Are you a cybersecurity professional looking to rise through the ranks? For that, you need to develop technical and soft skills to professionally hop through the ranks. It has been seen that from April 2017 to March 2018, only 105,000 positions were filled out of the 122,000 job postings in the US for information security analysts.  Managerial level vacancies are also playing a crucial part in this talent gap. It is estimated that this skill gap will grow steadily in the upcoming years.  Now is an opportunity to grab a deserving job role.
Also, as per the last updated data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages for InfoSec analysts is $95,510 per year while the median annual wage for all US workers was $37,690 as of May 2017.  The increasing skill gap and lucrative salary trends make this industry the most desirable one. Having said that, high-ranking officials from this industry directly report to the management board or the CEO of the company. This professional arrangement increases the chances of cybersecurity professionals to climb further in their career graph in a short span of time.
For a long-term career path, cybersecurity professionals need to plan strategically to get hold of their prospects. Develop important skills and obtain what you need to get ahead of others, these two requirements will take you to heights.
Step 1 – Taking Up Progressive Certifications
The value of technical certifications in IT security is much higher than one can anticipate. This is one of the major advantages over others with no accredited technical certifications. From entry-level job seekers to chief level position holders, credible certifications add a unique value to its holder. EC-Council’s below-listed programs will help you at different levels of your career-
1. Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH)
For beginners and middle-level managers, Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) offers a perfect gateway to stand out in an applicant pool. It not only brings credibility to your professional profile but helps you to develop all the required technical skills. The program is accredited by ANSI and is formally integrated with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Workforce Improvement program. It covers all the major aspects of information security that a beginner needs to start a career in cybersecurity. Along with that, the program deals with the latest topics like IoT hacking, cloud security, vulnerability assessment, and all the advanced malware threats which makes it suitable for mid-level cybersecurity jobs. To learn the usage of state-of-the-art tools, you will be exposed to a real-time environment to combat the latest cyber threats. C|EH is a globally recognized credential which is designed in accordance with the current market demand so that you can score better opportunities.
2. EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)
EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) offers a window to mid-level managers to gain advanced knowledge in network security and information security. The program is dedicated to penetration testing methodologies and thus covers all the technologies, tools, and techniques to secure and protect an organization’s systems and network infrastructure, effectively and efficiently. This credential is apt for security architects, security consultants, and penetration testers. The hands-on lab sessions will help you acquire the technical skills that an organization looks for in its candidates.
3. Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT) Master
For expert level job openings, Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT) Master is the best program any professional can ask for. The program is designed in a way that helps organizations differentiate a novice applicant and an expert one. This is the ultimate pentest credential that covers all the advanced techniques to identify all the major and latest cyberattacks. It makes sure that you possess the skills required to rise in your career. The real world and methodical approach of this program make it different from the others.
These exams not only test you based on your technical skills, but it also ensures your determination and passion for the job role.
Step 2- Strong Communication Skills
As already mentioned earlier, it is important that you have a strong hold on your communication skills. A cybersecurity professional with an aspiration to grow in their career must know that direct contact with higher-management of the organization is an important role. This makes it important for you to be able to communicate security issues to the management board. From fund arrangement to report writing, communication skills play an important role for you to grow in your cybersecurity career.
Step 3 – In-Depth Understanding of Roles and Responsibilities
If you are dedicated to growing in your industry, then make sure you understand the practical nature of the role you are eyeing. The roles and responsibilities of a C-level position holder are bigger than a mid-level managerial post. This is often only realized when testing your knowledge in real-world scenarios. As already mentioned, all the above-listed programs come with a thorough hands-on element. Getting through these exams are not easy and require real technical knowledge. As these exams are mapped in accordance with all the scenarios that you will be facing in your dream job, it will give you the taste of what is coming your way. With that, connecting with current professionals in the industry will help you nurture the skills required.
A calculated approach of ambitious professionals will help them strategize a better career plan. It is important to remember that a cybersecurity career advancement is meant for those who are open to evolving at a rapidly increasing pace.
Sources:  https://www.cyberseek.org/index.html