Cyber Security in 2019

Posted: 15th of March 2019 by Lewis Scott


How to get a job in cyber security

Cybercrime is on the rise across the world. In the UK alone, it’s expected to cost businesses £4trn in additional costs and revenue losses over the next five years.

If you’ve been teaching yourself how to hack and want to know how to make the step towards monetising your interests for good, jobs in cyber security are only likely to become more common in the next few years.

Across the world, the 5 most vulnerable industries to attack are:

  • Public
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional
  • Healthcare
  • Education

As awareness of cyber threats continues to grow, these industries will be in desperate need of expertise from candidates who are able to think like an attacker, even those without a related working or educational background.

Additionally, 37% of SMEs in the UK don’t have a cyber security plan, meaning there’s sure to be a huge growth in opportunities with smaller businesses as cyber threats continue to develop as a growing issue.

Even with an increased understanding of the need for online protection, becoming a cyber security professional will require you to have a solid amount of evidence in your ability and, more importantly, your enthusiasm.

The full breadth of the IT security industry

Although seemingly a niche job market, cyber security is hugely broad, with opportunities from security analysts to ethical hackers. Many entry-level security jobs may not always be in security-based roles, such as systems admin, but will give you an opportunity to focus on security and move into a role more suited to you with time.

Popular cyber security apprenticeships

  • Security Analysts
  • Software Development
  • Risk Analysts
  • IT Support
  • Network Engineer

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide where your skills lie and what most interests you about the industry – why did you get into hacking in the first place?

Try looking through security-specific job sites to get a feel of the kinds of security jobs available near you (or elsewhere if you’re interested in relocating). Once you know the general area of cyber security that’s in your wheelhouse, you can start tailoring your experience and your CV to best optimise it for recruiters.

Looking through these kinds of site might also give you inspiration if you’re not entirely sure what job or niche you think you’re interested in.

The global cyber security job market

India and the US have the largest cyber security talent pool, quickly followed by the UK, France and Germany. Less competitive countries include Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden. In Europe, the Netherlands actually beats out the UK and France on vulnerability, which could suggest that Holland is a great place to learn cyber security. However, the UK and France are larger political targets, making them more popular to attackers.

The shortage of skilled cyber security staff has reached almost 3 million globally in the last year, which sounds great if you’re starting to think about diving into a cyber career. It’s important to remember, though, that the requirements for cyber security jobs are high across the board, given the high stakes of maintaining a business’ online defences.  To make sure you have the best chance of securing interviews, your CV will need to show that you have what employers are looking for.

The importance of work experience

One of the biggest complaints of tech recruiters is that candidates don’t have the right experience for the job. Many graduates fresh out of university don’t have the practical skills they need to get stuck in with complex security issues. Some may not even have much work experience to speak of at all.

Even if you don’t have a formal degree, having a decent work portfolio and evidence of your dedication to cyber security can get you far in the employment process. With recruiters intent on finding the candidates with the most experience, having proof of your past achievements will be a huge standout on your application.

Some of the most common hard skills for cyber security include:

  • Knowing code (C, CC+, Java, Python, Ruby)
  • Understanding different operating systems (Windows and Linux)
  • Assembly language and disassemblers
  • Firewall and intrusion detection protocols

Some recruiters will also require you to have a specialisation in a specific field, these can include:

  • Cisco
  • Wireless
  • Cloud
  • Cryptography
  • Open source

Self-learning will be really useful in showing your worth to companies. Even without formal qualifications, the willingness to learn on your own time may encourage them to take you on and pay for your training on the job.

Consider building your own systems them trying to hack them or creating open source programs in your spare time.

Soft skills to seal the deal

As well as practical knowledge, recruiters despair at candidates who lack so-called soft skills vital to functioning in the workplace.

While it might seem like a stereotype, recruiters struggle to find  IT employees who are able to comfortably work as a team, take on responsibility and leadership and interact with employees without an IT background.

If you’re concerned your experience won’t be enough to grab you the job you’re angling for, giving evidence of your soft skills could be the deciding factor. Include your hobbies in your cover letter or CV and make sure to emphasise achievements you’ve reached as part of a team. These can include school or work projects or cyber security contests/games.

Getting the perfect security job

If getting into the cyber security industry is a goal of yours, try to modify your CV with these tips and keep working on your own time to hone your skills. And remember, your first position is rarely going to be your dream job but once you’ve built a footing, you can expand your reach and become a proper cyber security professional.

This article was written by Damon Culbert from Cyber Security Professionals, specialist cyber security recruitment agency worldwide.

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