The number of jobs in Information and Cyber Security is booming year on year, along with salaries now often outstripping the CFO. However, this is still a young and relatively new industry, where it is rare to come across a career advisor who will know what Cyber Security entails, let alone be able to direct you on the right path. So, what do you need to know to build a successful career in Information Security?
It is not enough to just go to university, graduate, and hope to walk into a cyber security job. Information and Cyber Security is a specialism that requires an enormous amount of grounding. You can start building your Information and Cyber Security roots young with nothing more than PC access.
In University you can enter competitions, such as the Cyber Security Challenge which will not only give you a chance to develop your skills, but a chance to demonstrate them, and be noticed.
Ideally you need to be good at different areas of technology before attempting to build a successful career in cyber security. Common entry points for Information and Cyber Security include system administration, networking and development. You need to make sure that you’ve got no gaps in your tech knowledge. Essentially you also need a firm grounding in programming. If you can’t code, then your information security career will only go so far.
Many of these skills can be self-taught using online tutorials, books and playing on computer. However, there are now industry- and employer-recognised degree routes that are valuable alongside your self-acquired skills. The two main ones to consider are Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) and Software Development for Business. These courses are now available across a range of colleges and universities.
Whilst there’s no doubting that an Information and Cyber Security degree will be an excellent Launchpad for your career, once you’ve got it the degree rapidly becomes less important than what you’ve done. Therefore, it is essential to have started building a showcase of your cyber security skills along the way.
You need to adopt a love of projects, delving into them and extending your skills to showcasing your abilities. To do this you need to demonstrate you can identify an Information Security problem, come up with a solution and develop the tool that is needed to be the solution.
The world of Information and Cyber Security is news-focussed. You need to stay in touch with Cyber Security news and developments and know what the problems are. There are several ways to do this.
Networking with others in the information security career world is essential, far more than for many other professions. Successful Cyber Security professionals are not just exceptional with their IT skills, but they are group problem-solvers, strong communicators and know how to think on their feet in business environments.
Information and Cyber Security is still having to make its voice heard on business boards. Understanding business strategy and risk, along with financial management, rapidly becomes essential to an individual building a career in Information and Cyber Security. Information Security professionals need to be proactive at selling the need for Cyber Security and understanding the ramifications within the business model and the business budget.
Adding these management and finance skills to your repertoire will become essential to progress beyond the starting blocks of an information security career.
The Information and Cyber Security industry, with its need and reliance on networking, means you need to get known and for a reputation that will stand you in good stead for years to come. So, polish that image, get professional, and take the first steps to your future.
The future high earners are most likely going to be in the Information and Cyber Security Industry, where you can access our salary guide here for the UK and US. Business is realising their very success is down to the strength of their Cyber Security, so it’s a career worth getting started in. We hope our tips help set you on the right path.