Security Careers – How To Build A Successful Career In Information and Cyber Security

Security Careers – How To Build A Successful Career In Information And Cyber Security

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?

Start The Building Blocks

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.

Get The Right Qualifications

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.

Get The Degree, Then Move On

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.

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Get Knowing And Get Known

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.

    • You can join the IISP network affordably as an Affiliate Member, allowing you to open the door of the industry and learn from the big names.
    • You can find yourself a mentor, either through your university course or by undertaking a placement or work experience, showing a thirst to learn from the best.
    • You can attend conferences and see what the big news headlines are, and importantly, start to network.

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.

Gain Financial Knowledge

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.

Get Professional

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 Of Information Security Careers

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.

Advantages And Disadvantages of An Artificial Intelligence Security System

Advantages And Disadvantages of An Artificial Intelligence Security System

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making waves with a multitude of capabilities. Now, most is speculative, but progress is being made, and the future of many industries and systems is likely to change as AI continues to take ground.

Artificial Intelligent Security Systems

Artificial Intelligence in security systems aims to bring human intellect into the technology governing security systems. With AI, technology would not just mimic human behaviour but rather actively capitalise on its own assimilation of human intellect in order to improve how a system operates.

Many consider cyber security to be one of the areas to benefit from the advent of artificial intelligence. This is largely because of the central concept that AI allows the “development of algorithms designed to identify cyber threats in real time and provide an instantaneous response.”

There is no doubt that AI can improve our own human capabilities, especially when it comes to tech. For example, AI in video analytics means that a machine can detect what are considered normal behaviours and as a result identify abnormal behaviours, in real-time, allowing crime to be stopped in action.

The Advantages of AI in Security Systems

The over-riding benefit of utilising artificial intelligence in security systems is its inherent ability to be scaled and therefore an inevitable efficiency and efficacy that simply cannot be achieved through human systems operation alone. For the analyst on the ground, AI can also simplify the identification, processing and response to security threats.

It’s yet to be properly tested in practice, but in theory the use of AI in security systems would result in a far more calculated approach to security, and potentially therefore, a more accurate result. By its very nature it could eliminate human error.

Additionally, a huge benefit to AI is that it can simultaneously undertake multiple tasks, monitoring and protecting vast numbers of devices and systems. It can therefore mitigate large scale attacks in a way that traditional cyber security systems can’t.

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The Disadvantages of AI In Security Systems

Artificial Intelligence in security systems has, until recently, foregone the utilisation of valuable analyst skills and therefore doesn’t benefit from human feedback. This is being addressed in systems such as PatternEx which incorporates both machine learning for catching attackers, but also calls on human analysts.

Whilst the initial concerns about the development on AI in cyber security systems may centralise on concerns about eliminating much needed human expertise, intuition and judgement, the real disadvantage of AI is its unpredictability.

Herein lies the concern of many global intellectual and technological gurus such as Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates. It is simply impossible to predict the evolution of AI. This means that further disadvantages come into the mix.

In the hands of the wrong people, AI brings a potential for even greater cyber security threats than we have now. It may even allow for a cyber-attack against the system itself. There also is the concern about where responsibility for infractions committed by AI lies.

The Future Of AI In Security Systems

The cyber security field stands to benefit enormously from AI. However, a measured approach needs to be taken, with due care, and control remaining with cyber security analysts. It must be a tool, rather than a leader.

FAQ’S For Graduates Wanting To Enter The Cyber Security Industry

FAQ’S For Graduates Wanting To Enter The Cyber Security Industry

Over the last 12 months, we have received numerous calls from graduates looking to enter the Cyber Security industry so we thought we would take the most popular and useful information in one, easy to read, place.

1. Is There A Demand For Graduates In The Cyber Security Industry?​

In short, yes! Currently the industry is seeing a huge demand for graduates and industry-movers to get into Cyber Security to close the mythical ‘Cyber Security skills shortage’. Companies and senior leaders are now understanding that there is no such shortage, there is just a need to look at graduates and those with relevant transferable skills for these open roles and provide suitable training and development as necessary.

Cyber Security is always one of the fastest growing industries globally so the number of roles available to graduates is constantly increasing.

Have your water, CV and other supplies you need for the interview readily available so I don’t have to hear the clink of glasses or the typing on your computer so can focus on your interview.

2. Do I Need A Specific Cyber Security Degree?​

Whilst a specific degree in Cyber Security is beneficial, it isn’t a must have to enter the industry. STEM degrees in general provide relevant transferable skills that some employers are looking for but, whilst these are the common degrees many in the industry have, it is not a set rule.

3. What Are The Salary Expectations For An Entry-Level Role?​

For graduate roles in the Cyber Security industry, you should expect to earn somewhere between £25k-£35k although in some cases this can be slightly higher depending on your level of education and any previous work experience.

4. What Is The Progression Like Within The Cyber Security Industry?​

Graduate Cyber Security roles are aligned very closely to standard IT & Tech graduate positions but the progression within the Cyber Security industry does seem to be slightly faster than those in other sectors. After 1 to 2 years, the average salary rises to between £35k-£45k with the overall average salary in the Cyber Security industry being over £63,000.

Depending on the area of Cyber Security you enter (Information Security included) management opportunities can be available after as little as 4 to 5 years although the average is slightly above this.

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5. Are There Any Cyber Security Courses That Are Useful And Are They Required?​

For those with degrees, many employers are willing to take on individuals without any further courses. There are however many courses that can add be beneficial at the Junior Level including CompTIA Security+, CISMP (Certificate in Information Security Management Principles), CCSK (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge) etc.

Whilst they can cost a little bit of money, self-funding Cyber Security courses do show a real willingness to invest in yourself and highlights your passion for the industry.

6. What Type Of Companies Hires Graduates?​

Commonly graduates in Cyber Security were hired by large consultancy firms such as the Big 4 but we have seen a real shift, with clients in a wide range of industries are willing to take on graduates and provide the training and development required.

We work with Large Consultancies, Tech Start-Ups and FTSE100 organisations all willing to take on graduates.

7. What Do I Need To Think About Before Applying For And Accepting A Role In Cyber Security?​

There are several things you should consider,  firstly, we always recommend graduates think about what exactly they wish to do in the industry. Whilst Cyber Security can be seen as quite a niche sector, there is a wide variety of roles and specialisms all with different career paths including GRC (Governance, Risk Management and Compliance), Security Operations, Engineering, Architecture, Penetration Testing and many more. Having an idea of what specific area you wish to work in will help you apply for and accept the right role for you.

Secondly, don’t just accept the first role that you are offered unless it is the right one for you. As mentioned in the beginning, there are several roles available for graduates and you should only accept a position if it is truly right for you. Few questions you can ask yourself:


    1.  Is the company in an industry you want to work in?
    2. Does the role have the right responsibilities and career progression?
    3. Can the company offer the right training and development?
    4. Is the Hiring Manager the right individual for you to work under?

All these things need to be taken into account before accepting any positions.

We know there are probably many more questions that could be answered with regards to entering the industry, but we hope that these few provide some advice and guidance that you find useful. We have set up a group on LinkedIn called ‘Cyber Launchpad’ where we connect graduates and industry-movers with Hiring Managers completely free of charge. You will also see regular advice and guidance on Cyber Launchpad that you may find useful. 

Top 6 Telephone Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Top 6 Telephone Interview Mistakes to Avoid

More and more organisations are turning to telephone interviews as their ideal way of screening candidates. Aside from treating telephone interviews the same as a regular interview, how can you make sure you’re best prepared when you get the first initial call? Here at Via Resource have listed the top six telephone interview mistakes you should avoid.

1. Noisy Background

If there is background noise it can make it even harder to hear or focus on the call. Therefore, make sure you’re in a quiet spot for your interview. If you live with family or friends warn them in advance that you need some quiet. Minimise background noise by closing windows and turning off televisions or radios. Put electronic devices on silent to avoid being distracted.

Have your water, CV and other supplies you need for the interview readily available so I don’t have to hear the clink of glasses or the typing on your computer so can focus on your interview.

2. Low energy

Phone interviews can cut off your energy level therefore it is important to convey enthusiasm and excitement over the phone. Ways to help are to stand up for a phone interview – when you’re seated you lose all that energy. Plus knowing about the job role you applied for and the company can help with showcasing passion. In addition, try to sound positive, avoid yawning or mumbling your responses.

3. Don't forget what you've applied for

If you’re applying for many roles, make sure you manage your time, so you know who’s calling and when. If you get a call at 10am on a Thursday, make sure you’re up in plenty of time, know the name of the person who’s calling, the job role you applied for and the company name. Otherwise, it can give the impression you’re the wrong candidate for the role. 

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4. Eating

There is a time and a place for snacking. However, during your phone interview isn’t it. You might think you’re being quiet – but chances are that you aren’t. A mumbled answer because you have your mouthful is memorable, but for the wrong reasons.

5. Interrupt

Without body language, there’s no way of knowing whether the interviewer has finished talking. The easiest way to avoid interruption is always leaving a pause by waiting, to prevent awkward interruptions from both sides. Not only will it give you time to think of a coherent response, but also means you don’t speak over the interviewer you’re trying to impress.

6. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification

If you miss a particular question don’t try to second guess what it might have been. Apologise and politely ask the interviewer if they can repeat it. They are more than happy to repeat the question.

If you make it to the second round of interviews, we have created a handy virtual and in-person checklist on the best ways to prepare for an interview and provide tips to increase your chances of getting hired.