I get a lot of questions about the field of cybersecurity. People often want to know how to get into cybersecurity, what the demand will be in the future, or if the field is hard to keep up with. But another common question regarding a career in cybersecurity is simply, is cybersecurity fun? Do most people find cybersecurity to be enjoyable work on a day to day basis, and do cybersecurity professionals like what they do? To answer this question, I reached out to a dozen cybersecurity professionals to find out if they think cybersecurity is fun, and if so, what they enjoy most about it.
Is cybersecurity fun? Many professionals find the field of cybersecurity to be fun and enjoyable due to the importance of the work, the fast pace of change, the challenge of solving problems, and the plentiful career opportunities that are available to them.
Let’s jump in a little deeper and discuss why cybersecurity jobs are enjoyable for the professionals that do them every day.
Why Cybersecurity is Enjoyable
Reason #1: Cybersecurity is important work that makes a difference.
Cybersecurity incidents are bad news. They are continual, increasingly-complex attacks against every sector of our economy, and they can negatively impact every aspect of our lives. One cybersecurity professional I spoke to actually called them “wicked,” but said that being on the front lines of cybersecurity was enjoyable because he felt like he was making a real difference.
There are probably some jobs out there that aren’t that important and really don’t make that much of a positive impact to the employer. You may even know someone that has a job that seems almost unnecessary, and possibly even one that if they stopped doing the job, their company wouldn’t even notice a difference. That certainly isn’t the case for cybersecurity positions. Many cybersecurity professionals see their work as highly important, in the same way a doctor or teacher would hopefully view their work. To these cybersecurity professionals, their work is a critical part of a greater mission that keeps something or someone secure. And being part of this mission is what they find fun and enjoyable.
Reason #2: Abundant opportunities to advance and grow.
The fast pace of cybersecurity is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can be difficult or even brutal to keep up with all of the new technology, breaches, updates, and changes that occur on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. But on the other hand, the consistent change of new technology means that there is always a new skill or specialization that is available to learn and become proficient with. Some cybersecurity professionals really use this to their advantage and leverage this to shape their careers. For example, by being willing to learn a new technology that a company or a client is rolling out, they can help steer their careers into new specialties on a frequent basis. Many future-thinking cybersecurity professionals use the opportunity to learn new technology not just as a means for job security, but also as a way to specialize in new areas that they will find enjoyable. Anytime that anything they’re doing starts to get stale, there’s always a new technology that can keep things fresh and fun.
Reason #3: Every day in cybersecurity is a new adventure.
Okay, I’ll admit that every day is cybersecurity is an adventure. Certainly, there are some days that feel mundane. But for many cybersecurity jobs, much of the work that these cybersecurity professionals do would certainly not be considered boring by any means. Several of the cybersecurity professionals I spoke with said that what made their jobs fun were the new adventures that cropped up daily. They shared that in many cases, no two days ever feel the same, and there is always something new that comes across their desk that they find interesting and intriguing.
As a cybersecurity professional, you may find that there are many facets to your job. At one moment, you may feel like a detective completing forensic investigation work on a breached system or researching a problem. The next day you may feel more like a network technician, diagnosing typical problems and providing customer service to network users. Or in different scenario you may feel like an analyst, providing cybersecurity advice to a manager, business owner, or client. Different tasks in the cybersecurity field provide variety in the job, and this is what some cybersecurity pros find enjoyable.
Reason #4: Cybersecurity work can be extremely challenging.
As a teenager, I worked as a laborer in the construction field. The job required absolutely no thinking. It wasn’t too long before the lack of any kind of mental stimulation in the job started to get to me. I hated the feeling of not having to think. Having work that is easy every day, year after year, would probably become boring. One of the fun factors of cybersecurity cited by the professionals I spoke with was that the incredible challenge of cybersecurity is exactly what makes it fun for them.
There are some situations in cybersecurity that can be high difficulty, high stress, and high importance, but the best cybersecurity professionals seemed to enjoy those situations the most. Having work that on occasion is really challenging and that tests their skills is the exact thing that enables them to prove to themselves that they are capable and talented professionals, and the experience of going through a challenging cyber situation and coming out with success on the other side makes their jobs fun. And this makes sense. Everyone wants to feel competent and successful, and cybersecurity work provides the challenge that can generate success and enjoyment.
Reason #5: Cyber has a great community of professionals.
Cybersecurity professionals told me that they really enjoy networking with others in the field, and because of this, the cybersecurity field provides a great community of like-minded professionals to connect with and learn from. This sense of community and camaraderie is something that makes the field of cybersecurity fun for some professionals. When you’re engaged in the field of cybersecurity, sharing war stories and insight with others helps make the work that you do fun.
Reason #6: Support for cyber projects.
I wasn’t expecting this one, but it does make sense. One of the professionals I interviewed said that what makes cybersecurity fun for him is that he gets a lot of support from management and customers, including budgetary support, for the work that he does. This is because those people see the importance of cybersecurity.
Certainly, during the past five years, two things have happened in cybersecurity. First, cybersecurity has become a household word that people now have an understanding of. That wasn’t the case a half-decade ago. Secondly, companies have now realized that cybersecurity defense is no longer optional. It is forevermore a part of their budget when five years ago it very well has been viewed as optional.
This change has created for many cyber professionals a situation where they are getting the support that they need to carry out their jobs effectively, and according to them, this is what makes their jobs fun.
Reason #7: We are the first generation of cyber warriors.
Here’s another one I didn’t expect to hear, but that makes sense when you hear it. Cybersecurity is a new phenomenon. It didn’t exist in anything near its current form twenty years ago. This means that any current and soon-to-be cybersecurity professionals are among the first generation of this new field. Teachers, doctors, attorneys, carpenters, and just about everyone else has been around for a while. Not cybersecurity professionals. As cyber pros, we are on the ground floor of this whole new thing, and that is fun and enjoyable to some. One cybersecurity professional said that he enjoys being among the “first iteration of this new science.” That is pretty cool when you think about it.