Finding a mentor can make all the difference in accelerating your career growth and success. A mentor in cybersecurity provides invaluable guidance, insights and connections that you simply can’t get from books or classes alone.
Here are some of the key benefits of having a mentor:
- Staying current with the latest technologies. Cybersecurity is an arms race, with new hacking techniques and cyber defenses emerging every day. A mentor can introduce you to the latest ethical hacking tools, security frameworks and technical skills that give you an edge. Having someone experienced guide you through new developments prevents you from wasting time on outdated approaches.
- Gaining practical experience. No classroom can replicate the experience of analyzing real-world traffic, reverse engineering malware or automating threat detection. A mentor provides challenging yet practical exercises to help you master the hands-on skills cybersecurity demands. You’ll develop the experience needed to assess vulnerabilities, extract data and thwart attacks.
- Expanding your professional network. Your mentor will already have an established network of contacts in the cybersecurity space. They can make invaluable introductions and help you meet the right people through conferences, trainings or social events. Building connections is vital for learning about job opportunities and the latest threats.
- Getting advice on career paths. Between auditing, ethical hacking, forensics and more, cybersecurity offers diverse career tracks. An experienced mentor can explain the options and guide your professional development based on your unique skills and interests. Their advice can help you avoid wasting time going down the wrong path.
- Developing problem-solving skills. Cybersecurity requires creative thinking and the ability to troubleshoot never-before-seen problems. Your mentor will sharpen your analytical and out-of-the-box problem-solving skills through challenging exercises. Developing cybersecurity intuition takes practice and experienced guidance.
- Gaining confidence. Imposter syndrome runs rampant in the cybersecurity field. Having a mentor who believes in you and reinforces your skills goes a long way in building up your confidence. You’ll overcome self doubts knowing you have the expertise to thrive in the industry.
Finding a knowledgeable and experienced cybersecurity mentor provides everything from technical growth to career connections. Their insights and advice will be invaluable for leapfrogging common novice pitfalls. Investing in a mentor early on can set you on the fast track to success in the field.
Don’t go it alone.
This piece was written by Joey Meneses, CTO, Digital Transformation and IT Operations, Akron Children’s Hospital.