Is Cybersecurity Hard to Learn? Real Professionals Offer Their Opinions

In today’s rapidly advancing digital world, the importance of cybersecurity has never been greater.

With technology permeating every aspect of our lives, the need to protect sensitive information and ward off cyber threats has become paramount.

But just how difficult is it to learn the art of cybersecurity?

Join us as we delve into this exciting and ever-evolving field and discover the challenges, rewards, and endless possibilities that await those who dare to embark on this journey.

Is Cybersecurity Hard to Learn?

Cybersecurity can be challenging due to its diverse and complex nature, but it’s not hard to learn if you have a passion for technology, curiosity for problem-solving, and a willingness to learn new things. With dedication and the right resources, you can develop the skills needed to excel in this field.

If you have a passion for technology, enjoy learning, and thrive on challenges, a career in cybersecurity might be perfect for you. While having a technical mindset can be beneficial, there are also cybersecurity roles that don’t require extensive technical knowledge. Your interest in the subject plays a significant role in determining how difficult it may be for you. With various career paths available, you can find a role that aligns with your interests and strengths, making the learning process more enjoyable and manageable.

Key Points:

  • Cybersecurity can be challenging but not hard with passion and curiosity
  • Problem-solving and willingness to learn are essential
  • Dedication and right resources help develop necessary skills
  • A career in cybersecurity suits those who love technology and challenges
  • Technical mindset is beneficial but not always required
  • Interest in the subject determines difficulty level
  • Various career paths allow for alignment with interests and strengths

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Did You Know?

  1. Did you know that the first recorded example of hacking occurred in 1903? Magician and inventor Nevil Maskelyne hacked into John Ambrose Fleming’s demonstration to publicly discredit the security of Guglielmo Marconi’s newly invented wireless telegraphy system.
  2. The earliest known computer virus was called “Creeper” and was created in 1971. It spread through ARPANET, displaying the message “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!” However, instead of deleting files or stealing information, it was designed to self-replicate and move between systems.
  3. Back in 1980, a hacker named Kevin Mitnick successfully bypassed the security systems of the Los Angeles bus fare computer network. By accessing the system remotely, he received free bus tickets for himself and his friends, earning him the nickname “The Condor.”
  4. In 2010, the first recorded instance of a cyber weapon targeting industrial infrastructure occurred. Stuxnet, believed to be a joint effort by the United States and Israel, targeted centrifuges at an Iranian nuclear facility and caused significant damage to their uranium enrichment program.
  5. The term “honeypot” originated from the espionage field and was later adopted by the cybersecurity community. It refers to a decoy system designed to lure attackers, gather information about their techniques, and protect the actual network from their malicious activities.

What Makes Cyber Security a Hard Career?

girl studying hard for cyber security exames
Cyber Security requires constant learning.

Pursuing a career in cybersecurity is a maze filled with complex technical and adaptive challenges, but one that leads to a critical and rewarding profession for those passionate about technology and security. Some of the key challenges faced by cybersecurity professionals are:

  • Acute Cybersecurity Talent Shortage: Organizations face a severe shortage of skilled cybersecurity talent. According to (ISC)2, the gap is expected to reach 3.5 million unfilled positions globally by 20251. This makes hiring and retaining staff with the required expertise extremely difficult.
  • Constant Need for Adaptation: The threat landscape evolves rapidly with attackers using sophisticated techniques like AI and evasion tactics. New malware and viruses emerge continually. This requires infosec professionals to be in a state of constant learning and adaptation.
  • High Stress Leading to Burnout: Cybersecurity specialists tackle complex problems under high-pressure. Factors like tight deadlines, on-call hours, and the stress of preventing critical breaches frequently lead to mental fatigue and burnout2.
  • Lack of Diversity: Women make up only 24% of the global cybersecurity workforce3. Additionally, they face pay gaps over 20% compared to men3. There is an acute need to improve gender diversity in the field.
  • Technical Complexity: Mastering domains like networking, cryptography, programming along with new technologies like cloud and IoT requires rigorous effort. Keeping updated is challenging.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Professionals need to stay updated on evolving compliances and regulations across industries and geographic regions4. This requires dedicated time and effort.
  • Public Perception: Negative media coverage of data breaches leads to an unfavorable public image, making attracting talent difficult5.
  • Work-Life Imbalance: Availability outside working hours to handle attacks interferes with personal time and leads to work-life imbalance.
  • Specialized Skills: Excelling requires building expertise in domains like penetration testing, forensics, security engineering etc. These specialized skills take significant time to acquire.

However, despite these multifaceted challenges, cybersecurity offers rewarding career opportunities. The massive talent shortage means excellent job prospects for qualified professionals. It is also an impactful profession where one can make a real difference in securing critical infrastructure and data.

Did you know? In 2023, the most common password used worldwide was “123456”? As a Cyber Security Engineer, it’s important to educate users on the importance of strong and unique passwords to protect against cyber attacks.


What Makes a Cyber Security Career Easy?

What Makes a Cyber Security Career Easy?
Smashing threats all day long.

Working in cybersecurity has many advantages that make it an attractive career option for those with an interest in technology and security. Some of the easiest aspects of the job include:

  • Flexibility and Variety: Cybersecurity roles come in many shapes and sizes across different industries. You could be working for a software company, a financial institution, a government agency, or a cybersecurity firm. This versatility means you can find a position that aligns with your specific interests and skills. It also provides variety in your day-to-day work. One day you may be testing systems, another day analyzing malicious code, and another educating employees about phishing scams. This flexibility and variety keeps the job exciting.
  • High Demand and Job Security: With cyberattacks and data breaches on the rise, there is huge demand for cybersecurity professionals. Being in high demand leads to great job security—it’s quite unlikely you’ll ever be short on opportunities. The workforce gap is also projected to continue widening, with some estimates indicating there will be over 3 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 20231. Knowing your specialized skills are desperately needed can provide comfort and confidence.
  • Learning and Growth: The constantly evolving nature of cyber threats means there will always be new things to learn. You’ll need to continuously expand your skills and knowledge to keep up. This ongoing learning and growth can be highly stimulating and rewarding for those who enjoy being challenged. There are always new developments to master, issues to troubleshoot, and innovative solutions to design. This prevents the job from ever becoming static or dull.
  • Lucrative Salaries: With demand far outpacing supply for cybersecurity skills, those in the field tend to be compensated very well. One study showed cybersecurity workers earn an average salary of $116,000 annually in Australia and New Zealand2. Salaries also tend to increase along with experience and certifications. The high earning potential is a major perk of the career.

In short, if you enjoy variety, learning, problem-solving, and working in high demand, cybersecurity could be an excellent career path offering great job prospects, flexibility, and lucrative salaries. Just be prepared to put in the work to keep your skills sharp in our rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Did you know? The average time to detect a data breach is 277 days, highlighting the importance of proactive monitoring and detection.

Matching Cyber Security Careers to Individual Skills and Interests

Security Analyst

Best suited for: Detail-oriented individuals with strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

Easy aspects: Identifying and analyzing potential threats, monitoring security systems, and creating reports. Challenging aspects: Keeping up with the rapidly evolving threat landscape and staying current on the latest security tools and techniques.

Penetration Tester

Best suited for: Curious and persistent individuals who enjoy ethical hacking and discovering vulnerabilities.

Easy aspects: Simulating cyber attacks, identifying weaknesses, and recommending security improvements. Challenging aspects: Constantly learning new attack techniques and staying up-to-date with the latest security trends.

Cyber Security Consultant

Best suited for: Strong communicators with a broad understanding of security principles and best practices.

Easy aspects: Advising clients on security strategies, conducting risk assessments, and creating security policies. Challenging aspects: Balancing client expectations with realistic security goals and staying current on industry trends.

Incident Responder

Best suited for: Calm and collected individuals who can work well under pressure and handle crisis situations.

Easy aspects: Investigating security incidents, coordinating response efforts, and mitigating damage. Challenging aspects: Dealing with high-stress situations and managing communication between various teams.

Security Engineer

Best suited for: Technical individuals with a strong background in computer science and engineering.

Easy aspects: Designing, implementing, and maintaining security systems and infrastructure. Challenging aspects: Keeping up with the latest technology advancements and integrating new security solutions.

Security Auditor

Best suited for: Detail-oriented individuals with strong analytical and organizational skills.

Easy aspects: Evaluating security policies, procedures, and controls to ensure compliance with regulations and standards. Challenging aspects: Identifying gaps in security measures and recommending improvements while maintaining objectivity.

Cyber Security Trainer

Best suited for: Patient and knowledgeable individuals who enjoy teaching others about security concepts and best practices.

Easy aspects: Developing training materials, conducting workshops, and educating employees on security awareness. Challenging aspects: Adapting to different learning styles and staying current on the latest security trends.

Security Architect

Best suited for: Strategic thinkers with a strong understanding of network and system architecture.

Easy aspects: Designing and planning secure network and system infrastructure to protect against potential threats. Challenging aspects: Balancing security needs with business requirements and staying informed about emerging technologies.

Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst

Best suited for: Analytical individuals with a passion for research and understanding cyber threats.

Easy aspects: Collecting and analyzing threat intelligence data, identifying trends, and sharing insights with relevant stakeholders. Challenging aspects: Staying up-to-date with the latest threat actors, tactics, and techniques, and distinguishing between credible and false information.

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

Best suited for: Experienced security professionals with strong leadership and management skills.

Easy aspects: Overseeing the organization’s security strategy, managing security teams, and setting security policies and procedures. Challenging aspects: Balancing security priorities with business objectives and communicating the importance of security to executive leadership.

How To Make a Career In Cyber Security Easier?

How To Make a Career In Cyber Security Easier?
Follow your passion.

Sure, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest hacking techniques and security protocols. But with the right strategies, you can turn cybersecurity into a fun and rewarding profession.

First things first – get smart on the fundamentals. An intro course like Security+ builds a solid base of security knowledge. Consider it your training wheels before jumping into the high-speed world of cybersecurity.

Next, zero in on an area you’re passionate about, whether it’s analyzing malware, detecting intrusions, or testing systems. Following your interests makes the work more enjoyable. And in a field as vast as cybersecurity, there’s bound to be a perfect niche for you.

Adopt a lifelong learner mindset. Make it a habit to pick up new skills and stay in-the-know on emerging threats. Consider it an intellectual challenge, not a chore.

Reach out to your future colleagues. Join professional groups to connect with veterans of the industry. Learn from their experience and let them guide you on your career path.

Get your hands dirty with real-world challenges. Apply your know-how through bug hunting, capture the flag competitions, and hackathons. It beats textbook learning every time.

But don’t forget to come up for air! Make time for your personal needs. Cybersecurity work can be draining, so be sure to recharge your batteries.

Stay energized by the ever-changing nature of the field. View challenges as puzzles waiting to be solved. Know that your contributions help create a safer digital world.

So if you’re up for a rewarding career of constant learning, problem-solving, and making an impact, cybersecurity may just be the perfect fit! With the right attitude and strategies, you can look forward to an exciting future in this cutting-edge field.

Key Points:

  • Start with an introductory course like Security+
  • Follow your passion in cybersecurity
  • Adopt a lifelong learning mindset
  • Network with industry professionals
  • Get hands-on experience
  • Stay updated on the latest threats
  • Seek feedback and mentorship
  • Maintain work-life balance
  • Enjoy the constant challenges
  • Know you make a positive impact

Why Soft Skills Are Equally Important?

Teaching others and spreading knowledge.
Teaching others and spreading knowledge.

Soft skills are equally important in cyber security because they help you communicate effectively, collaborate with others, and respond to new challenges. Cyber security is not only about technical skills, but also about understanding the business needs, the human factors, and the ethical implications of your work. Here are some examples of how soft skills can benefit you in cyber security:

  • Communication and teaching skills: You need to be able to explain complex technical concepts to non-technical audiences, such as managers, clients, or end-users. You also need to be able to educate others on cyber security best practices and policies, and persuade them to follow them.
  • Problem-solving skills: You need to be able to analyze data, identify threats, and find solutions quickly and efficiently. You also need to be creative and adaptable, as cyber security is constantly evolving and facing new challenges.
  • Networking skills: You need to be able to build relationships with other cyber security professionals, share information and resources, and learn from their experiences. You also need to be aware of the latest trends and developments in the field, and participate in online or offline communities.
  • Being a lifelong learner: You need to be curious and eager to learn new things, as cyber security requires continuous learning and updating of your skills. You also need to be open-minded and willing to accept feedback, as cyber security is a collaborative and dynamic field.

These are just some of the soft skills that can make you a successful cyber security professional. If you want to learn more about them, you can check out these articles:

12 Must-Have Cybersecurity Skills (And How To Improve Them)

16 Soft Skills You Need to Succeed in Cyber Security

5 soft skills you need to be a successful security pro

I hope this helps you understand why soft skills are equally important in cyber security. 😊

Recommended Resources

Here are some of the resources that I found online that can help you learn more about cybersecurity:

Books: Some of the books that are recommended for beginners are:

  • The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick: This book teaches you how to protect your privacy and security online by using real-world examples and stories.
  • The Hacker Playbook 3 by Peter Kim: This book is a practical guide to penetration testing and ethical hacking, with step-by-step instructions and scenarios.
  • Cybersecurity for Dummies by Joseph Steinberg: This book covers the basics of cybersecurity, such as threats, risks, best practices, and solutions.

Online Courses: Some of the online courses that are suitable for beginners are:

  • Cybersecurity Essentials by Cisco Networking Academy: This course introduces you to the core concepts and skills of cybersecurity, such as cryptography, network security, and incident response.
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity by edX: This course covers the fundamentals of cybersecurity, such as cyberattacks, defense strategies, and legal aspects.
  • Cybersecurity for Beginners by Udemy: This course teaches you the basics of cybersecurity, such as malware, phishing, encryption, and firewalls.

Certifications: Some of the certifications that can help you advance your career in cybersecurity are:

Websites: Some of the websites that can provide you with useful information and news on cybersecurity are:

  • SANS Institute: This website offers free and exclusive access to online cybersecurity resources, news, tools, and more. It also hosts various training programs and events for cybersecurity professionals.
  • Cyber Security Hub: This website brings together cybersecurity professionals to talk about the latest threats, trends, and solutions. It also features podcasts, case studies, and webinars on various topics related to cybersecurity.
  • Cybrary: This website is a collection of training programs, podcasts, case studies, and other useful materials for people at all stages of their cybersecurity careers.

I hope this list helps you get started on your journey of learning cybersecurity. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to ask me. 😊


Is cyber security difficult to study?

Studying cyber security poses a unique set of challenges that differ from traditional humanities or business degrees. While not as demanding as research-heavy fields, cyber security degrees require a strong technical foundation and a comprehensive understanding of modern technology. The field constantly evolves, necessitating continuous learning and adaptation to stay ahead of emerging threats. This dynamic nature of cyber security makes it a challenging but rewarding area of study, where individuals need to remain vigilant and constantly update their knowledge to effectively protect against cyber threats.

With a greater emphasis on technical skills, studying cyber security can indeed be challenging. It requires a solid understanding of various technologies, including networks, operating systems, and coding languages. Moreover, cyber security professionals must continuously adapt to new threats and vulnerabilities, as hackers constantly develop new techniques. This ever-evolving landscape demands a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development. Consequently, while cyber security may not be as lab-intensive as some scientific fields, it presents its own set of difficulties that make it a fascinating and intellectually stimulating area of study.

Is cybersecurity hard to learn for beginners?

No, cybersecurity is not difficult to learn for beginners. While there may be complex concepts to grasp, such as cryptography, and specific areas that demand more technical expertise, cybersecurity stands as a field within the tech industry that does not necessitate a comprehensive technical background. With a determined mindset and the willingness to learn, beginners can easily acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to navigate the realm of cybersecurity. Embracing the dynamic nature of the field and actively staying updated with the latest trends and threats will also contribute to mastering cybersecurity as a beginner.

Is cybersecurity a lot of math?

While cybersecurity does involve some level of math, it is not overwhelmingly math-intensive. Although there may be graphs and data analysis involved, the math required is not highly advanced. Basic programming skills and problem-solving abilities are more crucial to thriving in the field.

Do you have to be smart to do cyber security?

While a high level of intelligence is certainly beneficial in the field of cybersecurity, it is not the sole determinant of success. While sharp math and computing skills are necessary, critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability are equally crucial. A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or a related subject is typically required for most positions, as it provides the foundational knowledge and skills needed for the field. However, intelligence alone does not guarantee success in cybersecurity; a combination of technical proficiency, analytical abilities, and continuous learning is necessary to effectively manage the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.