A security researcher investigates security vulnerabilities in applications, websites, hardware, and internet protocols. As security threats evolve, more and more organizations are hiring security researchers to boost their security and their awareness of cybersecurity matters.
In this guide, you will find out what security research entails and how to become a security researcher.
What is Security Research?
Data helps organizations to make informed decisions. This is what makes security research important. As a result, a security researcher will spend hours reading news, academic journals, and listening to relevant podcasts about cybersecurity trends.
But first, a security researcher has to decide what is worth researching since research is time-consuming. Additionally, you need to know when the research is complete so that you can publish your findings and move on to the next research task.
Security research encompasses discovering new things, raising awareness, and putting misconceptions to rest.
How to Become a Security Researcher
To become a security researcher, you need a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Network Systems or IT. Some security researchers begin by working in an IT security team or as software developers.
If you are a professional in the IT sector and you are interested in security research, you should take these steps:
- Start learning on your own: based on what you learn during the research phase, start filling the knowledge gaps. For instance, security researchers should know programming languages like Python, Ruby, C, and C++. So, if you are not familiar with one of these languages, teach yourself. You could also learn assembly programming, web developing, steganography, Linux, cryptography, and hacking techniques.
- Specialize in a specific field: since there is so much to learn, it will be easier to study what most interests you. For example, if you want to specialize in vulnerability research, learn how to reverse malware and all the other relevant subjects in this field.
- Use tools to practice: the best way to learn is through practice. Play around with software as much as you can.
- Advance your studies: you can enroll for a master’s degree in cybersecurity then advance to a Ph.D. This is important if you want to publish authoritative journals on security research.
- Stay up to date with cybersecurity trends: you should not wait to get hired to become a security researcher. Assuming that this is a field you are passionate about, carrying out your own security research should come naturally.
Roles and Responsibilities
Some of the roles and responsibilities of a security researcher include:
- Creating hypotheses, new methods, and techniques to solve cybersecurity issues
- Reverse engineering malware
- Helping the company to become more aware of cybersecurity
- Leading technical projects and teams
- Conducting tests on protocols, hardware, and security controls
- Writing reports and presenting findings of your research to relevant board members or teams
- Researching the feasibility of proposed security products and services
Improving cybersecurity is a team effort. Therefore, being a team player is an essential skill. Also, your employer could ask you to handle other cybersecurity roles like penetration testing. This means that you should acquire a diverse set of cybersecurity skills.