How to start a career in Cybersecurity with no experience

Cybersecurity, as well as the IT industry more broadly, is growing rapidly and needs people like you. So where should you begin? Read on to discover how you can start a career in this exciting specialisation. 

Cybersecurity is in high-demand in New Zealand, so there’s never been a better time to get started 

Trained IT and cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, making the top 10 list of recruited roles in New Zealand, according to NZTech’s Digital Skills Survey 2023. Starting a cybersecurity career may feel daunting, with the profession seeming to require a huge amount of technical expertise and encompassing so many different fields.  

Fortunately, there are important, engaging roles for people from all walks of life, and different pathways to get the cybersecurity skills and knowledge you need to be a success. As the cybersecurity sector has developed in importance and evolved, there has become greater scope for people with diverse interests and expertise, such as human-centred interface designers and people with an interest in criminology. 


How to get into Cybersecurity 

With that in mind, here’s an overview of how to get a job in cybersecurity. You’ll also discover the state of cybersecurity today, and why diversity and creativity are just as important as the ability to code. 


Get an IT qualification 

Security is an essential part of Information Technology. The ultimate goal of cybersecurity is to protect valuable data from malicious users, and the core concepts in cybersecurity essentially boil down to these three principles: 

  • Confidentiality: Data must not be revealed to unauthorised users 

  • Integrity: Data must not be altered by unauthorised users 

  • Availability: Data must be available to authorised users upon request. 


Learning how to put these concepts into action – and defend against constant attacks upon these principles – is your first step to a rewarding career in cybersecurity. Once you’ve mastered that, quantum, robotics and artificial intelligence will become a key part of your future. 

If you want to start a career in IT without any experience, an extremely useful first step is to study a Bachelor of Information Technology, like the one offered at Media Design School. Along with other high-demand areas like software engineering, cloud computing, and human-centred design, this qualification will provide you with a practical grounding in the field of cybersecurity, offering solid technical foundations as well as the theoretical underpinnings that will drive innovation and development into the future. 

In the Bachelor of Information Technology at Media Design School, you’ll learn the technical cybersecurity skills needed such as programming, computer networking and systems applications that are used to fight cybercrime – and you’ll do it on industry-leading software. 


Why is Cybersecurity important? 

The information and data war is heating up. Over the past 12-18 months, there have been major data breaches at prominent organisations such as health funds and telecommunications companies, with a raft of new security measures installed to combat hackers. 

Internally, many of these organisations are seeking to improve their security and their responses to cyber threats. They are looking for professionals who can spot vulnerabilities and provide solutions – often before there’s a problem. 

With attackers moving faster and faster in recent years, organisations have to take a proactive, threat-driven approach to cybersecurity. So, what do we do about it? Our industry partner IBM’s 2023 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index outlines the latest research on the top threats organisations face today, and how understanding attackers’ tactics and objectives is crucial to staying one step ahead of threats.  

Globally, the biggest drivers of job growth as a result of digital technologies are likely to be in IT and cybersecurity. There’s a global need for cybersecurity professionals who can protect major corporations in: 

  • Software and web security 

  • Network and digital infrastructure security 

  • Human-centric cybersecurity solutions 

  • AI-driven smart cybersecurity solutions. 


Why is diversity in Cybersecurity important? 

You might have a stereotypical picture in your head, but the truth is far more varied. 

Cybersecurity benefits from the input and wisdom of a broad variety of people, from all backgrounds. That’s because one of the most exciting things about cybersecurity is that it deals with humans as much as it does with systems. Although we live in a digital society, human factors are one of the most important elements in building and defending a digital fortress. 

Many of today’s attacks on confidentiality are facilitated by hackers taking advantage of people rather than software, using psychological tactics or bypassing easily guessed passwords. In many cases, humans are the weakest link in the system, so human behaviour analysis is very important in cybersecurity protection. 

If everybody thinks the same or comes with the same set of cultural assumptions, it leaves us vulnerable to attacks that take advantage of our blind spots. That’s why it’s important to build teams made up of people from diverse backgrounds, with diverse skill sets and ways of viewing the world. 


Why is creativity needed in Information Technology (IT)? 


Hackers deploy a staggering range of assaults, and it is up to cybersecurity professionals to anticipate the next move. It’s highly interesting, varied work that challenges you to be your best, get inside other people’s heads and explore new ways to keep data secure. 

That’s especially true because these battlegrounds now extend to advanced cloud computing systems, distributed software networks and AI-driven computing systems. Whoever has the better system wins, and unfortunately, it sometimes seems that the hackers are winning. 

Virtual supply chains and cloud-based services also mean that there are more online connections that can be attacked, geopolitical developments mean more attacks are taking place and a rise in overall online activity means those attackers are going after more targets – big and small. 

Given that these threats come from a broad variety of sources with different motives, it’s vital that those on the pro-security side can anticipate future moves and come up with creative ways to keep our information safe. 


Can I study Information Technology (IT) with no programming experience? 


When you study a Bachelor of Information Technology at Media Design School, you’ll gain the best possible footing to launch your career in this vital field. 

Designed with partners from across the IT industry, this degree is built to prepare you with the ability and knowledge you need to thrive. That means we give you the foundational skills you require, as well as hands-on experience so you’ll be able to begin your cybersecurity journey with confidence. 


At Media Design School, areas of cybersecurity you can delve further into include: 

  • Ethical hacking: How to beat hackers at their own game 

  • Software, data and user security: Keeping vital data and users secure 

  • Human-centric cybersecurity: Behaviour analysis for better cyber protection 

  • Digital infrastructure security: Focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud security 

  • Enterprise-grade cybersecurity systems: Building multiple layers and types of defence against attack vectors 

  • Cybersecurity for future digital environments: Keeping an eye on upcoming technologies and what may come next. 


Our teaching is focused on proactive and preventative cybersecurity practice – learning to detect vulnerabilities so that companies can remain protected. This is where your skills in human-centric design will set you apart. 

More specifically, amongst other skills, a Bachelor of Information Technology helps you learn: 

  • The fundamentals of preventative cybersecurity principles 

  • Vulnerability detection using next-generation technologies and security solutions 

  • Ethical hacking and penetration testing practices 

  • Threat identification 

  • Enterprise-level security solution design 


Top 10 cybersecurity companies to work for and the roles you can start 

This industry presents an array of amazing career opportunities, because cybersecurity is a field high in demand, with salary bands increasing worldwide – well into six figures. 

In New Zealand, Microsoft has noted a 65 percent growth in cybersecurity roles without a proportional increase in the number of people with cybersecurity skills.* 

There are many dedicated cybersecurity organisations operating both locally and globally, with entry-level roles available for people who want to be part of this challenging, exciting sector. Here are 10 examples of organisations that offer jobs you can get with a cybersecurity degree, including some companies who have co-designed and evolved our courses to ensure they’re on point: 

  • IBM 

  • Fortinet 

  • CISCO 

  • PWC 

  • Kaon Security 

  • Kordia Limited 

  • AWS 

  • CyberCX 

  • CrowdStrike 

  • iT360. 


And here are some potential roles you can take on within the industry: 

  • Cybersecurity analyst 

  • Cybersecurity engineer 

  • Network engineer 

  • Cybersecurity consultant 

  • Cybersecurity administrator 

  • Systems engineer 

  • Vulnerability analyst 

  • Software developer 

  • Cybersecurity technician. 


We expect that hyper-analytical mind of yours is now ticking. Talk to our Future Student Advisors to find out which course is right for you. 


*Partnership announced to address urgent cybersecurity skills shortage, Microsoft news centre. March 2023. 

Bachelor of Information Technology is the newest programme offered by Media Design School