One of the challenges for anyone moving into cybersecurity or information security is to make friends and meet professionals in the field. That is where associations, societies, and networking groups come in. You can easily find security-focused groups on many social media platforms, however, there are some benefits to membership in formal organizations.
- Each organization provides a variety of benefits to members, from journals, access to tools, events, discounts, job fairs and more.
- Some of these associations are also certifying bodies. That is, they are the groups behind certifications such as CISSP and CISM.
- Membership in a formal organization, especially with a recognizable name, looks good on a resume.
How can you find these associations and societies? Google of course, but I've done some work for you. Cybersecurity Ventures keeps a handy list of associations on their website. Wikipedia has a larger, but messy list of computer security organizations, many of which are associations or professional societies.
If you browse the lists linked above you'll find many useful and interesting organizations, for example:
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) "For 50 years and counting, ISACA® has been helping information systems governance, control, risk, security, audit/assurance and business and cybersecurity professionals, and enterprises succeed. Our community of professionals is committed to lifetime learning, career progression and sharing expertise for the benefit of individuals and organizations around the globe.
Today, we also help build the skills of cybersecurity professionals; promote effective governance of information and technology through our enterprise governance framework, COBIT® and help organizations evaluate and improve performance through ISACA’s CMMI®. We serve over 145,000 members and enterprises in over 188 countries and awarded over 200,000 globally recognized certifications. ISACA is, and will continue to be, ready to serve you." Source
- Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) "ISSA is the community of choice for international cybersecurity professionals dedicated to advancing individual growth, managing technology risk and protecting critical information and infrastructure.
The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA)® is a not-for-profit, international organization of information security professionals and practitioners. It provides educational forums, publications, and peer interaction opportunities that enhance the knowledge, skill, and professional growth of its members." Source
It is important to note that many of these groups have specific requirements for eligibility. Fortunately, even if you don't meet some of the professional criteria yet - you will find student memberships or student chapters.
Joining an association and introducing yourself on their social media group or other social forum is a great way to start meeting professionals in the field. In my experience, the students and professional who take the time to join a formal association tend to take the field seriously. That isn't always the case, but either way you'll find a lot of interesting and motivated people. Good luck!