Why Should Students and Career Changes Attend a Security Conference?
Copyright: Mike Johnson
October 5, 2022
Security conferences are a mainstay for professionals trying to stay current in this constantly changing environment, but is there value for pre-career or career changes to attend these events? The simple answer is YES! There are many benefits for students and others to take part.
What do you get out of attending a conference?
- Learn new things about technology and security. All conferences display new technologies and new ideas for managing risk through the speakers they present, and the sponsors that attend. As a student or career changer being exposed to these new ideas is critical in your early career development. A big part of being a successful cyber professional is understanding the big picture and how everything fits together in an organization. So, learning about various aspects of security and technology helps you build that wholistic vision.
- Enhance existing knowledge. Even if you are proficient in an area of technology, there is always more to learn. There are few fields that change as drastically and frequently as Security and Technology. If you chose this career path, you need to be a life long learner and conferences can jump start those efforts.
- Polish your soft skills. Success in security isn’t only about your technical skills. You also need to be a good communicator and contributor to a team. Conferences focused on students often include presentations and other content tailored to these needs, and we can all get better at communicating and being a good team member.
- Plan your career. There are so many paths one can take to a successful security career; it can be overwhelming to “just pick one.” The broad content presented at conferences and the people you meet there can help answer questions and give you ideas for where you might focus for a career. Content can also provide guidance on how to present yourself to get that first or next job in cybersecurity, which is always important.
- Build your network with other security professionals (or future security professionals). The most successful security people often have strong professional networks. As a student or person new to security this is a critical activity for early development. Why is this important? Keeping up with others helps you stay aware of what’s going on in the field (remember, you need a broad understanding of technology, business, and security). Having a strong network also provides a resource that you can reach out to with questions or to compare notes on a topic or issue. And don’t forget about future career opportunities that are shared within a person’s network; it truly can help you get that next job.
- Meet security leaders and experts. Your network should include both peers and leaders or mentors that can help support your career growth. The speakers and sponsors or supporters of these events are just people, like you, that are further into their security career. Connecting and talking to these terrific resources is invaluable both for your learning and for supporting your advancement in the industry. The security community is generally very close and collaborative, and we want all practitioners to be successful and help support the overall goal of keeping people and organizations safe.
- Have fun. Conferences provide both educational opportunities and a fun social environment. You might even meet a future best friend who clearly shares your interests since you both attended the same event!
We invite you to attend the Secure360 conference on May 9-10, 2023 at Mystic Lake Center in Prior Lake, MN. Stay tuned for registration to open! Learn more here.