I'm a mostly self taught security analyst that got their job by telling a small start-up that I'd work for free. I knew that I'd never get the salary I want by staying there, so I moved up to my current role and doubled my salary, but I still feel like I could get more. I just got my first BS in software development, and I'm working on my 4th year of experience in cyber security.
I'm not really sure what to do to make my next career move. Should I go for a masters? Is the cyber security analyst salary inherently lower than than a SWE salary? Should I try to move on to machine learning or should I dive deeper into my current career path.
I really lack confidence that I could stand out in the cyber security market at a FAANG company. What can I add to my resume to help me stand out other than the usual certs like CISSP?
- Booking.com zhajriOP, don’t let imposter syndrome get to you. I’m self taught just like you. Just apply and focus on building diverse experience on your resume.
- Amazon BigBird420I can't speak for the security field specifically, but generally it's not worth it to get a masters compared to 4 years of upward mobility. If you switch companies or positions in a way that gives you a better title, higher TC, or experience in higher complexity scenarios, that's extremely valuable.
I can tell you that security engineers definitely make as much as SWEs (and sometimes more), but I don't know if an analyst role will pay an equivalent amount. Machine learning is probably not the direction you want to go; it's a bit of a buzzword, and it's not that relevant to security yet.
Instead of focusing on things to add to your resume to stand out, I suggest that you focus on aggressively pursing higher level jobs and using your professional connections to land a role that you can learn in. You said you lack confidence that you would stand out, but sometimes you don't need to stand out at all. Sometimes having someone at a large company refer you and then acing the interview is all you need.
- Amazon Ah DangI agree that Masters doesn’t tend to advance your career much. I don’t know any company that has rejected candidates due to lack of MS.
Analyst roles tend to be paid lower than engineer roles. Engineers ship stuff, and can often also analyze stuff. If I were you I’d figure out what I love to do, and how I can add the most value. Value is typically placed more heavily on those that can make things happen, end to end.