Beginning a career in cyber security requires knowledge of information technology and a Business Studies degree if you want access to better jobs.
Cyber security roles generally involve working as engineers building secure online systems or managing the people who develop such systems.
One thing is sure; there is high demand for tech-savvy, detail-oriented individuals with an analytical mind to help companies and government bodies overcome the risks to their online data through cyber attacks.
There are many job titles and roles within cyber security, so you should narrow down the path that appeals to you or is most accessible early in your career.
Whilst a degree isn’t compulsory, it is undoubtedly helpful in cyber security jobs. A degree in cyber security and gaining experience in information security by studying information technology and science or computer science and then a master’s degree is a common way to expand the cyber security careers you may be suitable for.
If you need assistance finding out about the different cyber security roles available or help finding vacancies, then a recruitment agency such as Agile Recruit, the leading cloud and data recruitment agency, is ideally placed. They could help you gain experience and find suitable positions at junior and senior levels.
Suppose you already have a Business Studies degree or are a student studying something else, or perhaps you wish to change your career a few years after obtaining your degree. In that case, you should enrol on a technical or community college IT course. Alternatively, you could investigate the many good online IT courses, some of which are free. You will certainly need to be familiar with all IT areas before considering a cyber security career.
What to show employers
The most important thing is to show prospective employers that you are highly qualified and have experience in security and IT systems, especially if you are chasing senior positions. If you have earned some certificates in cyber security, you may be able to access entry-level positions and gain on-the-job experience from which to work your way up. Certificates covering information security, information assurance and information system security will help you demonstrate interest and ability.
It is also good to know related fields such as administrating multiple operating systems, scripting languages and data networks, and network with professionals in the field to build up job connections. This can often be a way into some jobs. Volunteering for community projects or online cyber security organisations will enable you to use your knowledge and gain experience.
Prepare a CV that highlights your knowledge and experience. Again, a specialist recruitment agency such as Agile Recruit can help you sell yourself and direct you to appropriate roles. If you can demonstrate a proactive approach at interviews, this can also help you show prospective employers that you are hands-on.
One way to show that you have experience is to run multiple personal systems to keep your cyber security knowledge and skills up to date. During an interview, you can then explain how you handle reverse-engineering malware and track malicious online activity. Companies will be keen to see how you can apply your knowledge to practical situations.
Now is a great time to start a career in cyber security. With every company requiring individuals who can build secure systems and protect their information from cyber threats, the cyber security expert’s role is pretty secure, with positions across the globe and within all industry sectors.
Wherever you currently lie with knowledge and experience, you should continue to build on professional qualifications and gain relevant experience as competition for jobs can be high. Consider which cyber security areas you want to specialise in and focus on gaining qualifications, knowledge and experience that makes it happen, be that an information security auditor, manager, or ethical hacker.