Do you know what cybersecurity is? Cybersecurity is the field concerned with protecting online information. Banking, medical, governmental, political candidate, social media. Most data online has some value, and the more valuable it is, the more it needs to be protected.

We’ve seen a few instances of security breaches lately that have put a lot of information at risk. Target. Anthem. LinkedIN. HHS. Donald Trump. Even Mark Zuckerberg!

We’ve even seen real cyberwarfare, in case you didn’t realize it, in Stuxnet.

This isn’t just the stuff of Neuromancer, James Bond or Jason Bourne. This is real-life, everyday.

Cybercrime is a major concern in our daily lives whether we realize it or not. Our information is under attack every minute of every day.

And cybersecurity is the offensive and defensive response.

Ever consider a career in cybersecurity? People concerned with cybersecurity understand things like forensics and gathering data, applied cryptography, offensive security, network management and security, web security, data privacy and regulations. And the world of cybersecurity is growing every day – there’s no time to be bored.

Cybersecurity Books

So let’s do some research on cybersecurity and figure out what the field entails. Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team recommends 10 books focused on computer security in general and malware analysis in particular. SANS asks ‘What are the best security books to have in your library?’ To find out, Stephen Northcutt polled the GIAC Advisory Board. And at Goodreads, they have a number of popular cyber security books.

I took a look at Palo Alto Networks’ Cybersecurity Canon, where they list books every cybersecurity professional should read. You’ll find books in categories like cyber history and culture, cyber crime, novels, cyber warfare and technical disciplines.

Learning about Cybersecurity

Ready to find out if studying cyber security is your thing? NICCS is your first stop. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies is under Homeland Defense, and they want veterans on their team. Take a look at what they offer.

Coursera features a course in cybersecurity fundamentals, offered by University of Maryland. The course lasts 7 weeks, and requires at least 8 hours of study time per week. The cost is only $245.

Stanford University’s Advanced Computer Security offers a professional certificate. Their online certificate program provides you with the skills needed to protect networks, secure electronic assets, prevent attacks, ensure privacy, and build secure infrastructures.

Palo Alto Networks has a great academy where you can sign up for a veterans program that they sponsor.

Cybersecurity Degree Programs

I also came across Kate Taylor’s excellent article, A Degree in Cybersecurity. Kate’s article is short, but she packs a ton of great info into it. Taylor writes:

“A growing number of universities in the U.S. have added cybersecurity-related degree programs to their educational offerings.

Most of these programs offer online courses, including virtual lab environments and an array of different security technologies. A few offer both bachelor’s and master’s programs.”

Learn to Code

Need software skills? Understanding the ins and outs of coding can help you in cybersecurity fields, and can help you stay employed. Take a look at software coding certification courses. If you’re ready to code, start with Codeacademy.

You can also teach yourself to code in as little as 8 weeks.

And there’s the secret technique for learning how to code.

You can also look at Harvard’s free online Computer Science course. (‘Mom, I’m going to Harvard!’ Sounds pretty good, huh?)

The field of cybersecurity is of critical importance to our nation’s vital interests. We need our best people protecting our infrastructure, health information, military secrets, business information, social security information. We need our best people looking out for our best interests, and taking it to the bad guys.

So if cybersecurity is interesting to you, you’ve got some reading available to you, some free and affordable courses, and some outstanding degree programs. Check out the profiles of the colleges in this article here on CollegeRecon to find out which offer the best veteran benefits and options for you.

Cybersecurity is an ever-growing field. Careers abound. Veterans and patriots need apply.