Great news: there are more ways to get into cyber security than there are to get into the Vatican!
In the UK, the percentage of people recruited from a previous role in cyber security amounted to 54%, whilst those recruited from a non-cyber security role amounted to 27%. This is according to the 2022 Cyber Security UK skills report.
Furthermore, and perhaps most relevant to people looking to get into a Cyber Security career from a different industry… many employers are opting to transition employees (who may lack Cyber-specific skills) into these roles as a way of filling the ever-increasing skills gap.
Cyber Security jobs are some of the most in-demand technology jobs in the UK. and yet, many of them go unfilled with employers pointing to a lack of technical skills and knowledge as a persistent challenge.
Continue reading to understand what the latest job requirements are to land a Cyber Security job. You will also understand the traditional approach (we don’t recommend this!) to securing a job, and learn of a more people-focused way (that we do recommend!) of getting qualified in Cyber Security – and landing a job.
What Is Cyber Security and What Is the Importance of Cyber Security?
Would you agree that data is the most important asset any business can have today?
For modern businesses, data represents a new and modern way to create value for customers and stakeholders at scale; this makes the safekeeping and protection of company data from hacks critically important.
Cyber Security is the professional field concerned with strengthening companies against many forms of cyber-attacks by securing networks, resources, and systems.
As stated above, data equals a valuable business asset companies need to protect.
Cyber Security plays an important role in identifying risks and threats to organisations’ data and developing measures to strengthen a company’s Cyber Security preparedness, to handle threats that may arise.
Cyber threats are real! Linkedin suffered a data breach that saw over 700 million (that is about 90% of their user base) users’ data dumped on the dark web!
Similarly, Marriot International, the company that owns over 6,500 hotel chains globally – had their customer’s data hacked!
This included sensitive information like passport numbers, arrival and departure information, reservation dates, phone numbers, email addresses, and passport numbers.
Cyber threats exist in every industry; hence the importance that is placed on effective cyber security measures.
How to Get Into Cyber Security – The Traditional Approach
Get a College Education
This path can get expensive, really fast! And can run into tens of thousands of pounds – additionally, this is before you factor in extra costs that you may incur. Also, some university curricula struggle to keep up to date with the changes in the industry which include the latest tools and approaches being used in modern cyber security.
Get an Internship
Internships are a common way to gain experience, however, you may find the competition tough and risk not standing out thus limiting your chances of securing a job. Some internships as well may not be designed with your learning and career trajectory in mind… this can stunt a fledgling career before it takes off.
Build a Portfolio
Portfolios in Cyber Security showcase your skills and tenacity to potential employers by working on open source projects that demonstrate tenacity and desire to build skills. Open-source platforms and hackathons are used in this instance to build a portfolio of work to showcase to employers, demonstrating your skills and enthusiasm for learning.
A caveat with portfolios: they are unguided, with you having to figure things out on your own as you go; and may result in you working on projects that don’t build the skills employers are hiring for.
Apply for Positions
Securing a role in tech is tough. You will easily find yourself competing with more talented and skilled people for jobs. This approach can lead to frustration with the job search.
An ideal scenario is being placed into a role after completing your qualifications. But more on that option below.