A career in cyber security can lead to growth in a job market where cyber security professionals are always in-demand. Cyber security professionals work for all types of organizations that have information security needs. With the right education, certification and work experience, you can build a successful cyber security career.
The specific job duties you’ll have in a cyber security role will depend on your organization, the size of your team, the industry you work in and other factors. Some of your responsibilities might include:
- Monitoring a computer network for breaches
- Investigating cyber security violations
- Selecting, installing and using cyber security software
- Creating and presenting security breach reports
- Conducting cyber security testing
- Researching cyber security trends
- Making cyber security recommendations for workflow, disaster recovery plans and software
- Developing cyber security processes, procedures, standards and best practices
- Training users on cyber security procedures
Cyber security skills go beyond computer talent. If you’ve wondered what type of skills do you need for a job/career in cyber security, know that non-tech-specific skills like communication and problem-solving are just as important for career success.
Education and training in cyber security can help you prepare for a position in this growing field. Here are some in-demand skills, certifications and qualifications that can help you stand out as a cyber security candidate.
What certifications or degrees do I need for a cyber security job?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most information security analyst positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computers, such as programming, information assurance or computer science.
A cyber security professional will likely need to be trained on cyber security threats and issues like phishing, malware, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and ransomware. Cyber security professionals need to know how to protect organizations and help them recover from security issues like these.
Certain types of organizations may have different skillset demands. For example, a cyber security professional working in healthcare will need to know how to adhere to HIPAA compliance regulations.
If you don’t have a computer-related degree, there are certification programs that can help you train for a career in cyber security. Certifications can help you stand out as a cyber security candidate, since they show you’ve recently trained in the latest cyber security best practices.
Check out certifications like the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), the GIAC Security Expert (GSE) Certification and the CompTIA Security+ certifications. These are some of the most widely-recognized certifications in cyber security.
There are also a variety of cyber security bootcamps available. Bootcamps are short, intensive programs that may result in a certificate. They may be offered online for those who want to learn cyber security on a convenient, flexible schedule. If you’re interested in attending school for cyber security, there may be cyber security scholarships available.
Research job listings or check with your employer about certifications or education that can help you achieve the cyber security position you want. Some cyber security hiring managers will consider relevant work experience, so even if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in something related to computers, you may still be able to pursue a cyber security career.
What skills are needed to be successful in cyber security?
In addition to education and certification, hiring managers are also looking for cyber security skills that indicate candidates work well with others, can communicate effectively and have a strong work ethic to take initiative and solve problems. You might see skills like the following listed in cyber security job descriptions.
First and foremost, cyber security professionals need to be familiar with technology and tools related to cyber security. Cyber security technical skills include areas like security and network architecture, operating systems and frameworks, compliance, security analysis, incident response, cyber security automation, scripting and data analytics. Technical skill requirements will depend on the job, but you can learn general technical skills in a cyber security bachelor’s program or certification program.
Cyber security professionals have to be detail-oriented and pay careful attention to computer systems to notice any problems in performance. Cyber security pros need to be able to understand how specific computer systems and networks operate, so they can determine risks and the appropriate security protocols to implement to protect them.
Those who work in cyber security have technical expertise that they need to translate to non-technology professionals. Cyber security pros must effectively communicate with their own team members, as well as stakeholders outside of IT, such as department managers and even top executives. Cyber security professionals may be tasked with creating reports that non-tech pros must be able to understand.
In order to best protect an organization from cyber security threats, cyber security pros must understand how their work impacts business operations and overall business goals. A cyber security professional needs to know how certain threats affect a business and why mitigating those is essential to successful business operations. Cyber security professionals who direct teams will also need business skills related to leadership, project management and people management.
Cyber security professionals prevent and fix problems. They have to use ingenuity to anticipate risks and implement the most effective measures to protect organizations from those risks. They also have to quickly identify issues and respond to security alerts to minimize downtime. When cyber security threats do appear, cyber security pros can make recommendations for how to improve protection in the future.
Grow a Career in Cyber Security
As you can see, cyber security professionals get to use a diverse skillset in their work. They’re problem-solvers, technology experts, communicators and teammates. The decisions cyber security professionals make can affect entire organizations and potentially millions of dollars or more worth of revenue.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in cyber security, there are currently 14,000 unfilled cyber security jobs available in Arizona. Explore IT and cyber security careers in Arizona.