Cyber Security Career: Essential Knowledge

Are you looking for a great opportunity in a rapidly expanding sector? Then a career in cyber security could be for you.
09.09.22 Charles Griffiths

With the ever-increasing reliance on technology and the growing threat of cyber crime, organisations need qualified cyber security professionals to protect their systems and data.

A cyber security career means you could work in the public sector, for a private company, or even start your own cyber security consultancy. Such is the dynamic nature of this industry, it is easy to switch between roles as your career progresses.

No matter which route you decide to take, you will need analytical and problem-solving skills.

You will also need to be able to keep up to date with the latest cyber security news and developments, as the landscape is constantly changing.

If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career, cyber security could be the perfect choice for you.

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What are cyber security jobs?

The nature of cyber security work can vary greatly, from working to protect critical national infrastructure, to developing cyber security products or services.

Many cyber security professionals have a background in IT or computer science, but increasingly cyber security roles are being filled by people switching from other disciplines such as law, criminology and engineering.

  • The skills required for cyber security jobs can vary depending on the role. However, some core skills are essential for all security roles, including:
  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • The ability to work effectively as part of a team.
  • The ability to think creatively.
  • The ability to stay calm under pressure.
  • An understanding of cyber security risks and how to mitigate them.

How to start your cyber security career

Entering the world of cyber security can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right knowledge and training, anybody can start a successful career in this exciting and growing industry.

You should look into university courses and a great place to find out more about cyber security careers is the National Cyber Security Centre website.

This is an excellent resource for anyone looking to enter the cyber security field in the UK. It covers the key information that someone would need to know, from what types of roles are available to becoming a cyber security architect.

It’s also important to stay up to date with the latest cyber security news and trends.

You can do this by reading cyber security blogs, attending cyber security conferences, and networking with other professionals in the field.

Which is the best degree for cyber security UK?

There is no single best degree for cyber security, as the skills required for the role can come from a variety of disciplines. There are BSc degrees in cyber security available – and professionals who want to progress in their career should consider an MSc degree or equivalent in the subject.

Once you have your qualification, you can start applying for jobs and the most common entry-level position is a cyber security analyst.

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Other routes into a cyber security career

Since there is a recognised shortage of skilled candidates for cyber security roles, one organisation has created a scheme to help more people get into the sector.

(ISC)2 is a professional body for the cyber security world and their ‘100k in the UK’ free certification scheme is for those wanting a career in cyber.

They say there are at least 33,000 jobs in the UK’s cyber security industry that are currently unfilled.

And that figure is rising.

The organisation’s chief executive, Clar Rosso, said: “The cybersecurity profession needs the next generation to join its ranks now more than ever.

“Unfortunately, until now, individuals looking for their first cybersecurity job often do not know where to start, what to expect, or how to convince employers to give them a chance.”

She added that ISC(2) is now committed to giving 100,000 people an opportunity to pursue a career with free places for the (ISC)2 cyber security certification.

Anyone in the UK can apply – whether you are an IT professional looking for a career change or someone wanting a new career.

The self-paced course covers incident response, business continuity and disaster recovery, network security, access controls and security operations.

The certificate expands the candidate’s skill set and helps them towards an advanced career with the CCSP and CISSP exams.

Alternatively, aspiring cyber security experts can learn on the job with an apprenticeship.

What is a cyber security apprenticeship?

A cyber security apprenticeship trains people to deal with a range of cyber threats, such as malware, and develops important skills and connections that help apprentices throughout their careers.

Apprenticeships are available at all levels, from entry-level roles such as cyber security analysts to more senior positions such as cyber security architects.

Apprenticeships typically last for 12 months but can be extended to 18 months if you’re completing a higher-level apprenticeship.

What is the salary for a cyber security apprentice?

Cyber security apprentices in the UK can expect to earn an average salary of £18,000 per year.

Salaries will vary depending on the level of apprenticeship and the company you work for, but cyber security apprentices with several years of experience can earn between £22,000 and £28,000 per year.

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How much do cyber security experts make?

Salaries will vary depending on experience and location, but with several years of experience, experts can expect to earn salaries in the range of £60,000 to £80,000 per year.

Though CW Jobs says the average cyber security expert salary is £62,500, with employers in Bracknell, for example, paying £82,500 on average, while in Manchester the average is £47,500.

Potential candidates should also appreciate that cyber security is a growing field, and salaries are expected to continue to rise in the future.

Cyber security career role: Analyst

A cyber security analyst is responsible for identifying, investigating and resolving computer security incidents.

They work closely with internal teams and external partners to understand the latest threats and vulnerabilities, and to develop effective mitigation strategies.

Cyber security analysts typically have a strong technical background and are often required to hold relevant professional qualifications such as the:

CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

CISM (Certified Information Security Manager).

How to become a cyber security analyst in the UK

There are many cyber security analyst roles available and competition for these positions is high. To increase your chances of getting a job, you should:

  • Have a cyber security qualification from a recognised institution.
  • Have experience working in the cyber security field.
  • Be able to show that you’re familiar with common cyber security tools and techniques.
  • Be able to demonstrate your analytical and problem-solving skills.

Cyber security career role: Penetration Tester

Penetration tests are carried out to evaluate the security of company networks, programs, apps and any other software. They are ‘ethical hackers’, and replicate the methods used by threat actors to find vulnerabilities in computer networks before they can be exploited. Penetration testers will then generate reports with their findings and recommendations for patching any issues.

To become a systems penetration tester in the UK, you will need the same qualifications and skillset needed to be a cyber security analyst.

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Cyber security career role: Engineer

Cyber security engineers are responsible for designing, implementing and maintaining security systems. They also test systems to find weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

To become a cyber security engineer in the UK, you should have a degree in computer science, engineering or a related subject and some experience working in cyber security.

Enjoy your cyber security career

If you’re interested in starting a career in cyber security, be sure to check out the National Cyber Security Centre website for more information.

There are many different roles available in cyber security, so there’s sure to be one that’s a perfect fit for you. With the right training and qualifications, you can start your cyber security career today.

You can look for cyber security jobs in the UK on job boards such as Cybersecurity Jobs and Indeed.

You can also search for cyber security vacancies on the websites of major cyber security employers such as GCHQ, the NCSC and the Cabinet Office.

Good luck!

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