Page 20 - Cybersecurity Career Guide for Alexandria College
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Making smart decisions in high school will pay off later.
The diversity of complex infor- mation systems and the ever- expanding internet of things make cybersecurity one of the most ex- citing career areas out there. Any cyber- security career requires a credential of some kind, but there are certifications, online education, and two- and four-year degrees. You can get there! Taking these steps in high school keeps your options open and readies you for the future.
1. Take Math. Be sure you cover algebra through calculus. If you can, take com- puter science or statistics, but prioritize the fundamentals, including physics.
2. Take English, too. Keep any class that demands critical thinking skills in your school schedule. You need to be able to organize and communicate your great ideas!
3. Learn to code. If you can’t do this in school, you can enroll in courses at a local college. Or take FREE computer coding classes online at Code Academy, Alison .com, and Kahn Academy. Start with
Python, a valuable cybersecurity pro- gramming language that can be used in detecting malware, penetration testing, scanning, and analyzing cyber threats. Other good languages to learn are JavaScript, Java, Go, C and C++.
4. Build a website. Once you have basic coding down, build a website by yourself or with friends for programming experience. Try building a home com- puter network!
5. Go out for the team. Cybersecurity jobs often require working independently but as part of a team, using skills best learned by doing. Competitions like CyberPatriot and Capture the Flag events teach skills and teamwork. If
your school lacks robotics teams and competitions, start a cyber club! Maybe
a computer teacher will “gamify” some class objectives for team activities. Con- tact local community colleges and univer- sities to see what they host. Contact the Institute of Electrical and Electronics En- gineers Computer Society for help finding sponsors for new or existing activities.
6. Connect to a community. Meet others—actually or virtually! Being part of a people network enhances prospects for learning and employment. NOVA- Labs and Hour of Code offer online com- munities for games. The Girl Scouts have cyber badges developed with the Na- tional Security Agency and businesses such as Palo Alto Networks. In many areas, community colleges, universities,

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