Is it easy to change careers from accounting to cyber security?

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If you are an accountant feeling taxed (pun intended) by the monotonous day-to-day life of accountancy and are looking for a career change, then keep reading – we might have what you’re looking for.

It’s not uncommon to grow fatigued after spending a few years in the same industry. But for those who have specialized skills such as accounting, one of the most significant qualms is that you don’t want your accounting skills to become redundant and move to an industry that you know nothing about. The good news is that you can employ your current skill set to embark on a promising career as a cyber security professional. 

How can you tell if cyber security is for you?

There are some non-negotiables if you want to be successful in cyber security. For example, does this sound like you?

  • Willing to continually learn – As hackers (more commonly known as threat actors) find new ways to exploit vulnerable systems and pose cyber threats, you will need to stay just as up to speed with their movements and strategies. This requires constant learning.
  • Love to solve problems – To have a successful career in cyber security, you must have a passion for solving problems. Cyber security is all about finding vulnerabilities, understanding business problems and uncovering ways to mitigate risks.
  • You thrive in a fast-paced and dynamic work environment – Cyber-attacks are imminent and can occur at any time. Therefore, cyber security professionals must be adaptable and resilient to any situation so that they can respond swiftly to unforeseen circumstances. 

Which skills are transferable from accounting to cyber security?

Believe it or not, accountants and cyber security professionals share many common skills and attributes. So let’s take a look at the transferrable skills you might need to make the career switch – some of which you may already have!

  • Attention to detail – As accountants would know, exceptional attention to detail is necessary when completing financial statements and income reports as you will be held accountable for the report’s accuracy, and any errors. Similarly, cyber security professionals must be able to notice the most minor of changes using their attention to detail. Moreover, they must digest highly technical data and utilize this to foresee potential cyber threats and threat attacks in progress.
  • Analytical skills – Accountants and cyber security professionals must have exceptional analytical skills. Both professions must examine information from all angles to understand the root causes of certain situations. It’s fair to say accounting and cyber security are two careers where being fluent with numbers is a necessity. 
  • Tech-savvy – New technologies to aid with accounting practices become available every year. Accountants must have a detailed understanding of technology and have the ability to adapt to different technologies. Software and hardware fluency is an essential skill when transferring into a cyber security career. 

What additional skills will need to be learned once you decide to switch to cyber security?

Of course, like any profession, certain technical skills are required to be learnt on the job. Let’s take a quick look at some of the skills that will be necessary to learn after you make the switch to cyber security. 

  • Programming skills – A critical skill for cyber security professionals is to have a basic understanding of programming. This will help you navigate standard utilities like command prompts and security tools such as Kali Linux. Additionally, it enables you to understand how software is developed, potential vulnerabilities that can be introduced, functionality that can be exploited, and ways to aid the secure development and deployment of software lifecycles.
  • Cloud security – It will be your responsibility to understand the cloud infrastructure, how to secure it from any vulnerabilities and ensure cloud environments comply with regulations and adhere to industry standards.
  • Encryption skills – Encryption will act as your last line of defense when a hacker tries to attack your network. 
  • DevSecOps – DevSecOps is a relatively new term related to building a security foundation in DevOps initiatives.

What are the benefits of making the switch from accounting to cyber security? 

Here are four of the major benefits to consider when pivoting to a career in cyber security:

  1. Huge demand – The cyber security job market is currently in high demand with a significant skills shortage of cyber security professionals. Companies are eager to find and retain those with the right skills and qualifications to help with their cyber security programs. 
  2. Have a real impact – Threat actors can impact millions of people simultaneously with cyber-attacks. As reported by ABC News, in 2021 the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack not only cost nearly $5 million USD but affected millions of Americans’ access to fuel and resources from the flow-on impacts of the pipeline shutdown. 
  3. Great job variety – New cyber threats are constantly being posed to companies and cyber professionals must always be willing to learn new skills and develop current ones. ‘Being bored’ is one statement you’ll never hear from a cyber security professional. There are highly technical roles like penetration testing, a key part of cyber-security, that involves taking on the role of a threat actor to exploit and attack a system or device and report on vulnerabilities and findings. Non-technical roles also exist, such as security awareness training to help an organization’s people be the first layer of defense from attacks like phishing and social engineering.
  4. Generous remunerationCyber security professionals play an integral role in organizations and as such, they are among the most highly compensated in the IT industry. The average salary for a cyber security professional in America, according to Glassdoor, is $87,000 USD – with some roles stretching up to over $200,000 USD per year.

The easiest way to become a cyber security professional today

The hype is real, and the cyber security sector is seeking skilled, qualified professionals right now. There is a demand for candidates that bring diversity, real-life working experience and critical thinking from other industry sectors.

With technological advancements comes the proliferation of threats and cyber-attacks. As a result, core business assets are at risk and companies will take extreme measures and fork out large salaries to find those with the necessary skills.  

You are already halfway there if you’re currently an accountant thinking of pivoting into cyber security. All that is left to do is upskill and learn some of the technical foundations that can be acquired within six months with the Institute of Data’s Cyber Security Program

Our dedicated Job Outcome Team will help transition you into your new exciting career in cyber security using their industry partners and connected network. Book a free consultation today to find out more information and make your first step towards an exciting and fulfilling career in a growing industry.  

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