A Job in Cybersecurity: Expectations vs Reality

Cybersecurity has become a buzzword in recent years, and with good reason. The number of cyberattacks across the globe is rising at an alarming rate, making it one of the most in-demand fields in the job market.

However, as with any profession, the expectations and reality of a job in cybersecurity can vary greatly.

You might believe that your career simply involves the riveting act of thwarting sophisticated hackers as you guard sensitive information and save the day. The day-to-day tasks are often less glamorous.

Let’s explore the expectations versus the reality of a job in cybersecurity and what it takes to succeed in this ever-evolving field.


It’s Always Dangerous and Exciting

Hollywood is definitely to blame for creating an image of cyber-heroes who go on dangerous and exciting missions against criminals who threaten to access databases of elite organisations like the CIA- with mind-blowing and dangerous consequences.

The Truth

The job hardly has any consequences as dire as the above, and you more than likely will not be in any physical danger.

Occasionally, you will have to fight off live cyber threats from criminals with really challenging and complex methods of attack. However, most cybersecurity tools like an updated antivirus is enough to thwart most threats.

It’s kind of like being in the police, you’re not going to deal with a deadly shootout every single day.

My Job Only Involves Stopping Hackers

You might picture a guy in a dark room typing away furiously as he does his best to stop the digital threat. You might imagine that a job in cybersecurity is all about hacking into systems, catching hackers, and stopping cyber threats. However, this is far from the truth.

The Truth

Firstly, a job in cybersecurity is not just about hacking. It involves a wide range of tasks, including risk assessment, vulnerability assessment, incident response, compliance, and others.
Secondly, cybersecurity professionals most definitely do not work alone in a dark room. Like most other employees, they work in designated teams.

The Reality of Working in Cybersecurity

The reality of working in cybersecurity can be very different from the expectations.

It Isn’t Always Sexy

Cybersecurity professionals spend a lot of time on tasks which are not adrenaline fueled, like analysing data, doing routine check ups, and applying strategies to lower the risk of cyber attacks. This can involve a lot of paperwork, meetings, and collaboration with different departments within an organisation.
As a cybersecurity professional, you have to do plenty of research and upskill yourself as you’re required to keep up with the latest trends and techniques that cybercriminals use.

It’s Tougher Than It Looks

Watching cybersecurity pro’s on TV from a distance does not give you the actual experience of being in their position. You might think you can handle the pressure from the comfort of your own home, but it might be a really rude awakening once you’re doing the job.

Cybersecurity professionals must be able to work under tremendous pressure and make quick decisions to contain damage and prevent further attacks. This can be stressful and demanding work.

The Conclusion

The point of this article is not to discourage you, but rather to give you a realistic sense of what cybersecurity is all about.

Being a cybersecurity professional is just as “normal” as any other career. It has aspects that are boring, cool, stressful, and those that are rewarding.

If you have a genuine interest and knack for cybersecurity functions and believe you can handle the challenges that come with the career, then this might be the job for you.

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