Reading Time: 2 minutesCybersecurity is a hot career field and with increasing breaches in all sectors of industry it doesn’t appear to be cooling off for some time. Every year there are more and more graduates entering the field and the competition for jobs is growing stiffer. While there are many qualified candidates, I often encounter recent computer tech/science graduates and individuals switching careers who are looking to enter the cybersecurity field but are not prepared to seize the job opportunity. After interviewing some and conversing with others, I learned that many are not prepared to seize the opportunity because they did not set the following five (5) goals. Become an “expert” in two areas Gain hands-on experience with open source tools Hone your soft skills Network with employed professionals Stay abreast of current trends and technology Become an “expert” in two areas Organizations hire applicants because there is more work than the current workforce can handle. They need people that can provide assistance in the shortest time frame possible. Being an “expert” in more than one area of your discipline will prevent you from being a one trick pony and increase your chances of filling a void on the team. For example, you could have a thorough understanding of a security framework and vulnerability assessments. Gain hands-on experience with open source tools Many of the tools used by Cybersecurity engineers, pentesters, and the like are freely available open source tools. Downloading these tools and becoming familiar with them should be a top priority since most operations use of one or more of them on the job. Additionally, many of the features and functionality of the open source tools are incorporated in commercial tools. Hone your non-technical skills Gone are the days when IT personnel worked in a corner and didn’t have to speak to anyone. Today, cybersecurity personnel present solutions to management, participate in request for comments, explain technical strategies to executives, collaborate with other departments, and provide user outreach. Therefore, it is important to hone your oratory skills, writing skills, presentation skills, and customer service skills. Network with employed professionals Most of the people I know find out about a job opportunities or were recommended by someone they knew on the job. Joining professional organizations and Meetup groups where you can not only learn and contribute but also meet employed professionals that are looking for candidates is a great place to network. There are plenty of free and inexpensive organizations in every area. Stay abreast of current trends and technology The cybersecurity field is constantly changing as the technology evolves and the adversary changes tactics. To stay current one must keep their finger on the pulse of the industry. This can be accomplished by signing up for free webinars, symposiums, inexpensive conferences. There are also more expensive security conferences but those can wait until you are employed. Are you prepared to seize a cybersecurity job opportunity? What do you think about these five goals? Tell me what you think in the comments.