The end of the year brings the opportunity to dream big and plan out what you’ll make of the next 365 days in 2020.

According to an Inc. survey of 2,000 people, some of the top resolutions for the past year included “learn a new skill or hobby,” “read more,” and “find another job.”

If your resolutions are similar to those mentioned, we have a few specific suggestions of goals and resources that can boost your personal growth and career in cybersecurity.

If you’re looking to learn a new skill or hobby…

consider picking up a musical instrument.

There is an interesting connection between music talent and cybersecurity talent. In a 2016 Fast Company article, A principal security engineer at a telecommunications service firm attributed his success in the field to the skills he picked up as a quasi-professional band member. Playing an instrument requires creativity, quick-thinking, pattern recognition, and learning of a new language–all skills that are immensely helpful in any cybersecurity position.

Security leaders recognize this and agree. In a Federal News Network radio interview, Margie Graves, Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Office of Management and Budget, highlighted musicians as one of the most important disciplines that can easily transfer into cyber. 

If you work in cybersecurity already, strike up a conversation with your colleagues about your goal to learn an instrument. You may be surprised by how many are musically inclined. Bonus: they might be able to help you choose which one to pursue too.

Not in cyber yet? Be sure to mention your music experience on your resume and/or during the course of interviewing. It may just be the thing that helps you stand out among more traditional practitioners.

If you want to read more…

add these cyber-focused titles to your list:

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter: The story behind the virus that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear efforts and shows how its existence has ushered in a new age of warfare; one in which a digital attack can have the same destructive capability as a megaton bomb.

Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World by Marc Goodman: Former FBI Futurist and Interpol advisor provides a deep dive into the digital underground illuminating the alarming ways criminals, corporations, and even countries are using new and emerging technologies against you—and how this makes everyone more vulnerable than you ever thought possible.

Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door by Brian Krebs: This book traces the rise, fall, and alarming resurrection of the digital mafia behind the two largest spam pharmacies-and countless viruses, phishing, and spyware attacks.

If you want to find another job…

create or refine your personal brand and online presence.

Did you know that 92% of recruiters use social media to find candidates? Almost every recruiter looks at an applicant’s LinkedIn profile to determine whether or not to interview them, so what does your online presence currently look like?

If the answer is non-existent, or it hasn’t been updated in ages, make it your mission to build out a consistent, up-to-date online presence over this next year. Career Contessa put together an all-inclusive guide on crafting your personal brand that makes it totally doable on your own (and it’s free!)

Online presence doesn’t just enable recruiters to find you for open roles. Conferences, podcast hosts, publications, and other organizers are often searching for people to interview, present, and/or speak on panels at events. These opportunities can greatly help boost your credibility as avenues to demonstrate your subject matter expertise, setting you up for future career moves.

Is a career change into cybersecurity one of your New Year’s resolutions? We are connecting women around this common goal; providing information, resources, space, and guidance to explore if and how to pursue a cybersecurity career. Join us! Express interest in our online program set to launch in 2020→