Why Cyber Security?
The increase in cyber crime means that there are more and more opportunities for someone wanting to start a career in one of the many jobs that are dedicated to keeping people, businesses and other organisations safe from cyber attacks. Being skilled in cyber security not only offers the chance of a great many potential job opportunities, it also promises a lifelong, secure career, as the cyber criminals are not likely to ever give up their attacks on classified and private information and data. Lastly, it is a lucrative occupation, offering salaries that match the importance of the work. It is not surprising, then, that jobs in cyber security are much in demand and the competition for them is high. Here are some tips about how to get to the front of the queue when you look for a job in cyber security.
Find out more about the field of cyber security. Having a good knowledge of the different kinds of discipline that the work involves will not only show a potential employer that you have a general (and genuine) interest in the subject but it will also help you to decide the particular type of work you want to do and what you think will be most suited to your skill set and experience. Read as much as you can on subjects such as protecting information, confidentiality, information assurance, penetration testing, data confidentiality and encryption.
Any training and qualifications that you gain will go a long way towards advancing a career in cyber security. You should consider enrolling on courses that are industry recognised, such as the CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) and the Global Information Assurance Certification GPEN (Certified Penetration Tester) Certificates.
Although having specialist knowledge of cyber security is important, it will also help in your search for a job to be able to show a more rounded, overall technical experience. If you are currently working in I.T, use this as a base for developing a core set of I.T. skills. If you aren’t working in I.T, you should check out any courses that are available locally to give you the basic grounding in I.T that will boost your chances of getting the job that you want.
If you feel that you would prefer a more “hands on” approach to gaining expertise in cyber security or don’t like the idea of limiting your education to a college setting, why not look at whether there are any apprenticeships available through the National Apprenticeship Service? That way you can acquire the necessary skills and experience at the same time as earning a living.
Even though an apprenticeship may not be available, it might still be possible to get a better idea of the fundamental aspects of cyber security, and the way in which the professionals in the industry work, by spending some time on a work experience placement. Whilst this may not involve any pay, except, perhaps your expenses, the experience it provides may make a difference when it comes for applying for your job in cyber security.
Another useful way of getting experience in the workplace is through one of the internships that many of the larger organisations offer. Although, again, this may involve unpaid work, the experience may prove invaluable and, at the very least, will be a useful addition to your C.V.
You can advance your understanding of cyber security work and become involved in the profession, even before becoming a professional yourself, by joining associations such as the IISP (Institute of Information Security Professionals). The IISP offers affiliate membership, which qualifies you to attend lectures by experts and leaders in the field, to receive regular newsletters, to have discounted attendance at training and workshops, to attend regional meetings, to have access to members-only areas of their website and, most importantly, to be able to access their jobs board.
This is a series of competitions, organised and conducted by Cyber Security Challenge UK. It is designed to put your skills in cyber security to the test. The challenges have been formulated by several of the biggest security companies in the country and are also backed by the Cabinet Office and, if you win, you may even be offered a job on the strength of your success in the competition. The challenge currently involves a virtual skyscraper known as ‘Cyphinx’, which is designed to resemble a 3D console game. Contestants enter the building to be met with a variety of puzzles, challenges and demands on their digital, forensic, analytical and defence skills. The first winner of the challenge was a postal worker, who has now been elevated to Royal Mail’s cyber security team!
It is difficult to gain real first hand experience of cyber crime unless you are either a criminal trying to commit a security crime or the security professional assigned to guard against it. One way of testing your skills on a more “hands-on” basis is by setting up your own network, using two or more old computers and a cheap wireless router. This way, you can carry out all manner of checks and tests as to the security of the network switch, firewall, server and other hardware and software in the network and devise methods of securing any shortfalls that you uncover. This is the type of initiative that might just tip the balance your way when you are competing for a real job in cyber security.
As in most walks of life, the people we meet are often as important as the things that we learn. Spend as much time as you can with professionals in the field and others who are aiming for a career in the profession. Share your ideas and experiences with them and, most importantly, listen to what they have to say to you! Knowledge acquired through the development of a personal network of people who are interested and have experience in the field of cyber security will help you learn but may also result in you making some very valuable future contacts when it comes to applying for a job.
There is no guaranteed way to get a job in the cyber security industry. Hopefully, these tips will help you to achieve your goal of pursuing a career in this increasingly important profession.
We hope you found this article useful and you get the Cyber Security Job you are searching for.
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