No Experience? No Problem! A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking into the Tech Industry

Finding a rewarding and reliable career that helps them define their purpose and feel fulfilled at work is a top goal for many career-aged adults, whether they are new to the tech industry or looking to change paths later in life. Many search for career opportunities that will allow them to make a difference and use their skills in applicable ways — regardless of their current title or position.

An excellent field to consider when looking to transition into a secure and lucrative career path is cybersecurity. Cybercriminals are becoming more adept at finding ways to target personal data or sensitive information from individuals, companies, and even government agencies. People are at risk of being hacked or having their identity or financial information stolen. As a result, there is a high need for cybersecurity professionals to help maintain the first line of defense against these criminals. 

In Michigan, the tech industry is booming and often overlaps with the automotive and other major industries. With so many cars running on advanced technology and connecting to the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s no wonder big names like Google and their self-driving car project Waymo plan to settle into the area with a facility that aims to employ at least 100 workers.

Who Can Be a Cyber Professional?

It doesn’t take a mathematical genius or super coder to be in the tech industry! Many professionals in the field start from scratch and learn through a degree or accelerated bootcamp program. Some may come from other sectors, such as customer service, business administration, or even hospitality. And believe it or not, the skills gathered in these fields can help you be successful at many things you’ll encounter in the world of cybersecurity and defense. 

Adults with soft skills have the potential to excel in cybersecurity. Soft skills are non-technical skills, such as a keen eye for detail, effective communication, and critical thinking. From construction to the service industry, any professional experience can help you gather abilities that will prove useful in cybersecurity. So, don’t be too worried about your background!  With the right training and skills, almost anyone can excel at a cybersecurity position and help defend information and technology for people worldwide.

Even those who have many years in a particular field find they can upgrade their skills and specialize in their focus. A great example of this is auto industry workers who may consider pursuing cybersecurity to work on smart cars and other innovative technology in the industry!

Want to enter cybersecurity as a beginner? Here are some ways you can do so — even if you have no experience in the tech industry or cyber-related work.

Why Consider Cybersecurity

There are many reasons why cybersecurity is an excellent option when considering a career path. For starters, if you are technically inclined or naturally proficient with computers, it could be something you may find to be a logical choice to make use of your innate skills and interests. Others in the field choose it because they want to help make a difference and defend against cyber attacks. Similar to police officers, firefighters, and detectives, cybersecurity professionals can play a critical role in areas like criminal justice and community management. 

Another reason why adults may consider cybersecurity is because of job security. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics placing growth for the field at 37% from 2012–2022, there is an ever-growing need for cyber professionals. The growing job field of cybersecurity provides a lot of opportunity for growth and a dependable job outlook.

Becoming a Cyber Professional – With No Previous Experience

No experience? No problem! The first step towards becoming a cybersecurity professional is getting the right training. 

There are a few ways to learn the hard skills you need to succeed in a career like cybersecurity. As we mentioned above, one option is to go the traditional route and enroll in a four-year university program. Many offer information technology, computer programming, or cybersecurity-adjacent courses to help you gain knowledge, learn techniques, and retain theoretical experience. However, many people find that a four-year degree is not suitable for their lifestyle due to financial, familial, or other considerations. Luckily, there are other options for people who want to get an education in cybersecurity without pursuing a four-year degree.

Another option is to consider self-training. Eager students can find free resources, classes online, networking opportunities, internships, and study the subject on their schedule. They can use their self-training to gain globally-recognized certifications by passing the tests required to prove competency in their respective disciplines. Certifications like CompTIA Security+ and Network+ show candidates’ proficiency in the basics of information security and network infrastructure, respectively. 

Learning on your own may not be for everyone, and certification exams can cost several hundred dollars. Having hands-on training from experienced professionals or instructors can help you nail them the first time and successfully prove your skills to potential employers. 

Bootcamp and accelerated programs are also options favored by many thanks to their flexibility, price tag, and fast pace. Students get access to a classroom experience with hands-on training and dynamic teaching methods. Rather than getting a degree, students receive a Certificate of Completion after 400 hours of extensive studying and experiential learning methods. These programs can offer cyber labs and simulations of real-life situations to show employers they have real experience! Plus, some programs allow students to finish in under a year – which means you will be qualified to start applying for jobs in the tech industry in less time than most traditional schooling options. 

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Cybersecurity is a vast career path with diverse opportunities and many ways to apply skills you have learned along the way. The Nexus Engineering at the University of Michigan Cybersecurity Bootcamp offers students a virtual classroom setting with in-depth courses and real-life exercises. Our classes are led by cybersecurity experts who will teach you relevant techniques today’s employers are looking for – and help you feel confident about making the transition into cybersecurity. 

Curious about the possibilities of a career in cybersecurity? Give one of our admissions advisors a call at 734-707-9985.


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