The cyber security industry is forever evolving and becoming more complex. As technology continues its many advancements, cyber security has become an integral part in it all – particularly when you consider how much of our lives are now spent and shared online. People want to know their information is safe and secure, and as more people make moves online, more cyber security opportunities appear.
With many options available in Australia, those interested in getting a job in cyber security may find themselves facing uncertainty about which career path to take. But cyber security has a career path suitable for everyone, even those without a technical background!
For those wanting to know how to get their foot in the door, here are the 6 steps to becoming a cyber security professional in Australia:
1. Research potential career prospects in the cyber security industry
Cyber security might be a relatively young field, but it’s rapidly evolving with multiple career paths available. Cyber security is quickly becoming relevant in every industry and the demand for cyber security professionals is growing. But before you get ahead of yourself, the best first step is research.
Research the different roles in cyber security and find out the skills required to get a job. Think about your current strengths and weaknesses, what you enjoy, what you dislike, and what kind of specialist skills you might need. Most importantly, what kind of skills do you already have that would fit well with cyber security?
Here is an idea of some different career paths you can take based on your interests:
- Are you a curious person who enjoys deconstructing ideas so you can find their weaknesses? If so, you might enjoy Penetration Testing
- Is it your mission to protect others from harm? Do you enjoy solving mysteries and think of yourself as a detective? Working as part of a Security Operations Centre (SOC) team would be perfect!
- Are you more of a researcher that enjoys searching for intelligence by monitoring the news or other sources? Then check out Threat Management
- Are you looking to break into the cyber security space without a technical background, or perhaps you’re more interested in the business and policymaking side of cyber security? You’d probably find the Security Assurance/GRC (Governance, Risk Management & Compliance) pathway to be highly interesting!
2. Study the basic qualifications to kick-start your cyber security career
Once you have researched the cyber security space to find an interest or potential career path, study the skills required in a cyber security role. It is of utmost importance that you develop a basic understanding of the fundamentals in order to kick-start your cyber security career, which includes things like a basic understanding of security and networking.
While there are many opportunities in cyber security for those without a technical background, learning a programming language will definitely kick-start your career. The future outlook of cyber security roles is escalating, with companies willing to take on board inexperienced candidates as long as they have a basic understanding of the fundamentals and can commit to continuing learning.
3. Familiarise yourself with the job opportunities available in the Australian cyber security industry
It would be wise to look into the cyber security industry and familiarise yourself with the types of jobs available, including those entry-level positions in areas that can provide a stepping stone towards more specialist areas. Some of the most successful areas to find your first job in Australia are financial/risk analysis, networking, and systems engineering. Cyber security professionals are in demand so businesses are willing to hire and upskill candidates who know the fundamentals and show a desire to learn.
In order to increase your chances of getting a job, work on personal cyber security projects. This will also help you discover your passion. A great place to start is by pursuing bug bounties, which are set up by companies for cyber security professionals on the outside to test their technologies and skills in order to find any security weaknesses in their infrastructure. It is a great way to keep adding to your cyber security skillset, and you’ll learn a lot as you go!
4. Gain a cyber security certification through practical training
The cyber security space is a dynamic field that continues to evolve every day. Due to the volatile nature of the industry, it is in your best interest to upskill with cyber security certifications through practical training.
The more cyber security certifications you have, the more opportunities you will have to diversify your income. For example, professionals with a political science background wishing to find a role in GRC will need to gain cyber security certifications to close the knowledge gap.
While there are many opportunities available, the specialist skills that you commit to adding to your cyber security skillset will tailor your career path to best suit your needs. You will discover that working as a cyber security professional requires a number of cyber security certifications in order to develop your strengths and prepare you for the industry. The Institute of Data offers one such cyber security certification that is focused on the practical skills required by the industry.
5. Discover your passion in the cyber security industry
After you gain significant exposure to the cyber security industry, you can discover your passion based on your interests and strengths. You will be able to determine your career prospects in your cyber security role and perhaps pivot towards other roles that intrigue you.
Once you discover your passion, you can customise your career path and upskill with the training needed for that particular role.
Perhaps you are interested in traveling the world? A freelance cyber security specialist could be a great option to work towards. Perhaps you love writing security reports? You can pursue a career as a cyber security technical writer. There are so many options available, you just need to know where to look.
6. Commit to adding to your cyber security skillset and continue learning
As a cyber security professional, you will have to commit to adding to your skillset so you are always as prepared for this changing industry as possible. You will find yourself having to upskill so you can adapt to industry needs and diversify your income. You will have incredible career prospects if you continue learning.
At the end of the day, the cyber security industry is one of the most fulfilling sectors to work in because no two days will be the same. You will be challenged to overcome cyber attacks and work towards building a safer cyber security space.
Following these six steps will give you the best possible beginning to a long and successful career as a cyber security professional. But if you still don’t really know where to start, you can book a consultation with one of our advisors today, who can provide you with support for all the things you’ll need to know.