Cybercriminals launch new advanced computer viruses, malware, and phishing campaigns every day that threaten the data our society relies on. If you have a passion for technology, the drive to learn continuously, and the desire to make a difference, a career in cybersecurity could be the perfect fit for you. However, before you jump headfirst into this exciting field, it’s crucial to take a step back, assess your options, and determine the best path forward.

If you’re on a tighter budget, don’t fret. The cybersecurity field is highly accessible. With a winning and learning attitude, accompanied by numerous free resources available, you can step into the field with confidence. We’re regularly asked what  to do to start or pivot to a career in cyber.  If you have that question, or people ask you asked that question, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s some advice we would have appreciated when dipping our toes into cybersecurity, along with a list of resources.

Formal Education

If you have more financial flexibility, investing in formal education and specialized training programs can provide a solid foundation for your cybersecurity journey. Enrolling in a degree program related to cybersecurity, such as computer science or information security, provides comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience. Universities and colleges often offer courses that cover a wide range of topics, including network security, computer science, and ethical hacking. If you decide to enroll, choose wisely! Some programs include certifications in the curriculum. This can accelerate your job search and add to your resume as soon as you’ve earned the cert, even before you complete your degree!


Certifications are highly regarded in cybersecurity as they validate your expertise and demonstrate your commitment to professional development. Acquiring industry-recognized certifications like CompTIA Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), or CompTIA Network + can significantly enhance your job prospects. Obtaining a certification or two is a quick and less expensive steppingstone into unlocking a career in cybersecurity.

Online Resources and Tutorials

The internet is a marvelous tool filled with cybersecurity knowledge. Take advantage of freely available resources such as online tutorials, blogs, forums, and YouTube channels covering various cybersecurity aspects. Websites like Cybrary, OWASP, SANS, edX, CISCO, class central, Simplilearn, Udemy, and Khan Academy offer extensive cybersecurity content and resources.

Capture the Flag (CTF) Challenges

Participating in Capture the Flag challenges is an excellent way to test and improve your cybersecurity skills. These challenges simulate real-world scenarios, allowing you to practice vulnerability identification, exploitation, and network analysis techniques. Platforms like HackTheBox, TryHackMe, OverTheWire, and PicoCTF offers CTF challenges suitable for all skill levels.

Community Involvement

Engage with the cybersecurity community through forums, social media groups, and local meetups. Networking with professionals in the field can provide invaluable insights, mentorship opportunities, and access to industry events. Sharing your knowledge and experience with others can help solidify your understanding of cybersecurity concepts. Having a cyber-Yoda to shadow and emulate is beyond helpful.


Regardless of your route, self development is crucial to your cybersecurity journey. Before investing substantial time and money, self-teaching allows you to explore the field, gain foundational knowledge, and evaluate your interest and aptitude. Experience is the best teacher. It also helps you understand the specific domains within cybersecurity that interest you the most, enabling you to make more informed decisions regarding formal education, certifications, or specialized training to prepare you for the path you take. Additionally, self-teaching fosters a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability, which are essential in the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity. It empowers you to stay updated with emerging threats, new technologies, and industry best practices.

Embarking on a cybersecurity career can be a rewarding and fulfilling path. By considering the formal education or certification routes, you can tailor your journey based on your financial situation and personal preference. Remember, self-teaching is vital to ensure that you have a genuine passion for cybersecurity and to help you make informed decisions about further investments in your education and training.  So, take the leap, immerse yourself in the world of cybersecurity, and open a future filled with exciting challenges and endless opportunities to make a positive impact in the world of cyber.