Learning How to Learn

This article on “Learning How To Learn” is part of a series developed by Curriculum Design to guide students through the Flatiron School program experience.

We believe that when learners feel autonomous and in control of their learning, they achieve greater success both academically and motivationally. Learning to Learn is designed to offer a variety of resources and tools to help you take control of your online learning journey and life beyond Flatiron School.

Take Ownership Of Your Learning

Taking ownership of your learning journey, through personalized learning, means finding your motivation, being engaged, and personalizing your learning experience with complete autonomy, choice, and responsibility in how you approach your online learning journey. Every learner has a fundamental need to feel in control of what they do versus only being told what to do. When this autonomy is exercised, the motivation to learn and the desire to perform well academically are much stronger.

As you go through the Learning to Learn series, our goal is to encourage you to take ownership of your learning journey- make decisions that matter, pursue directions that feel meaningful, and hold a sense of responsibility and control for both your learning successes and setbacks.

Connect The Dots

Taking the leap to build technical skills takes courage and determination. It can be intimidating to dive into new skill sets and knowledge, but the rewards and sacrifice will be worth it. As you learn, your horizon will expand and the information you collect along the way will start to connect in unexpected ways.

The saying goes, knowledge is power, and when it comes to personal and professional growth, this couldn’t be more true. When we actively seek knowledge through experiences or formal education, we add another “dot” to our mental map. These dots, connected, generate new ideas and help to solve problems in unique ways. Some of the greatest innovators credit their success to continue expanding their knowledge base through both life experiences and deliberate learning sessions.

Continue adding dots to your map.

TL;DR

  • Personalized learning is a great way to improve your skills and knowledge base.
  • Learning on your own can be intimidating to start, but the rewards are worth it.
  • Seek out new experiences and resources to challenge yourself and broaden your perspectives.

Insider Guide: Flatiron School’s Admissions Assessment

When you choose to start a program at Flatiron School, we know that you are investing — both financially and an investment of your time. That’s why it’s important that you are a right fit for the program and vice versa — that our program is the right fit for you.

One way we make sure that the program is a good fit is with an admissions assessment test.

The admissions assessment is a cognitive aptitude test that analyzes your problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, your attention to detail, and your ability to learn new information. There are three different styles of questions — verbal, math and logic, and spatial reasoning. Think of the questions more like brain teasers, not about coding, computers, or cybersecurity.

After all, in addition to your experience and skills so far (if any!), we are more interested in understanding your ability to learn and pick up the skills that will be taught in our courses.

The test is 15 minutes long and can include up to 50 questions. But don’t stress. We don’t expect you to complete all the questions. Less than 1% of people complete all 50 questions.

How many questions should I complete?

Try to answer as many questions as possible in the allotted 15 minutes, with the minimum goal of answering at least 25. 

Don’t get caught up on any one question though. If you’re feeling stumped, take a guess and move on. It’s more important to maintain a decent pace and keep moving through the questions, rather than to stress over scoring perfectly on one question.

Remember, you have a 15-minute time cap so you’ll want to move through as many questions as you can efficiently.  Again, less than 1% of people complete all 50 questions so don’t stress yourself out about finishing all the questions.

Here are two examples of the types of questions you might see on the admissions assessment.

1. Sample Verbal Question: (Source)

Choose the word that is most nearly OPPOSITE to the word in capital letters: LENGTHEN

  • abdicate
  • truncate
  • elongate
  • stifle
  • resist

2. Sample Math Question: (Source)

A group of 3 numbers has an average of 17. The first two numbers are 12 and 19. What is the third number?

  • 17
  • 19
  • 20
  • 23
  • 30

How to prepare for the admissions assessment

  • Complete the assessment on a laptop or desktop as it is not mobile-friendly. 
  • Set aside 15 minutes of uninterrupted, dedicated time.
  • Remove any distractions so you can focus for 15 minutes.
  • Have a piece of paper and a pencil for notes.
  • Relax and don’t overthink it.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect; it’s about getting the best score you can. Don’t get caught up on one question. Keep moving at a decent pace. 

There is a time clock on the page so you will know how many questions you have completed and how much time remains.

 

How does the test affect my admissions decision?

Our admissions process includes three phases — a written application, the admissions test, and an admissions interview. The test is a factor in the admissions process, but ultimately, we will consider all three phases of your application to determine an admissions decision.

Wondering what score you should get? We do have a target score for each one of our study programs but don’t worry about that upfront. Only worry about making sure you have 15 minutes of dedicated time, and then do your best.

Your score will be measured against the target score to determine if you will be a good candidate for the program. Remember, we don’t want you to commit to one of our programs unless we know you have the potential to be successful in that career field.

How do we determine target scores?

We asked our current students and graduates of our program to take the admissions test. And created our target scores based on how well our successful students scored.

Then, the company that prepares the test provided scores from successful professional software engineers, data scientists, cybersecurity engineers and analysts, and product designers. And that’s how we came up with the target score for applicants.

What happens after I take the admissions test?

After you finish and submit the admissions test, your score is recorded in our system and you will receive a link to schedule your interview at the end of the assessment. In that interview, your admissions rep will share your score and discuss your next steps.

Remember, the test is a factor in your admission decision, but we will make our final decision based on the combination of your application, interview, and assessment test.

Ready to start your admissions process? Apply now.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 01 Dec 2022. For updated information visit https://flatironschool.com/.

Amazon Career Choice X Flatiron School Partnership

Amazon’s Career Choice program empowers its employees by providing them access to the education and training needed to grow their careers at Amazon and beyond.

In the U.S., the company will invest $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs. For this investment, Amazon selected Flatiron School as one of its education partners to develop a customized technical training program for its hourly employees to help them access better-paying, skilled positions in software engineering, cybersecurity, and other tech fields.

The Challenge

Amazon has been rapidly growing its workforce over the past several years to meet increasing demand, hiring hundreds of thousands of front-line employees across the U.S.

As a company, Amazon believes that everyone should have the opportunity to learn new skills and build their career. A job with Amazon may be a springboard into a long-term career in another field, so they want to provide the training employees need to grow their careers.

In addition to the coursework and classes, they are focused on outcomes for employees, providing them with support services throughout their education and career journey. They want partners who share this focus on outcomes.

Why Amazon Selected Flatiron School

Since the first cohort in 2021, Flatiron School has offered the technical and instructional expertise, program design experience, job-placement track record, and ability to deliver at the scale that Amazon needed for the Career Choice programs.

This is why Amazon has partnered with Flatiron School to develop curriculum programs across cybersecurity, software development, data analytics, and web development for nine cohorts and counting. 

Amazon’s Challenge

With demand for tech workers soaring, Amazon wanted to offer transformative technical programs, with strong job placement outcomes, as part of Career Choice. Amazon needed a partner with the ability to both teach in-demand technical skills and drive high job placement rates.

Flatiron School’s Solution

Scalable, Customized Courses Paired with A Proven Job-Placement Approach

  1. Flatiron School developed six part-time, customized tech programs for Amazon employees to drive deep technical learning. 
  2. All programs were 32 weeks and provided students with the flexibility to learn new skills…
  3. …while still working full-time, dedicating 12-15 hours per week to the program.

The Results

During the first year of the partnership, 270 Amazon employees from across 38 fulfillment centers used their Career Choice benefits to become Software Engineers and Cybersecurity Analysts.

The Amazon Career Choice program also increased warehouse worker tenure, retention, and employee satisfaction.

The inaugural cohort wrapped up in October 2021. Within less than a week of graduation, two Amazon employees had already landed jobs in tech, with significant increases to their salaries. Because of its success and the benefits they saw with the program, Amazon expanded the program in 2022 and internationally for 2023, enrolling over 800 Amazon Associates each year.

In 2023, 9 cohorts across Amazon Cybersecurity Analytics, Amazon Data Analytics, Amazon Software Development, and Amazon Web Development have been developed.

For more information on the Amazon Career Choice program, visit the program application page.

How Financial Services Prepares For The Holiday Season

With the holidays right around the corner, financial service companies are preparing for a busy shopping season. 

Public trust in the security of digital purchases has had a hand in the boom of online shopping. Consumers are now more likely to visit digital storefronts, instead of brick-and-mortar locations. As of 2022, an estimated 2.14 billion purchase goods online and at least 75% of consumers shop online at least once a month.

With every online transaction, gift purchase, or swipe of a card, financial services are tasked with keeping data secure.

So, with holiday shopping ramping up, what challenges should financial services be prepared to tackle?

Problem #1: How To Prevent Data Breaches?

A data breach can cost millions, tarnish a company’s reputation, and leave customers doubting that their information is safe. In fact, according to the Ponemon Institute and IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2021.

Cybersecurity can feel like an endless game of one-upping bad actors. Even large companies struggle to keep up with digital innovation which has resulted in an ever-increasing number and complexity of cyber attacks. 

In a digital world where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm manual monitoring attempts, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.

Solution: Invest In Cybersecurity Preparation and Plan Ahead

To tackle the cybersecurity threats attempting to infiltrate your organization, it’s crucial to develop a two-pronged plan – a prevention strategy and a response procedure.

Prevention Strategy

You’ve likely heard that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment, which is particularly relevant to preventing cybercrime. 

Financial services should reinforce their cyber protocols and ensure that their team is skilled, supplied with appropriate software and platforms, and has the bandwidth necessary to handle the deluge of attacks. This can be accomplished either by outsourcing to third-party providers or investing in internal infrastructure and employees by hiring new employees with up-to-date skills or upskilling your existing workforce. 

Response Procedure

Should bad actors breach your organization’s data stores, it’s vital to have a plan of action in place. 

Shockingly few companies have a solid breach response plan in place, and time wasted scrambling to decide what to do, who has access to what, and which files may have been compromised lets whoever has infiltrated run amock in your system. 

To be fully prepared, financial services should develop, test, and implement an incident response plan to minimize the potential fallout of a breach. 

Related reading: Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points in 2022

Problem #2: How To Reach New Customers?

No matter the industry, product, or company size, the goal is ultimately the same – growth.

But for financial services, a saturated market can make it difficult to differentiate themselves from competitors and attract new customers. Many organizations find themselves pondering as the biggest shopping season ramps up, “how do we stay ahead of the competition and reach new customers who prefer online experiences?”

Solution: Leverage The Power of Data

To attract new customers, financial services can use the data they collect, which we discussed protecting above. 

Invest in Data Scientists who are able to decipher actionable insights from data collected about existing customers and use models to forecast emerging market trends. By making data-backed, research-based decisions, your organization can develop targeted promotions and bring in new customers, all with information you already had on hand.

Related reading: The (Data) Science Behind Netflix Recommendations

Tech Talent Solutions Made For Financial Services

Whether it’s the holiday shopping season or not, financial services have no shortage of challenges: legacy technology, cybercrime, and connecting data across brick-and-mortar and digital products. 

Let Flatiron School help modernize your business with training and talent services across Cybersecurity, Data Science, Software Engineering, and Product Design.

Contact us to get started.

Disclaimer: Information in this blog is current as of November 07, 2022. For more information, visit FlatironSchool.com.

How Retailers Prepare For The Holiday Season

With the holidays right around the corner, retailers are preparing for a busy shopping season. Each year, more consumers are shopping online. As a result, retailers must invest in their digital storefronts, backend security, and supporting software to keep customers coming back.

So, with holiday shopping ramping up, what challenges should retailers be prepared to tackle this year?

Problem #1: How To Prevent Data Breaches?

A data breach can cost millions of dollars, tarnish a company’s reputation, and leave customers with little trust that their information will be kept safe. In fact, according to the Ponemon Institute and IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2021.

Cybersecurity can feel like an endless game of one-upping bad actors, with even large companies struggling to keep up with digital innovation that has resulted in an ever-increasing number and complexity of cyber attacks. 

In a digital world where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm manual monitoring attempts, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.

Solution: Invest In Cybersecurity Preparation and Plan Ahead

To tackle the cybersecurity threats attempting to infiltrate your organization, it’s crucial to develop a two-pronged plan – a prevention strategy and a response procedure.

Prevention Strategy

You’ve likely heard that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment, which is particularly relevant to preventing cybercrime. 

Retailers should reinforce their cyber protocols and ensure that their team is skilled, supplied with appropriate software and platforms, and has the bandwidth necessary to handle the deluge of attacks. This can be accomplished either by outsourcing to third-party providers or investing in internal infrastructure and employees by hiring new employees with up-to-date skills or upskilling your existing workforce. 

Response Procedure

Should bad actors breach your organization’s data stores, it’s vital to have a plan of action in place. 

Shockingly few companies have a solid breach response plan in place, and time wasted scrambling to decide what to do, who has access to what, and which files may have been compromised lets whoever has infiltrated run amok in your system. 

To be fully prepared, retailers should develop, test, and implement an incident response plan to minimize the potential fallout of a breach. 

Related reading: Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points in 2022

Problem #2: How To Increase Customer Loyalty?

With the rise of the digital-first era, shoppers are no longer walking into physical stores for their goods. Instead, they are logging onto their computers or opening a mobile app, credit card in hand.

Customer touch points now feature everything from brand-owned mobile apps to traditional website storefronts and social media platforms. Each channel is a chance for retailers’ brand messaging to reinforce customer loyalty.

So, how do retailers elevate the customer experience across all these touchpoints?

Solution: Develop Supportive Software

With so many brand touchpoints across multiple platforms and channels, delivering a seamless, omnichannel experience is key. To achieve this, retailers can invest in software engineering to develop custom retail software. 

Company-specific software creates IT solutions that automate the retail business process, streamlining offerings and product delivery. Everything from sales notification, invoice delivery, shipping, and returns/refunds can be accomplished by one, overarching system. 

That way, no matter where a customer interacts with your brand, they’ll be met with a consistent, pleasant, and easy-to-navigate system they know well. 

Related reading: Top 3 Retail Tech Trends in 2022

Problem #3: How To Quantify Consumer Behavior?

With trends that change at the pace of social media algorithms, it can feel just about impossible to predict trends. What was trendy one moment can be “last season” the next, with product and marketing teams struggling to keep up. 

Many retailers are asking, “how can we quantify customers’ behavior and translate it into sales?”

Solution: Leverage The Power Of Data

To predict consumer behavior and deliver tailored experiences that convert, retailers need simply to harness the power of data. 

Without a doubt, somewhere in every retailer’s system is a mountain of data. This data is generated by customers each time they interact with a brand. Data Scientists use models and machine learning to connect data points from multiple sources and generate actionable insights that can be incorporated into a retailer’s strategy at scale. 

To improve conversion rates, retailers should invest in a team of skilled data scientists – or upskill their current team. Data Scientists can use data-driven insights to create recommendations catered to each customer. That way, they’ll keep them coming back to the company that, somehow, knows them so well.  

Related reading: The (Data) Science Behind Netflix Recommendations

Tech Talent Solutions Made For Retailers

The tech that powers digital shopping is only as effective as the talent behind the scenes. 

For 10 years, Flatiron School has been teaching the tech skills that retailers need most. Let us help accelerate your business with our talent and training solutions.

Contact us today to get started.

The Holiday Season: Brought To You By Tech Workers

The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching, and retailers are ramping up operations in preparation for the biggest retail events of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With sales consistently shifting to predominantly online year over year, retailers need to evolve their digital storefronts to keep up with modern shopping trends.

For retailers looking forward to these influxes of customers, preparation is key to success and keeping bottom lines black. The tech that powers online shopping, provides a seamless customer experience, and keeps data secure is only as effective as the engineers behind the scenes.

Retailers need a technically trained team with up-to-date skills to keep up and meet four critical needs: the need for websites that perform, the need to predict trends, the need for pages to convert, and the need to keep data secure. 

Here’s how the four disciplines Flatiron School teaches – Software Engineering, Data Science, Product Design, and Cybersecurity – support the holiday season. 

Need Websites That Perform (Software Engineering)

For websites to perform well, load quickly, and deliver an enjoyable online shopping experience, the engineers behind them must be well-versed in the languages used for Back-End and Front-End Software Engineering

In fact, in a recent study retailers reported software development as the #1 desired technical skill for new hires. Java, software engineering, SQL, Python, JavaScript, and data science also made the list.  

So, how do retailers build out a technical team to get their digital storefront live and profitable? Sourcing recent graduates from technical training institutions ensure that new hires are up to date on the newest software, platforms, and best practices in the online marketplace. 

Big box and clothing retailers in particular source our Software Engineering and Data Science graduates for their skills in Python, Java, JavaScript, and SQL. These languages are used in online interfaces such as cashier-less checkout, virtual storefronts, virtual dressing rooms, and marrying online and offline data to personalize shopping experiences and increase profitability.

Related reading: In-demand skills taught to our Software Engineering students

Need To Personalize and Predict Behavior (Data Science)

No matter how optimized a digital store-front functionality is or how easy to navigate a user interface is, a consumer won’t buy from you unless they see something they like enough to part with their hard-earned dollars. Item recommendations and promotions, whenever possible, should be personalized to individual customers to increase conversions and sale amounts.  

Data Scientists are tackling this task by taking advantage of big data – the mountain-sized amount of information points generated by customers interacting with your brand. 

Our Data Science graduates use models and machine learning to connect data points from multiple sources and generate actionable insights that can be implemented at scale. 

Unleashing the power of data-based decisions can have wide-reaching impacts on your business and increase conversion rates with recommendations catered to each customer and keep them coming back to the company that, somehow, knows them so well.  

Related reading: The (Data) Science Behind Netflix Recommendations

Need Websites That Convert (Product Design)

UX / UI design is a critical success factor for successful digital storefronts. User experience and user interface can make or break mobile viability, and nothing bottoms out the performance of a website or mobile app faster than a difficult-to-use interface.

Retailers utilize UX / UI Product Designers to revamp user interfaces and outfit brand-owned digital touch-points with easy-to-use features to ensure a seamless experience that will keep users coming back and clicking ‘buy’.

Related reading: What Is Design Thinking?

Need To Protect Data (Cybersecurity)

While not a new topic and certainly not unique to retailers, recent cybersecurity trends and high-profile breaches have resulted in several pain points for brands that hold personally identifiable information (PII). 

Many retailers are realizing new vulnerabilities including cloud hosting platforms, an increased number of access points, more frequent cyber attacks, and a lack of internal resources struggling to keep up. 

In the digital age where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm retailers, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.

Essential cybersecurity skills for the digital age include SQL, which attackers could use to steal confidential data, compromise data stores, and execute web-based attacks, as well as Python, which helps to scan and analyze malware, and Java, which can be used in penetration (pen) testing.

For retailers to ensure their databases are secure for the rush of the holiday season, recruiting cybersecurity professionals with up-to-date and relevant skills or upskilling in-house teams is critical.

Related reading: Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points in 2022

Join Santa’s Workshop Of Tech Workers

No matter your area of interest or expertise, you can have a hand in bringing the holiday season to life. So, if you’d like to apply to Santa’s workshop, we have good news and bad news. 

The good news is that you can acquire the skills you need to join Santa’s team of tech workers by attending one of Flatiron School’s programs in Software Engineering, Data Science, Product Design, or Cybersecurity.  

In fact, many Flatiron School graduates have been hired at some pretty magical companies that can have a hand in making the winter season feel like magic

The bad news is that Santa cross-checks the naughty list. Good luck! (Kidding.)

Apply Today to start making some magic. 

Flatiron School Launches 5-Day Enterprise Cybersecurity Program

Flatiron School, a top provider of technical education and talent, has launched its 5-day Enterprise Cybersecurity Program, a comprehensive learning experience designed to equip organizations’ entry-level tech talent with essential cybersecurity skills and the capacity to act as a unit. 

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a fitting acknowledgment of one of today’s top worldwide business concerns. Studies show over 300,000 new pieces of malware are created daily, posing major threats to organizations’ data, security, and reputations. 

To help prevent and protect against these threats, Flatiron School created an accelerated 5-Day Enterprise Cybersecurity program to provide employees with the skills needed to mitigate or avert cybersecurity risks altogether.

Program Overview

The program focuses on solidifying foundational cybersecurity knowledge and providing learning in topics relevant to an organization’s cyber function, thus enabling talent to deliver the most advanced, cutting-edge work products to their organization and end clients.

“Now more than ever, businesses must equip their teams with the expertise needed to prevent and respond to the ever-growing amount of cyber attacks occurring worldwide,” said Nancy Ziser, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Flatiron School. “The goal of this program is to jumpstart learning essential cybersecurity skills for employees responsible for protecting data and minimizing threats to various organizations. We are excited to offer this kind of education to people who are continuously fielding cybersecurity issues on the ground.” 

Program participants receive 40 hours of instruction either remotely or in person over five days. Participants will receive foundational knowledge in:

  • Computer networking, including common network devices and common threats to each layer of the OSI model.
  • Identity and access management (IAM), including knowledge of LDAP and Active Directory (AD).
  • Vulnerabilities and the purpose of red, blue, and purple teams in securing an organization
  • Governance, risk, and compliance, including familiarity with NIST and ISO frameworks.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and operational technology (OT) security risks.
  • Cloud computing and common security threats to cloud deployments.
  • SIEM tools and logging.
  • Cyber threat intel, including MITRE ATT&CK and the Diamond Mode.

To learn more about Flatiron School’s 5-day Enterprise Cybersecurity Program, please click here.

9 In-Demand Cybersecurity Certifications

This article on Cybersecurity Certifications was originally published on Technical.ly on 01 September 2022. For the original blog post on their website, click here.

The cybersecurity industry is booming. With global events such as the pandemic, the shift to remote working, and an increase in the frequency and complexity of cyber attacks, global demand for cyber experts is high and rising.

This high demand coincides with an ongoing low supply of qualified professionals, making it prime time to break into the field. According to research by Cybersecurity Ventures, there were 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs last year — a 350% increase over the year before.

But, while the market is flooded with opportunities, the specialized nature of the cybersecurity industry means it also requires specific training. Candidates need proof of cybersecurity skills to secure these positions, and a cybersecurity certification can be what pushes one candidate’s application forward over another.

Are cybersecurity certifications worth it?

So, are cybersecurity certifications worth earning? In short, yes.

2021 survey by (ISC)² found that 70% of cybersecurity professionals reported that they were required to earn an industry-specific certification by their employer. These certifications also came with an average salary boost of $18,000.

On that note, here are the cybersecurity certifications you may want to consider at different levels of your career.

Entry-level cybersecurity certifications

CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Security+ certification focuses on foundational cyber skills. This certification rubber-stamps your ability to assess an organization’s security level, monitor and secure cloud, mobile, and IoT environments, and identify and respond to threats.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • Systems Administrator
  • Help Desk Manager
  • Security Engineer
  • Cloud Engineer
  • Security Administrator
  • IT Auditor
  • Software Developer

GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)

The GSEC is ideal for professionals with a background in information systems and/or networking that want to move into cybersecurity. This certificate validates security skills such as active defense, network security, cryptography, incident response and cloud security.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • IT Security Manager
  • Computer Forensic Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Administrator
  • Software Development Engineer
  • IT Auditor

Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

This certificate validates that you have the skills to design, implement and monitor a secure IT infrastructure. The qualifying exam features questions regarding access controls, risk identification and analysis, security administration, incident response, cryptography, and network, communications, systems, and application security.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • Network Security Engineer
  • System Administrator
  • Systems Engineer
  • Security Analyst
  • Database Administrator
  • Security Consultant

Mid-level cybersecurity certifications

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

This certificate validates your knowledge of assessing security vulnerabilities, designing and implementing controls, and reporting on compliance. It’s also one of the most recognized and sought-after credentials in cybersecurity auditing — a must-have for those looking to move up in the field.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • IT Audit Manager
  • Cybersecurity Auditor
  • Information Security Analyst
  • IT Security Engineer
  • IT Project Manager
  • Compliance Program Manager

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The CSIM demonstrates your knowledge of the management side of information security. The exam features topics such as governance, program development, and program, incident, and risk management. If you’d like to move into a managerial cybersecurity role, this could be the certification that gets you there.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • IT Manager
  • Information Systems Security Officer
  • Information Risk Consultant
  • Director of Information Security
  • Data Governance Manager

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Earning this certificate demonstrates your skills as an ethical hacker (aka white hat hacking or “pen” testing). To pass, you’ll have to prove your knowledge of penetration testing, attack detection, vectors, and risk prevention.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • Penetration Tester
  • Cyber Incident Analyst
  • Threat Intelligence Analyst
  • Cloud Security Architect
  • Cybersecurity Engineer

Senior-level cybersecurity certifications

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

For cybersecurity professionals looking to advance their careers to the senior level of an organization, the CISSP is a highly sought-after certification. Earning this credential shows your experience in IT security and capable of designing, implementing, and monitoring a secure and effective cybersecurity program.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Security Administrator
  • IT Security Engineer
  • Senior Security Consultant
  • Information Assurance Analyst

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

The CASP+ is primarily focused on technical skills and is made for those who would like to advance their career while maintaining their primary job responsibilities in the technology side of things (instead of moving into management). The certificate covers topics such as enterprise security domain, risk analysis, software vulnerability, securing cloud and virtualization technologies, and cryptographic techniques.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • Security Architect
  • Security Engineer
  • Application Security Engineer
  • Technical Lead Analyst
  • Vulnerability Analyst

Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

The OSCP is a specialized certificate for penetration testers and has become highly sought-after in recent years (likely due to the overall global increase in cyberattacks). The exam tests your penetration skills with target machines that you must compromise using multiple exploitation steps and produce penetration test reports for.

Attaining this certification can qualify you for roles such as:

  • Penetration Tester
  • Ethical Hacker
  • Threat Researcher
  • Application Security Analyst

Which cybersecurity certification should I get first?

Which cybersecurity certification you pursue is entirely dependent on where you are in your career and where you would like to go next.

A good way of judging which certification would be most beneficial to your current career standing is to work backward from your job search. Find a few listings of your target job and make a note of the most commonly requested skills and highest priority certification listed in the descriptions.

This can help you determine which certification you should pursue to make your application competitive, even in the current red-hot job market.

But, if you’re just starting out or pivoting from another career entirely, you may want to take a foundational course before diving into certifications to save both time and money (not to mention taking the tests several times over). An accelerated, short-term cybersecurity course with targeted learning objectives can help prepare you to earn whichever certification you want and prepare you for your next industry job.

That way, when you obtain your certification and start applying for jobs, you’ll be ready.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 01 September 2022. For updated information visit https://flatironschool.com/.

Top 7 Cities For Cybersecurity Jobs

Demand is booming for cybersecurity professionals, but you may be wondering – which are the best cities for cybersecurity jobs?

Recent years have seen digital transformations in the form of new platforms (i.e., the cloud), technologies, and software. Paired with recent waves of new regulations on the digital space due to growing privacy concerns and recent high-profile breaches, the cybersecurity industry is struggling to keep up and is faced with a growing skill-shortage.

 For those looking to secure a position in Cybersecurity, there are myriad opportunities. According to Cyber Seek, there are over 714k jobs available in the US alone. (1)

So, if you’re looking to take advantage of the current demand for Cybersecurity professionals – where should you go looking? Here are the top 7 cities for cybersecurity jobs in the United States where you’ll find the most opportunities in the field. 

Washington, D.C.

That Washington, D.C. tops this list should come as no surprise. D.C. is the home of several government agencies that employ thousands of cybersecurity professionals and various private contracting agencies that provide similar services to companies that operate in the Defense sphere.

Current job openings: 24,000+*

Cybersecurity Analyst Average Salary: $112,192*

Arlington, Virginia

Sitting directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Arlington, V.A. is the home of the Pentagon and another powerhouse of the Cybersecurity industry.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is one of the single largest employers of Cybersecurity professionals in the world and relies heavily on a surrounding supply of independent government contractors. The opportunities in Arlington range from entry-level to senior level, as well as specialist openings such as encryption expert, incident responder, and penetration testers.

Current job openings: 24,000+*

Cybersecurity Analyst Average Salary: $98,427*

New York City, New York

Financial capital of the world and home of the New York Stock Exchange, finance firms headquartered in NYC employ a veritable army of cybersecurity professionals to support their assets.

In addition, this city home to 8.3 million residents features many large hospitals, leading educational institutes, and non-financial company headquarters that are also in need of Cybersecurity. In The Big Apple, the opportunity to land your dream job is almost endless.

Current job openings: 10,000+*

Cybersecurity Analyst Average Salary: $116,569*

Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

The Dallas Fort Worth area is a massive hub of Fortune 500 companies. There are several global organizations headquartered there in energy, transportation, healthcare, finance, and communications. Some of these organizations include Exxon Mobil, AT&T, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Tenet Healthcare, and Charles Schwab.

In recent years Texas has also seen an influx of companies moving to the lone star state from California. The opportunities in the DFW area are only expected to grow in the coming years.

Current job openings: 7,500+*

Cybersecurity Analyst Average Salary: $88,242*

Silicon Valley, California

While not a strictly defined area, Silicon Valley refers to the area in Northern California where many technology companies got their start, and remains a global hub of innovation. The cities typically included in the “Silicon Valley” area include San Jose, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Redwood City, and Sunnyvale.

These large tech companies employ teams of Cybersecurity professionals to keep their technologies secure and their designs secret.

Current job openings: 6,800+*

Cybersecurity Analyst Average Salary: $116,269*

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is one of the largest business centers in the United States, serving as a global hub for many healthcare, educational, utilities, transportation, and hospitality companies. Several fortune 500 companies call the city home including Exelon, Boeing, Motorola, United, and Mcdonald’s.

Current job openings: 6,500+*

Cybersecurity Analyst Average Salary: $118,357*

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta is one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, frequently ranking 10th but steadily climbing the list. The city is home to some of the most well-known Fortune 500 list including The Home Depot, UPS, Delta Air Lines, and The Coca-Cola Company.

Current job openings: 6,200+*

Cybersecurity Analyst Average Salary: $112,154*

Breaking Into The Field

While there are many great cities for cybersecurity jobs to choose from, there is still some fierce competition for positions. To be a competitive applicant for these cybersecurity career paths, gaining an educational certificate from an established training organization like Flatiron School can supercharge your career and make you stand out among a sea of hopefuls. 

Ready to take the next step? Apply Today to get started towards your career in Cybersecurity. 

Not ready to apply just yet? Start with our Free Cybersecurity Prep Work, or check out the Cybersecurity Course Syllabus that will set you up for success with the skills to launch you into a fulfilling and lucrative career.

*Job openings and salaries sited as of August 2022

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 26 August 2022. For updated information visit https://flatironschool.com/.

Sources: 

1 – https://www.cyberseek.org/heatmap.html

Cybersecurity Career Paths

If you’re considering cybersecurity career paths, one of the top questions you have is likely to do with the kind of jobs and responsibilities you’ll have. 

Now, there are lots of different kinds of positions that fall underneath the “cybersecurity” umbrella, with more being added each year as the field rapidly evolves. But, an easy way to simplify the industry for our purposes is to divide it into the three primary job functions a cyber position is likely to fulfill: engineering, testing, and responding. 

Cybersecurity Engineers

If you think of cybersecurity as building a physical house, then cybersecurity engineers are the construction team. 

Sometimes called Security Operations or IT Security, these roles design, implement, operate, and maintain security systems. They build the infrastructure, optimize it to fit within and work for a particular organization, and keep it up to date. 

Cybersecurity Engineers are the first line of defense against cyber attacks (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes). Their jobs are to predict where attacks will come from and design security systems that can block them or – should those fail – detect them before they can do any damage.

Entry Level

Many Cybersecurity Engineers transition into the field from traditional IT jobs, such as network engineers or system administrators.

Job titles for entry level:

Security Architect
Security Technician
Network Security Engineer

Mid-Level

Mid-level cybersecurity engineers often choose to specialize in a specific type of security control, such as workstation endpoint solutions or software security. But alternatively, they may also choose to stay general, in which case their duties often include performing analyses and designing on a macro scale.

Job titles for mid-level:

Security Systems Administrator
Security Software Developer

Senior Level

To reach a senior level, cybersecurity engineers must have a thorough understanding of current and developing cybersecurity methodologies. These professionals can evaluate security on both the macro and micro detail levels to understand their organizations’ security abilities, limitations, and areas for improvement.

Job titles for senior level:

Technical director
Security analyst
Director of security

Cybersecurity Testers

Cybersecurity testers have the more glamorous jobs in the field, and have been adapted into various Hollywood movies (think of the scrappy underdog in a gray sweatshirt taking down a corrupt organization’s security system with a few taps of his laptop keyboard and frequently exclaiming “I’m in!”). 

These are professionals that test for vulnerabilities in security systems. They use knowledge of coding and security to hack into systems, looking for gaps in protection and mistakes that leave the digital door wide open. Their purpose is not to take advantage, but to reveal weaknesses that should be fixed before a malicious actor finds them.

More than any other career path, the “tester” role is most likely to be outsourced. Cybersecurity testers often work at a firm that specializes in penetration testing or may work independently in a freelance capacity. 

Entry Level

Professionals in this field often pivot from the “building” side of the field, pulling on accumulated system knowledge to find gaps in others’ security.

Job titles for entry level:

Penetration tester
Ethical hacker (sometimes known as “white hat” hacker)

Mid-Level

When they are outsourced, cybersecurity testers are often part of the consulting services team and perform periodic audits of their customer’s firewall systems.

Job titles for mid-level:

Security research engineer
Internal, third-party, or external auditor

Senior Level

Senior-level testers often think bigger than simply breaking down a firewall or finding a vulnerability. They dig deep and design malicious software using advanced AI and modern technologies. The more advanced tools they develop, the more ready organizations will be when bad actors develop them as well.

Job titles for senior level:

Vulnerability researcher
Exploit developer

Cybersecurity Responders

Last but certainly not least are those that pick up the pieces when all the pre-planning fails to stop bad actors. 

Cybersecurity responders plan for eventual security incidents and attempt to minimize damages or data loss, and get systems back up and running quickly. They may also analyze the incident after it happens to determine the facts of the situation: what the attackers did while they had access, who they were, and how they got in. 

These roles may be either internal or external, as part of a security consulting firm that assists in an on-call manner.

Some of the job titles that fall under this function include: 

Entry Level

IT/Digital Forensics Technician
Information Security Crime Investigator

Mid-Level

Security Operations Center Analyst
Forensic, Intrusion, or Malware Analyst
Incident Responder

Senior Level

Disaster recovery Manager
Business Continuity Manager

Start Your Journey Into Cybersecurity

Regardless of which of the three cybersecurity pillars you see yourself in, you’ll need a solid foundational knowledge to break into the field and start down and of these cybersecurity career paths.

No matter where you are in your career, our Cybersecurity Engineering Course will take you from foundational skills to practical, industry-ready knowledge in as little as 15 weeks.

Apply Today to get started on your next career, or try out our Cybersecurity Prep Work to see how you like the materials first (no strings attached).