Cyber security is one of the most compelling fields in IT with action films portraying cyber security professionals in dire situations fighting against hackers with sophisticated techniques. While the daily tasks of a cyber security professional are not as theatrical as Hollywood presents it, they accurately showcase some highly developed skills required.
Cyber security is a growing industry worldwide and it is a truly rewarding career choice. Cyber security professionals are in demand in Australia and you may be wondering how to get a cyber security job. If you are considering cyber security as a career path, this article is for you.
1. What is Cyber Security?
The simplest way to define cyber security is the process of defending and protecting data systems from attack.
Cyber attacks are motivated by a range of reasons such as espionage, profit and political or social justice. Cyber security is incredibly important because everyone uploads their information online without thinking twice about their digital footprint.
Types of cyber threats:
- APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) – an attack where an unauthorised user invades an enterprise’s network or system and remains there for an extended period of time gathering sensitive data about the organisation
- Malware – a software that has been designed to access, damage or disrupt the computer system
- Phishing – the process of sending scam emails, often with a link, requesting the input of sensitive information like credit card or login details. Phishing is reported to be the most common form of cyber attack.
- Social engineering – the day to day practice of deceiving and manipulating people to reveal their information
2. What is the job description of a cyber security professional?
Cyber security is such a diverse field offering exciting job opportunities. Outlined below are job descriptions of the most common roles in cyber security:
- Chief Information Security Officer: This is the top cyber security position in charge of managing an organisation’s IT security.
- Cryptographers: Think of cryptographers as a digital locksmith, working with code to encrypt confidential and sensitive data.
- Forensic Expert: The daily tasks of a forensic expert involves investigating digital footprint to find solutions to digital security breaches.
- Incident Responder: Think of incident responders as the emergency hotline of a company’s network and systems.
- Penetration Tester: Also known as an Ethical Hacker, pen-testers manually search for security vulnerabilities by simulating an attack and develop methods of strengthening the system.
- Security consultant: The daily tasks of security consultants advise and guide organisations on the risk and solutions for security issues.
- Vulnerability Assessor: Often confused with pen-testing, the job description of vulnerability assessors use security scanning software to find vulnerabilities.
3. Can I get a job in cyber security with the skills I have now?
You can absolutely secure a cyber security job with your related experience. Every background can contribute the skills required for cyber security whether you have a technical or non-technical background.
From a technical background:
You will be at an advantage as you have related experience in similar environments and will be able to decipher technical aspects of the role.
A computer programmer will be able to identify malevolent code. If you have worked with data analytics, you have the skills required to search for trends in data. Software engineers would know how to diminish the exploitation of buffer overflows. If you have experience in web development, you will be able to grasp how to safeguard a web browser from cross-site scripting.
From a non-technical background:
With the cyber security industry growing rapidly, new roles are being created which do not require years of experience.
If you have the ability to think critically and formulate strategies, you would make an excellent cyber policy analyst. If you have the ability to transform difficult concepts into a clear and concise explanations, you will have a successful career as a cyber security technical writer.
4. What’s the easiest way to career change to cyber security with no experience?
There are so many different career paths you can take to get a cyber security job. The easiest way to change careers to cyber security with no experience would be to gain technical skills.
If you already have a technical background, study security issues related to what you are currently doing. Outline your current job description and research which skills are transferrable to the daily tasks of a cyber security professional.
You will need to upskill frequently due to the nature of the field. Therefore, it is not impossible to career change to cyber security with no experience.
5. What are the salary expectations and future career outlook of a cyber security professional in Australia?
The salary expectation for a cyber security professional is expected to be in the six-figure range. Due to the lack of cyber security professionals on the market, the current average salary is $117k per year and it is forecasted to increase to $239k. Businesses are offering higher salaries to attract leading experts due to rarity of professionals qualified with the skills required.
The cyber security industry is rapidly growing in Australia with reports stating it will be worth $6 billion by 2026 with malicious cyber attacks on the rise. A reputable industry partner, Cisco, has predicted that 6 million job opportunities will be available around the world. It is a very stable career path because talented professionals are in demand.
An Intel Security survey discovered that 44% of Australian companies are concerned that they may be targeted for malicious cyber attacks. This concern creates job opportunities for skilled cyber security professionals to alleviate these vulnerabilities.
6. Is cyber security the right job for me?
This is the million-dollar question. Now that we have a clearer understanding of cyber security and the job opportunities available, how do you decide if this is the right career choice? Here are 10 signs that cyber security is your destined career path:
- You embrace change – you are not intimidated by day to day changes and new challenges
- You live and breathe technology – you are passionate about the digital world and keen to immerse yourself in it
- You enjoy learning – you are motivated by career progression and are curious to dive deeper into sophisticated matter
- You thrive in chaos – you know how to cope well under pressure
- You observe the tiny details
- You are perceptive – you have a natural talent to grasp the inner workings of the human mind
- You communicate well
- You enjoy deconstruction – you are an avid problem-solver who enjoys interpreting ideas in various ways
- You are an analyst at heart – you are an active listener and possess an analytical mind
- You have a desire to change the world – you must have a strong ethical code in order to make a lasting impact
Cyber security is a dynamic and thrilling industry with a vast range of job opportunities, some with no experience required. If you consider cyber security to be the right career choice for you, the Institute of Data Career Consultants can assist you in getting a cyber security job in Australia. If you are interested in a career change to cyber security, click here to schedule a call and learn more about our industry focused cyber security program here.