Every year cyber attacks become more sophisticated and severe. So much so, that a recent study by Specops Software found that 54% of business owners from a range of sectors have experienced an increase in cyber threats this year.
To neutralise risk and protect key functions from being compromised by cyber attacks, more and more business leaders are realising the importance of cyber security positions (cyber security analyst, cyber security specialist etc.) within their organisations.
Cyber Security Jobs: The most desired skills
Specops Software found that having a technical aptitude and mindset is the most coveted skill for cyber security roles with an astonishing 99% of job listings (831/843) looking for this necessary skill.
In second position, employers appreciate a cyber security applicant who can take responsibility for their actions, decisions and work with 663 out of 843 listings searching for a candidate with this attribute (79%).
Good written communication (51%) is in third place as 427 of the listed positions analysed, value this is an employee.
Whilst a candidate with passion (37%) for cyber security ranks fourth, seemingly considered an important characteristic by a significant number of firms.
Attention to detail (188/843) and a proactive approach (172/843) are among the other skills which companies look upon favourably for cyber security positions, as 22% and 20% of job listings respectively desire these traits.
Interestingly, 14% of organisations would like prospective applicants to have knowledge of and experience with penetration testing, meaning they are able to use the same tools and techniques as cyber criminals to expose and rectify security vulnerabilities within a network or system.
Surprisingly, skills such as good organisation (11%) and oral communication (10%) are less desired than expected.
On the other end, a willingness to self-learn is the least desired skill with just 4% of positions requiring it.
Cyber Security Jobs: The most desired programming languages
Specops Software found that Python (12%) is the most in-demand programming language for cyber security roles.
C++ (9%) and C (6%) respectively rank second and third.
Cyber Security Jobs: The most desired professional certifications
Specops Software found that ‘Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)’ is the most desired professional certification for cyber security positions with 33% of listings looking for this credential (279/843).
Being CISSP certified is a strong indication that an individual can engineer and run information security programs. Job listings which request the qualification pay handsomely for such capabilities, at an average annual salary of £58,675.
‘Information Security Manager (CISM – 21%)’ is the next most wanted cyber security professional certification in second place with 174 out of 843 jobs analysed listing it as a key qualification, and those employers who request it pay an average annual salary of £59,689.
In third place is ‘Information Systems Auditor (CISA – 14%)’, followed by ‘Ethical Hacker (CEH – 5%)’ in fourth place.
Notably, holders of the ‘Cloud Security Professional (CCSP – 4%)’ certification have the highest earning potential at an average annual salary of £60,000.
On the other end, the ‘Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)’ is the cyber security qualification least in demand, appearing in a mere 1% (5/843) of cyber security job listings.
How beginners can build skills and experience for cyber security jobs:
- DIY testing site
Set-up two or more computers, connected by a router, at home and perform security tests on your own hardware, software, firewall, and server. This will allow you to find weak spots in your own network and come up with solutions to secure them. Be sure to record and document your work to show potential employers how you came up with your own cyber security strategies.
- Beginner-level certifications
If you are keen to learn the fundamentals of cyber security, you might want to consider beginner-level certifications, such as Network+, Certified Ethical Hacker, and Security +.
Security +, in particular, is considered a great certification to obtain when wanting to explore the basics of cyber security.
Build a rapport with influential individuals and companies within the cyber security industry via social networking platforms, like LinkedIn. Many “influencers” appreciate the time taken to reach out to them and most are happy to provide advice and guidance.
To get your foot firmly in the door, it might be worthwhile joining professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec). By doing this, you might find yourself landing a job, internship, or voluntary role to gain some hands-on experience.
- Utilise online learning resources
With an array of online courses available at the touch of a few buttons to complete when and wherever you want, get studying! There is so much you can focus on. Try mastering networking console commands such as Cisco IOS and NX-OS. Additionally, gain vast knowledge on essential operating systems (e.g. Linux, Android etc.) and scripting languages (e.g. Python, C++).