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How Enter a Career in Cyber Security Without Experience

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How to get into cyber security with no experience - Justin Cooper (Cyber Analyst) | Trident Talks​

Justin Cooper joins Samuel Berti to talk about how he managed to secure a role as a security analyst after spending 20 years in the retail sector!

Trident Talks with Justin Cooper 

Welcome to the latest episode of Trident Talks. First one of 2022 and we have Justin Justin Cooper, who will share his story and how he went from working in retail to transitioning into the cyber security industry.

On the reason he chose a career in cyber security

I was in retail for 20 years as a manager, mostly working my way up the ranks. I have always been interested in tech and learned to program on an old Amstrad CPC - I have always had an affinity for tech. 
I believe there is a shelf life within any industry, and retail has been around for hundreds of years. I think with retail, as anyone can see, a lot of retailers are now online, including the big four.
And I believe retail in the next 10 years will be non-existent. But I think that as a former insider within retail.
So, as a result, I decided to do something else. 

On taking the first step into a new career path

I wanted to do tech. But, what should I do?
I researched different things you needed to know about cyber security and consolidated it down. I took the certifications, which was a great baseline and took the CompTIA A+. But I knew that wouldn't be enough because it's a basic entry-level certification.
They are good certs, but most people have got them and to get into the industry.
Once I got my Security+ and started interviewing for roles, however, COVID19 happened.
I started teaching myself coding, and I already knew a lot about coding. I went over Python, how SQL database works, and all sorts of technical stuff. I did the Splunk Fundamentals course because I had no hands-on experience which was invaluable.

On how important it is to combine experience with certifications

I got the certifications first because I didn't have any experience within the industry. Of course, someone who's worked in a helpdesk may have the knowledge they can build upon, but I would say even then, a certification is well worth a go.
Experience is king. But I think once you've combined experience with certifications, you will be golden. I think you'll quickly outpace people that don't hold any certifications.

On his five year plan

Well, I'm excited about my latest project that we're currently growing out. Immediately within the next year or so, I would like to move into a senior position.
If you're going to go into a leadership position, you need to understand what you're leading. I want go on to become a Cyber Security Engineer. And then, the five-year mark, I'll probably see myself as a Security Manager. I can see no reason why that wouldn't be a reality.
I'll make sure it's a reality.
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