Cyber Security is one of the fastest-growing global industries, with global spending expected to reach $170.4 billion in 2022. Since the start of the pandemic, remote workers have become sitting ducks for cybercriminals. The increase in cyber-attacks has driven up businesses demand for protection. The demand for experienced cyber professionals is widening the skills gap, sending salaries of Cyber Security Professionals skyrocketing. The promise of high salaries, job security and stimulating work makes a Cyber Security career an extremely tempting one. Read on to find out how to get into Cyber Security whatever career stage you’re at.
What Puts People Off Choosing a Career in Cyber Security?
Despite attractive salaries and endless job opportunities, not enough people show interest in the Cyber Security sector. Hence the growing skills gap. So what is putting them off?
Lack of Understanding
When people embark on careers in tech, they tend to go with what they know. That’s why the most popular tech career choices tend to be Web Design or Software Development. It’s easier to buy into a career if you can visualise the job you might have in five years time. However, if you ask the average Joe what careers in Cyber Security entail, it’s doubtful he would have any idea.
If you’re curious about Cyber Security, the hit show Mr Robot should definitely be on your watchlist. If you don’t already know, Mr Robot is a dark, thriller-drama which explores the world of cybercrime. It stars Rami Malek as Elliot, a cybersecurity engineer, and Christian Slater as Mr Robot. Mr Robot, an anarchist, recruits Eliot into the “fsociety” with the aim of taking down Eliot’s tech giant employer.
How realistic the storyline is, is the topic of much debate among the tech community. Although it certainly gives an insight into the world of cybercrime and as a bonus, is delightfully addictive to watch.
Lack of Education
Many people assume that being super brainy and having a Computer Science degree are prerequisites to working in Cyber Security. However, this is simply not the case. For example, for those with work experience in training or people management, sidestepping into a tech security role is entirely possible. It is also possible to gain entry as an apprentice in Systems Administration or become a Certified Ethical Hacker.
First Line Support or Tech Support is a popular entry-level route into IT which doesn’t require a degree. With a few years’ experience, it is entirely possible to become a Network Administrator which opens the door to a Network Security job.
Certified Ethical Hacking
The Certified Ethical Hacker certification is a popular route into entry-level Cyber Security roles for those without a degree. The certificate introduces the techniques and tools that cybercriminals use to break into corporate networks. The course takes less than a week to complete. Upon qualifying, you could expect to become an Information Security Analyst with an average UK salary of around £35,000. However, you will need a few years’ experience in an IT environment to get onto the course.
Lack of Experience
If you’re just starting your career and wondering which path to take to get into IT Security, formal education is still the most popular route. Particularly, if you have your sights set on one of the exceptionally high salaried cyber jobs, a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science degree will undoubtedly get you a foot in the door to a well-paid entry-level role. For example, as a Graduate Penetration Tester, or Pentester, you might expect to earn up to £30,000.
Although even after graduation, you should be willing to update your skills further. Popular cyber courses include:
Certified Information Systems Security Professional
The Certified Information Systems Security Professional qualification or CISSP is highly regarded in tech security. You would need at least five years’ experience before taking this qualification, and only top-tier Cyber Security professionals achieve it.
However, it’s only a short course which it is possible to complete in under a week. After qualifying, you have the potential to become a Chief Information Security Officer with an average salary of around £95,000. So if you’re wondering whether returning to university might be worth the investment, it would pay dividends in the long run.
Certified Information Security Manager
The CISM qualification is for those aspiring to a career in IT Security Management. It’s an expert-level certification that proves skills in risk management and enterprise security systems. With the CISM qualification, you could become a Senior Security Consultant and expect an average salary of around £74,000.
How to Know if Cyber Security is Right For You?
Focusing on your skills is always a good investment. Although it can feel like a waste of time and money, if after qualifying that you hate the job you’ve worked so hard to attain. Thankfully, there are many day courses and networking events to give you a taste of Cyber Security.
For example, Manchester Digital runs many events on an array of different topics, including taking the first steps into Cyber Security. You will find similar groups available in most cities.
Hackathons are popular events where budding ‘white hat hackers’ get together to solve simulations of real-life scenarios. These groups give you the chance to use open-source tools, crack passwords, steal data and understand how hackers target networks.
Personality Traits of Successful Cyber Security Professionals
Of course, there are particular personality traits and soft skills which make individuals better suited to careers in Cyber Security, such as:
- Problem-solving ability
- Keen interest in technology
- Attention to detail
- Communication skills
- Desire to learn
- Motivation to continually improve skills
A Few Final Thoughts on Getting into Cyber Security
Cyber Security can be a gratifying and high paying career for the right kind of person. However, it’s not for everyone. Therefore it is a good idea to attend a networking event such as a hackathon to dip your toe in before deciding to follow this career path.
After reading this article, we hope that you have a better idea of what a career in Cyber Security might be like and whether or not it is for you. If you found it useful, please share it on social media where others can benefit from it too.