If so, you may have the talent and skill set to serve as a manager. On the other hand, if you don’t like doing a lot of the items mentioned above, you might be better suited to a technical profession where you don’t have to deal with “people” issues. If you are good with organizational behavior, you will most likely be well suited for management.

What does it take to be a successful IT manager?

To be successful in leadership, you have to have a genuine interest in the human factor. Leadership integrates the “technical” with the human and social aspects of technology. It is the nexus between your workforce and executive leadership. It is how you meld your vision and forward direction into what fits and blends with the business vision, mission and objectives of the company. It is about creating the best environment possible for your staff to be productive and effective.

To do this, you need to be genuinely interested and concerned about people, who they are, how they work and what their expectations are as well as yours. It is relationship behavior and the soft skills needed to lead. Often managers focus on the personality and not the problem! Great managers and leaders lead by example and inspiration. They give credit and recognition to those who have earned it. They coach and guide those with potential to build up confidence and self-esteem to create a sense of worth and high morale in their teams and staff.

How do I develop the skills I need to be an effective leader?

For those who are interested in moving into a leadership/management role, you have to demonstrate that you are interested and willing to serve in those roles. Seek out opportunities within your department or division where you can highlight your leadership skills. Some suggestions include:

  • Volunteering to lead a small team that is serving on a section of a large project. While serving as a lead on that team, do you naturally encourage and support your team members to be innovative and creative? Do you offer constructive praise and criticism?  Are you diverse and ensure that all members have the same opportunities or encourage them to take all opportunities afforded to them?
  • Work with an intern to help grow them in the skills they are trying to acquire for their chosen vocation. This is actually a great way to learn about management, because in this role you are serving as a guide, coach, teacher, leader, confidant and mentor. You will be working not only with teaching the intern the skills they need, but also how to learn and navigate the environment, culture and climate of the company.
  • Take professional development courses or college courses on leadership and management.
  • Visit with your director – let them know your intentions.  A good director will work with you to help point out what you need to do to take the next steps into a leadership role. Advanced degrees and certification can be beneficial in obtaining your goals towards leadership. Both help to demonstrate that you are a continuous learner and want to further your knowledge and expertise.
  • Don’t be afraid to search for opportunities outside of your workplace. If you belong to professional organizations, volunteer to serve on committees and work groups. This gives you the ability to network with others within your field, which will provide you opportunities for growth and development. I have been involved with EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association for IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education, for the past several years. Through my involvement with EDUCAUSE, I have been able to lead workgroups, serve and co-lead a program committee.
  • Handling crucial conversations and conversations involving contention and disagreement is a required skill. Crucial conversations can include anything from campaigning for new needs that require an increased or additional budget to handling a dispute between two key talented staff members. Those conversations need to be multi-lingual. You have to learn to speak the varied languages within the business – accounting, marketing, sales, etc. Talk to them in their language, terms, or a story they can understand and assimilate. Most importantly, learn how to deliver a message that might have negative connotations in a positive format and tone.


Interested in learning the in-and-outs of the cybersecurity industry from senior level professionals? Then check back for our next CISO feature article coming soon.

Last month’s featured CISO: Virginia Tech’s CISO shares how the main threats and dangers universities face from hackers.

US Cyber Challenge Plans to Expand Efforts to Narrow the InfoSec Skills Gap

Now in its sixth year the US Cyber Challenge has plans to expand its efforts to help budding cybersecurity professionals receive the tools and support they need to grow in the industry

USCC National Director Karen Evans
Photo Courtesy of Karen Evans

With the growing need for cybersecurity talent, the question of how to narrow the IT security skills gap still remains. Estimates from the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 show a deficit of over 300,000 trained cybersecurity professionals in the workforce.

Earlier in 2016 President Barack Obama addressed the issue emphasizing the need for cybersecurity talent to keep U.S. businesses and citizens safe. The White House put out a new the new Cybersecurity National Action Plan that is putting a lot of resources toward increasing the cybersecurity workforce and the talent of its workers.

That’s where the US Cyber Challenge comes in to help. With a goal to identify 10,000 skilled cybersecurity workers, the US Cyber Challenge (USCC) program is taking a hard skills-focused approach to help identify and groom future top cybersecurity talent.

Since its formation in 2010 the USCC has implemented online competitions aimed to attract and identify top talent through what are called Cyber Quests. These online exams were created to identify a test taker’s aptitude for solving cybersecurity problems by assessing a wide variety of online security skills. Participants who answer the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time are then invited to attend one of the USCC’s week-long summer Cyber Camps. For summer 2016 these camps will take place in Illinois, Delaware and Utah.

At these on-site Cyber Camps qualified participants get a chance to develop their security skills while being recognized for their achievements via scholarships, internships and jobs.

In an interview with GovInfoSecurity National Director of the USCC Karen Evans said that these competitions are to identify talent at all levels, not necessarily just the high-end forensic skills, and be able to get those qualified candidates the right resources for a successful cybersecurity career depending on their strengths.

The future of USCC

The next steps for USCC will be to build out the CyberCompEx (CCX) platform that it manages, which according to its website is an online resource to “connect the workforce with employers in the cybersecurity industry.” CCX will continue to assist those who want to make career changes as well as further facilitate connecting the young generation of cybersecurity workers with employers. Evans plans to keep building up CCX and eventually will add a feature for employers to post their jobs and search for prospective job candidates possessing specific cyber skills to fill those roles. The CCX database will also provide employers with individual and team competition results. In order to access these special features, employers will have to pay a CCX membership fee.

“Right now our immediate purpose is to be the one-stop online location for people to learn about active competitions and other cybersecurity news and events,” Evans notes. “We are currently piloting a job-seeker and employer functionality. We hope to roll it out to a broader network of employers in the upcoming months.”

USCC also plans to offer resources for employers to construct their own mini cybersecurity competitions to enhance their current job application and interviewing process says Evans. This will give employers the ability to test and score potential new hires on specific cyber skills, rather than simply rely on resume statements and interview responses.

Instructor teaching at US CyberSecurity Challenge
Photo Courtesy of the US Cyber Challenge

Bridging the skills gap for nextgen workers

The opportunity for cybersecurity enthusiasts to showcase their hard skills to prospective employers at the Cyber Camps is especially important for younger participants who are interested to start a cybersecurity career because sometimes specific roles will require five to 10 years of prior experience. Through the USCC program students are potentially able to bypass years of experience and prove to employers they have a specific skills sets needed to be successful on the job. Another benefit is that the USCC can mentor younger students and direct them to get a degree in computer science or related fields that will put them on a path toward success.

While hard coding and tech skills are used to qualify summer bootcamp participants, “it’s the soft skills which ensure future success in the workplace,” says Evans. “At the camps we’ve always had the last day include an in-person “capture-the-flag” competition where camp participants work in teams. They compete as individuals and learn to work in teams just as you would in the workforce,” says Evans.

How USCC helps employers find top-tier talent

Employers attend these events to scout out potential employees with advanced technical skills, but, as Evans notes, these competitions should not to take place of “traditional methods such as the interview,” rather an alternative way to assess a potential employee’s skills. Employers also attend USCC events to witness how competitors interact with one another on teams during the “capture-the-flag” event and handle time pressure.After all, employers know that people skills are just as important as hard coding skills in the workplace.

Employers in search of cyber talent can find USCC’s competitions listed on their website and on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education’s website. “Potential employers can search competitions for the skills they are seeking and contact those hosting organizations directly,” Evans said.

Evans points out some of the upsides of being a USCC sponsor.

“At our camps, we have always offered opportunities for camp sponsors to make contact with our camp participants in person at our camps at a job fair we host during the week and we also provide them with resumes for each of our participants.”

Aside from sponsoring USCC boot camps, employers can join the USCC’s CCX community, as noted above. Evans notes that this online community includes many of USCC’s past camp participants as well as cybersecurity enthusiasts who haven’t participated in the program.

USCC Groupwork Silverbull
Photo Courtesy of the USCC

How does the USCC measure its success

USCC’s goal is to continue to get repeatable results from the competitions and be able to show employers the USCC’s competition method works to identify top talent. Evans says she has received positive feedback from employers who have attended the summer camps and consider the competitions a good indicator of an individual’s true skills.

“With the next phase of implementation, it is our expectation to gather more data to support the use of competitions as a complement for education and experience,” Evans notes.

With the build up of the CCX platform, the USCC plans to put together data about what happens to an individual who is recruited into a new role by gathering insight from employers about how successful they are.

One success story comes from the Doug Logan, the CEO of the software security consulting company Cyber Ninjas, who was a 2010 pilot program high scorer who was invited to USCC’s first Cyber Camp.

“Not only did the USCC help kick off my cyber security career, but I know of dozens of similar stories. It is great to be able to give back by sponsoring the US Cyber Challenge and ensure that others get the same opportunity I had,” Logan notes.

Logan is now a sponsor, and teacher, at USCC challenges because Logan says he values that the USCC is “one of a handful of organizations in our country which is directly taking on the cybersecurity workforce problem.”

Other sponsorship benefits Logan notes are being able to network at the camps to bring about business opportunities as well as expand his sub-contracting network.

“Every year the US Cyber Challenge provides us with a list of several hundred top caliber entry-level candidates, without requiring us to go through thousands of resumes. These candidates almost universally have a deep passion for security and learning…passion is critical for staying on top of the continuous learning required in this field.”

Through these events with the support of numerous sponsors does the USCC continue its efforts to bridge the skills gap and expand its resources for employers searching to top-tier talent.

Registration for the April 2016 Cyber Quest closes May 5, 2016. Anyone interested can go to: to register. Quizzes must be submitted by the end of the day on May 6, 2016.

Why the Video Interview is the Latest Hiring Trend

Learn why are companies turing to the web-based video interview.

Many companies are turning to the video interview for their hiring needs. Some companies are having video interviews take the place of initial phone interviews. Speaking virtually face-to-face with candidates, can give an interviewer a better understanding of the candidate. By doing a video interview as a first round interview, it can help the hiring team further narrow down who will make it to the second round of interviews, more so than a phone interview.

While many are using the video interviews as the first round of interviews, some organizations are also using it in place of an in-person interview. Companies are turning to this option because doing a video interview it can speed up the hiring process, sometimes by even two weeks.The Video Interview | Silverbull

In-person interviews can take awhile to schedule, the candidate needs to take into account travel time, and they typically last longer than a video interview. A video interview can typically be scheduled quicker and that can speed up the process.

There are several different types of video interviews that employers now conduct, the first being a standard Skype or Facetime call. These technologies are something that most candidates and employers have access to already and they are free to use for one-on-one video calling. The downside to these types of interviews is that they are not always easy to record. Skype currently does not have a built-in recording feature and Facetime does, but not everyone has Apple products.

Many companies like to record video interviews to get feedback from other team members, who may not have been involved in the actual interview. Because of this, many companies have turned to other technologies. Some employers will send a candidate a program where a questions pops up that they are expected to answer. Candidates have an allotted time to review the question, compose an answer, and then the program starts recording them. This type of interview is typically done as a first round interview, it does not require an interviewer to be present and it allows the candidate to do it at a time that is convenient for them.

Other technologies allow a company to conduct a virtual face-to-face interview, like Skype, but they are still able to record it. Some of these platforms also allow multiple people to join in on the interview as well. PC World gives a good overview of the some of the better interviewing platforms out there. Their list includes, Interview4, Montage, InterviewStream, Jobvite and Zoom. Hirevue is another very popular service.

Video interviews are quick, efficient and cost-effective, but not everyone has the best experience with them. According to Business News Daily, video interviews puts barriers between candidates and employers, that are not there during in-person interviews, making both the candidates and interviewers come-off as less likable.

In the end, there are pros and cons to conducting video interviews in place of phone or in-person interviews. Organizations need to evaluate all the different interview processes and options and find what works best for them.

Discover the latest cybersecurity hiring trends in our article “5 Surprisingly Statistics and Recent Cybersecurity Hiring Trends.”

Increase in Entry-level Cyber Security Jobs for Recent College Graduates

Entry-level cyber security jobs are in demand.

Cybersecurity is a hot industry right now that is rapidly expanding. Companies are having trouble filling their mid and senior level roles, and many are not focused on their future. Organizations need to create succession plans to avoid having giant holes in their workforce down the road when the baby-boomers retire. However, some companies are starting to develop more entry-level cyber security jobs, giving recent college graduates the chance to jump into this growing industry.

Even though entry-level cybersecurity jobs are becoming more popular, there is not much variation in the types of jobs offered to recent college graduates. The cybersecurity industry has many different roles and positions available, but for entry-level positions, companies are offering basic Security Analyst-type roles. Though there is a slight range in the titles used (ex. Security Analyst, Security Specialist, Cybersecurity Engineer, Information Security Analyst), but most of the jobs have similar responsibilities.

These generic entry-level jobs allow recent graduates to break into the industry. Most roles are looking for candidates with a cybersecurity degree, or another IT related degree, strong technical skills, an understanding of software development and some hands-on experience through internships or their coursework.Increase in Entry-level Cyber Security Jobs | Silverbull

These entry-level roles typically involve testing and analyzing different security products and systems. These roles will expose a recent graduate to the industry and give candidates room to explore different career paths within the industry.

Many universities have jumped on the cybersecurity bandwagon too by creating cybersecurity degrees, allowing recent students to gain some experience in the industry. Some of the top programs in the country are listed here.

Cybersecurity is in demand, even if your school does not offer a cybersecurity-specific degree, it is a career you should consider. According to U.S. News & World Report, employees in cybersecurity tend to make $15,000 more on average than a typical IT job, with an average salary of $116,000. In addition to making a good living, it is an exciting industry that is quickly growing.

Interested in a cybersecurity career? Check out which certifications will give you a competitive advantage right here.

Defining Career Goals in the Cybersecurity Industry

Being a CISO isn’t the only aspiration for many cybersecurity professionals.

When speaking with candidates, I always like to ask where they see their career path going. Most of them say that they would like to eventually be a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) or something along those lines. However, there are many different career paths one could take in the cybersecurity industry.Cybersecurity Career Goals | Silverbull

CISO’s play different roles depending on the organizational structure and size of the company. In larger organizations, a CISO-type role can be more of a thought leader, driving security strategy, but the person is no longer involved with the technical aspects of security. They lead teams, develop the game plan, but they are also more of liaison to the other C-Suite members. They play more of a business role rather than a technical role.

Some professionals prefer roles where they are a “Security Evangelist.” They travel and speak at conferences and conventions about the company they work for and security practices. This blog post by David Holmes, who was a Security Evangelist for F5, provides a good idea of what this role entails.

In other organizations, a CISO does the above-mentioned tasks, but they are also still the point of escalation when an issue arises. They still use their technical skills when needed. When searching for new opportunities it is important to remember what type of CISO you would like to be. You should examine the organizational structure of each company, the size of the company and really understand what type of role you will be playing. It is also important to speak with other leaders in the business and make sure information security is prioritized in this organization.

While a CISO-type or thought-leader role might be the end goal for some, is not the job everyone. I have also spoken with different candidates who prefer not to take a leadership role within the business-side of things. They prefer to stay technical; they do not want to sit in meetings all day, they would rather focus on performing. Candidates with this preference might be more interested in a Lead Architect or Principal Architect role. These roles are very senior-level and typically involve developing different security practices and strategies, but they also stay very technical.

Overall, there are many different paths your career can take in the cybersecurity industry, as it is constantly evolving and new roles are being created all the time. Do your research and really think about the type of role you would like to one-day hold.

Learn about the no. 1 complaint from cybersecurity professionals right here.

Which Cyber Security Certifications Are Worth It?

There are countless cyber security certifications. Discover the ones that are really worth it.

As a recruiter I see many different job descriptions, all with varying requirements; some require five different cyber security certifications, others just say a certain certification is preferred. In the cybersecurity industry there are many different certifications that one can get, but from working in the recruiting industry, there are some that are more valuable than others.

  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) – This certification is probably the most useful certification to invest in. If not listed as a requirement, most senior-level cybersecurity jobs have it listed as a preferred requirement. This certification requires at least five years of paid full-time experience. Once you pass the exam, it also requires an endorsement from another certified professional and reaccreditation every three years. The (ISC)2 issues all certifications.
  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) – For jobs that deal with penetration testing or vulnerability management, this certification is nearly always a requirement. To receive this certification, a candidate must take a training course at an Accredited Training Center or conduct a self-study and submit two years of relevant information security work experience. The current exam is the EC-Council’s.Cyber Security Certifications | Silverbull
  • CompTia Security + – This certification is great for someone who is interested in becoming a CISSP, but is not quite there yet, experience-wise. According to the CompTia website, this certification will include, “the most important foundational principles for securing a network and managing risk.” This role requires 2 years of relevant work and the passing of the exam.
  • CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) – This certification is useful if you would like a career as an auditor doing risk and compliance work in the information security industry. The ISACA holds the exams and conducts the certification process for the CISA.

While there are many more security certifications out there, these four are the most useful to have, as they are the ones that tend to appear most in job descriptions. To be a stellar candidate, you do not need to have all of these certifications. Start off with a Security+ and then decide what type of career path you would like to head down and pursue the certifications most relevant to those opportunities.

Check out our article on how to stay up-to-date on all the the latest cybersecurity trends and education.

How to Utilize your LinkedIn Connections for Networking

Don’t underestimate the power of using your LinkedIn connections during your job search.

LinkedIn is changing the way we network with like-minded professionals and the way we get jobs. Recruiters and employers now use LinkedIn to look for candidates and to evaluate candidates.Utlizing LinkedIn Connections | Silverbull Having an up-to-date profile and an active presence will help you grow your network and connect with people and opportunities that may not have been an option before.

Here are some quick tips on how to better brand yourself:

  • Have a profile picture – This may seem minor, but it will help someone remember you as a real person, rather than just an online profile page.
  • Update your job history and include descriptions – By doing this, you will come up more often in searches. It will also give someone viewing your profile a better idea of what you do and what you enjoy doing.
  • Have a summary – This brief paragraph can describe your career and your passions. Maybe mention areas or fields that you have dabbled in, but would like to explore further in your career. It might encourage others with those potential opportunities to reach out.
  • Publish posts – If you work in a field day-to-day, you come to learn it inside and out. You make mistakes and you learn from them and you develop insights and opinions on happenings in the field. Publish these thoughts into a post on LinkedIn and you will start a conversation with others in your network, sometimes even beyond your first-degree connections.
  • Be active about connecting with people – Growing your network is key. It will allow you to start conversations with other people in your field. You can learn from them and network with their connections. According to this article by Forbes, having 500+ connections tells others viewing your profile that you are a veteran on LinkedIn and that others think you carry some value by having you in their network.
  • Participate – You should like other people’s updates, check in with past colleagues, congratulate them on new endeavors, join groups that you have an interest in and participate in discussions. All of these actions will help you network further and actually develop relationships with your connections.
  • Stay professional – Just like the workplace, LinkedIn is not the place for politics. It is not Facebook or Twitter and you do not want to be arguing with people in your network, hurting your chances for a potential opportunity.

If you have a LinkedIn account, you might as well maximize all of its potential. Networking and making real connections will only help you. You never know when your dream job may come knocking….

Follow Silverbull on LinkedIn for the latest cybersecurity hiring and industry news.

How to Be Prepared for A Cyber Attack

Follow the Girl Scout Motto and Be Prepared for a Cyber Attack.

Cybersecurity is not something to think about just when an attack happens; everyone needs to be on his or her toes, both at work and at home. Attacks are happening daily, to both business and individuals and are causing huge problems. Here are some tips on how to be prepared and how to try and prevent them from happening to you


Getting attacked by a hacker affects your business, your reputation and your customers. It is very important to have as many measures as you can in place to prevent a cyber attack.

  • Know your vulnerabilities. Hire a consultant to come in and tell you where there are holes in your infrastructure and then fix them.
  • Be proactive. I know this might seem expensive now, but in the long run it will save you money and time. This is one of the situations where you always think it will not happen to you, until it does. Cleaning up after an attack is always more timely and more expensive than having the proper measures in place to prevent one.
  • Develop a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) type role for your organization. A CISO is able to analyze data and security needs and translate them into business initiatives. They can organize all of your security initiatives and translate them into attainable goals and they work directly with upper management to make it clear what needs to be prioritized within the business.

Individuals:be prepared for a cyber attack Silverbull

Businesses that we frequent have their own vulnerabilities; many of them have been attacked, including places like Target and Home Depot. These attacks have left our personal information up for grabs.

Now that this has happened time and time again, we have to keep our eyes out for people misusing our information.

  • Keep a constant eye on all of your bank and credit card statements, even the tiniest charge that you can’t remember spending, might be a sign of a hacker using your information.
  • File for you taxes early. Some criminals now have access to people’s tax information and file their taxes to steal their tax refund. If you file your taxes right away there is less of a chance of this happening.
  • Close any credit cards/debit cards that you know have been used at a business where there was a breach. Most banks are more than happy to do this and send you a new card. Many banks, like Bank of America, do this on their own.

In addition to people stealing your financial information, people now have hacked people’s cars, smartphones, personal computers and smartwatches. Keep your eyes out for any sign of something not working properly or acting strange, it may be because someone has compromised it.

Check out the 10 Biggest Data Breaches of 2015.

The Learning Never Stops With Cybersecurity Education

Evolving technologies leave cybersecurity professionals no other choice than to stay up-to-date on the latest cyber threats and skills needed to prevent hacks.

The information security and cybersecurity industry is constantly evolving and continuous learning will help you always bring your A-Game. When leaders are asked how their employees can better themselves, most of them say that they should take the time to learn new things, explore other paths and have an open mind to trying new or different solutions. There are always new technologies and it can not ever hurt to explore them. You never know, maybe a new technology will be better than your existing set-up.

In addition to technologies constantly evolving, hackers’ techniques are always changing. The bad guys are not going to stop trying to find new ways to steal information, so we need to be on the defense and find new ways to stop them and prevent them from attacking. It is better to be one step ahead than one step behind.

cybersecurity educationIn addition to bettering yourself for your current position, learning more will help you stand out amongst a sea of candidates, when you decide to make a change in your career. Hiring managers appreciate people who take it upon themselves to learn more and gain additional skills. If it comes down to you and one other candidate who has a very similar resume and personality, the employer is going to choose the candidate who has taken an extra step to be an expert in their field.

Advice? Take training courses, get more certifications, or get another degree. If you have to choose one, work towards getting a certification. More often than not in a cybersecurity job requirement, the employer requires a current certification, such as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), or a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), more than anything else. That being said, certifications are not the be-all and end-all. Taking even just one additional training course and gaining experience can help you stay current in your field. Investing in yourself will pay off in the long run.

Discover which cybersecurity certifications are worth it by clicking here.

6 Tips for IT Job Seekers to Ease the Recruiting Process

Starting a job search can be a daunting prospect. SilverBull has 6 job search tips for IT job seekers looking to find their next career step.

IT Job Search Tips for IT Job Seekers

Many times when speaking with IT job seekers they say they’re open to anything, whether it be location or salary; however this typically is not the case. Someone who is used to city life probably is not going to want to move and work at a company that is in the middle of nowhere. If you are open to moving, but want to stay within the surrounding area of a major city, tell the recruiter. It will help them narrow down their search, which will bring you one step closer to finding your ideal opportunity.

The same thing goes for salary; many times candidates will say, “I am not driven by salary,” or “I am open to negotiations for the right opportunity,” but you need to be truly honest with both yourself and the recruiter. Everyone has a number in their head that they are hoping to make or need to make to sustain their lifestyle. Even if it is your dream job, most people will not be willing to take a $50,000 a year pay cut. This honesty will prevent misunderstandings and in the end will save both you and the recruiter time, leading to better jobs being presented to you.

Here are our IT job search tips for the job seekers out there:

  1. Location – Be specific. Ex. “I want to stay on the West Coast, and live close to a major city.”
  2. Money – Give a salary range, even a wide range, so the recruiter knows the lowest you will accept, but the recruiter will still aim for the high end.
  3. Company size – Where do you prefer working? Some people prefer a Fortune 500, while others are looking to stay small and would be open to start-ups. Choose one side of the spectrum.
  4. Industry – If you have worked in the financial sector and loved it, tell the recruiter that. They want to help you find your best fit.
  5. Job title – Many people say, job title does not matter. But it does, or at least the seniority of the job does. Be specific and say if you want a leadership position, or if you want to stay very technical, or if you want a combination of both.
  6. Network – Building a strong LinkedIn network will put you in touch with recruiters, allow you to see the jobs they are currently hiring for, and make strong connections in the industry.

The most important thing to remember when speaking with a recruiter is to be honest, otherwise they are probably going to come to you with job after job that you are not interested in. They will appreciate you knowing what you want and it will help them find the best fit for you much more quickly. At the end of the day, that is the goal for the recruiter and for you.

We hope you found these IT job search tips to be useful and that you find a great new job! Be sure to follow us to get more job tips and cybersecurity news.