If you want to work in cyber security, what jobs are availiable to you? Find out here.
Help desk and support
Help desk support is a starter job for many IT careers including security jobs.
Job description: Resolving basic hardware, software and network problems for users. As you progress, they may start working on operating system installations, server builds and ongoing analysis and troubleshooting.
Experience: You’ll need to demonstrate a flair for handling customers as well as technical aptitude and capacity for logical thinking. You might have gained this in a previous job, or be a keen hobbyist who wants to take this further.
Job prospects: There’s always demand for good support people. It’s one of CWJobs’ most prolific vacancies
Career rung: A typical second or third job and a good foundation for a career in security.
Systems administrators possess strong problem-solving, analytical and communication skills and in-depth technical knowledge in order to manage their employer’s systems hardware and software.
Qualifications and experience: Some employers require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field; others may accept an associate’s degree or technical training certificate. Three to five years of experience working with the specific types of hardware and software systems used by the company are generally required. Professional certifications such as the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) or The Sun Certified System Administrator (SCSA) are commonly sought by employers.
Job prospects: Their broad base of technical knowledge combined with management skills makes them strong and employable candidates.
Career rung: A possible first job for those with a specialist qualification.
Job description: Security analysts monitor and advise on all aspects of computer and network security, including firewall administration, encryption technologies and network protocols. Analysts need strong communication skills and are able to multitask and work well under pressure. Keeping abreast of industry trends, security developments, and government regulation is a given.
Qualifications and experience: A degree in cyber security could parachute you straight into this role. Otherwise, employers generally seek a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field along with three to five or more years of practical data security experience. Professional certification such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) qualification also is a valuable asset.
Job prospects: As cloud computing gains ground, there will be increased demand for these professionals as many companies are concerned about their security and data confidentiality.
Career rung: Another recent option for graduates, following the arrival of cyber security degrees. Otherwise, it’s a role to suit someone with a minimum of five years’ experience of managing computer networks.
Job description: They have a specific task: to seek down and remedy vulnerabilities in computer networks. More often you will work for an external client although some large corporations may employ in-house teams. Also known as penetration testers, ethical hackers need analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as excellent judgment and self-motivation.
Qualifications and experience: A high IQ, an enquiring mind, persistence and integrity are as vital as any formal qualification. A track record of solving security problems is also a pre-requisite. More industry qualifications are emerging in this fast-growing profession. A week’s course you can acquire the certified ethical hacker (CEH) badge. However the emerging gold plate of ethical hacking is the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST), which is allied to the government-approved CHECK scheme.
Job prospects: There’s a shortage of cyber security skills in the UK, according to the national sector council, e-skills. The future is very bright for this specialist breed, especially in financial services, energy and government sectors.
Chief information security officer
Career rung: This is the endgame, the pinnacle of achievement for some.
Job description: The modern CISO is business savvy and the job enormously varied – ultimately it is about making good calls on all security-related matters. An ability to think methodically, attention to detail and a healthy paranoia are vital attributes.
Qualifications and experience: Security knowledge is gained from on-the-job experience and university degrees in information security, plus training leading to qualifications such as CISSP and CISM. Accreditation is crucial in order to acquire the necessary breadth of knowledge and accompanying peer recognition.
Job prospects: It’s a relatively new market, and will enjoy a steep growth curve as companies wake up to the extent of cyber threats. Government assets are the most highly prized in society and so, unusually, government offers the top jobs.
With thanks to
Jason Giller, Senior Manager, Robert Half Technology
Peter Wood, founder , First Base Technologies
Marcus Ranum, inventor of the proxy firewall, holder of the ISSA Lifetime Achievement Award