How to Advance Your Career In Cybersecurity In A Virtual Work Environment

By: Jayton Harps


How to Advance Your Career In Cybersecurity In A Virtual Work Environment

Cyber security has emerged as one of the fastest-growing parts of the overall tech job market. As hackers and cyber criminals continue to attack businesses, companies are determined to hire cyber security professionals to protect their systems. According to a study by Tanium, 90% more cyberattacks were reported in the first two months of the pandemic due to shifting to a virtual work environment. Organizations are determined to hire cyber security experts, data analysts and more to keep up with the demand to secure their enterprises. If someone wanted to dive into this career, where do they start?

Invest in Certifications

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) offers certifications to gain skills for aspiring IT and cyber security professionals. If you have no experience in IT, the A+ certificate covers baseline security skills including privacy concerns, malware detection and removal, device hardening, and physical security. The certificate also covers the latest core technologies in operating systems (OS), data management, cloud computing, and more. 

After receiving the A+ certificate, the next is understanding networks. The Network+ certificate focuses on the skills needed to configure, design, troubleshoot, and manage wired and wireless networks. This is imperative to understand networking concepts and functionality in order to secure information. In addition, this helps implement networking standards, protocols, and policies to ensure business continuity.

CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications are the foundation of IT. By receiving these two certificates, a person can progress to achieve a Security+ for a cybersecurity career. The Security+ is the most chosen certificate by more defense organizations and corporations than any other certification on the market. Security+ covers organizational security assessment and incident response procedures such as risk mitigation techniques, basic threat detection, digital forensics, and security controls. Security+ also emphasizes hands-on practical skills to prepare a security professional to solve real world problems. Overall, by choosing this pathway will insure a person is ready to become a cyber security expert. 

Hands-on Experience

No better way to apply the security knowledge than doing them hands-on. This can be done by installing a software on your computer called VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a powerful virtualization product for home use to run applications. The virtual machine behaves like a computer and can run different types of OS such as Linux, Windows, Solaris, and more. A person can create their virtual environment and do experiments such as scanning, patching the system, navigating on the network, etc. This will sharpen the individual's skills to tackle any issues concerning security for the benefit of a company or organization.

Network at Defense Week

Networking is part of meeting people who show similar interests. Traditionally this would be in person, but the pandemic challenged us to connect online. One virtual experience that can offer this is Defense Week. 

Defense Week is a 5 day conference produced by Career Mingle and the National Society of Black Engineers San Diego Professional Chapter. The goal of the conference is to provide weeklong training, discussions, and workshops for an individual to pursue a career in the defense industry. Also the conference goal is to increase representation of underrepresented people, persons, students, professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, women, and more.

To learn more about Defense Week, visit


Jayton Harps

San Diego NSBE Professionals Chair


IG: @jharps07, @nsbesdprofessionals

Twitter: @jharps007, @nsbesdpro