Cybersecurity jobs and COVID-19
Cybersecurity jobs and COVID-19


About this episode

In this episode, we are focused on the ever-divisive question of the importance of certifications in the cybersecurity industry. The answer to this question has changed over time from certifications being unimportant, to them being extremely important, to well, it depends.


Certifications can be extremely important for several reasons, including their ability to help your resume get through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) filters used by the human resources and recruiting team, but they are not a silver bullet that will instantly land you a job.


As Jason Dion (Lead Instructor of Dion Training) shares with us in this episode, certifications can be your ticket to getting an interview, but they alone won’t get you the position. That said, without having that certification on your resume, you can easily be filtered out of consideration before a hiring manager even gets a chance to look over your resume. This makes having the right certifications and experience imperative if you want to land your dream cybersecurity position.


Just as a certification isn’t a substitute for a college degree, you will also learn that a college degree is not a substitution for having the right certifications. This is often not an “either-or” thing, but a “yes-and” type of thing that you must achieve for many cybersecurity positions.


What you’ll learn

  • Why certifications are important in the cybersecurity industry?
  • Are certifications or experience more important to a hiring manager?
  • Are certifications or college degrees more important to a hiring manager?
  • Which certifications should you be getting to advance in your career?

Relevant websites for this episode


Episode Transcript

Kip Boyle:        

Hi everyone, this is your Cyber Path, the podcast that helps you get your dream cybersecurity job. This is Kip Boyle, and I’m an experienced hiring manager of cybersecurity professionals. If you want to give me feedback on the show, or if you want me to answer a question that you have about getting your dream cybersecurity job, I can do that on a future episode, just visit the show page anchor.fm/yourcyberpath. When you get there, you’re going to see a button called message, click on that and start talking.

Well, the buzz I’m hearing is that a lot of seasoned cybersecurity people have recently lost their jobs due to the economic hit that we’ve been taking here in the US related to the COVID-19 quarantine. And I’m sure it’s true that some people are losing their jobs, not just because I’m hearing buzz about it, but I actually went and did a Google search, and I searched for cybersecurity jobs layoffs and I saw lots of news articles on that topic, so it’s happening.

What was most interesting is I saw a lot of the news stories talking about job cuts to, what I would call, cybersecurity vendors. Cloudera, I saw them in there, ExtraHop is a startup company based in Seattle, I saw them, FireEeye, most people probably have heard about them, they were in there as well, and there were a lot of others too, some obscure and some more well-known.

But what I didn’t see too much of were companies that had internal cybersecurity teams. I’m sure some people on those teams have been laid off and maybe they’re just not as newsworthy, I’m not sure, but I didn’t see that as much. But here’s the thing, we’re in a valley here of bad economic news, but overall, the fundamental need for cybersecurity has not gone down. If anything, it’s actually gone up because the amount of e-commerce that has been going on has skyrocketed during the quarantine, and my feeling is that anytime people alter their habits and alter them for a sustainable amount of time, and the experts say it takes like 66 days to form a new habit, well, we’re definitely closing in on that 66 day number with quarantine, and I think we’re going to exceed that. And so, what that means to me is the amount of e-commerce is probably going to go down as we come out of quarantine, but I don’t think it’s going to return to what it was before we went into quarantine, I think is going to stay higher.

So, I did a little search on that too, and I saw an article over at Forbes that said that we’ve seen a 110% year over year increase in pure e-commerce orders in the US alone during the last couple of months of quarantine. And here’s the thing, fraud has been growing right alongside the increase in e-commerce, and the same Forbes article said that in the gaming and wireless industries alone they’re seeing a 126% increase in fraud. And that’s things like account takeovers and just credential stuffing, all kinds of different attacks that ultimately result in money and identity being stolen.

So, then what I did next is I wondered, “Okay, has everybody pulled down their job postings?” I went over to LinkedIn and I did a job search there for SOC analyst, and just in the US there were 1,800 positions listed. Some of them have probably been pulled but they haven’t yet taken down the LinkedIn advertisement, that’s likely, but I don’t think it’s all 1800. And that was just for SOC analyst jobs, there are many other cybersecurity jobs up there that you could search for and find many listings for.

I saw some big well-known names like Verizon and Starbucks had jobs posted for SOC analyst positions, and I saw lots of other companies, many different locations. So, my message to you is don’t lose faith on this, this is a grim time for everybody to be sure, and if you’ve lost your job, I’m really sorry about that,. And I’ve lost jobs before, and it’s just gruesome and emotionally very difficult too navigate that, and I get it. But I think your dream cybersecurity job is still out there waiting for you, so I don’t want you to lose faith about that, although we all, it seems, need to have more patience, so stick with it, all right, don’t give up.

Ow, as you know, back in April, you may know, maybe you’re listening to this for the first time, but back in April, we did a beta version of our masterclass, it’s called How to Get Your Dream Cybersecurity Job As Told By Hiring Managers. And the position that I have on this podcast is that the hiring manager opinion about whether you’re a strong candidate or not is the most important opinion because hiring managers are the ones that actually make the decision, do you get your dream cybersecurity job or not? And so, we built a whole masterclass around that, helping you understand what is the hiring manager’s mind on candidates when they’re reviewing resumes and looking for people to join their team.

So, we ran a beta version of the class, and it did really well, and I’m really proud of what we accomplished. And we’ve taken the feedback that we got from the 60 people that went through that class, and we’re working hard to revise it and getting it ready for launch. And our goal is to be up and running no later than June 1st, and I will share more about that with you later. So, I think that’s enough for this week. So, until next time, remember, you’re just one path away from your dream cybersecurity job.

Headshot of Kip BoyleYOUR HOST:

Kip Boyle
Cyber Risk Opportunities

Kip Boyle serves as virtual chief information security officer for many customers, including a professional sports team and fast-growing FinTech and AdTech companies. Over the years, Kip has built teams by interviewing hundreds of cybersecurity professionals. And now, he’s sharing his insider’s perspective with you!

Headshot of Jason DionYOUR CO-HOST:

Jason Dion
Dion Training Solutions

Jason Dion is the lead instructor at Dion Training Solutions. Jason has been the Director of a Network and Security Operations Center and an Information Systems Officer for large organizations around the globe. He is an experienced hiring manager in the government and defense sectors.