The demand for cyber security experts increases every year, especially since almost half of UK businesses fell victim to attacks of this nature in 2017. Despite the financial cost, however, there is a growing shortage in cyber security professionals worldwide.
In the UK, two-thirds of companies do not have a cyber security professional on board, which led to 7,000 available job positions per quarter in the last year alone. And by 2019, online crime will cost businesses worldwide approximately £1.4 trillion a year.
While plenty of those with IT or related backgrounds enter this field, many do not realise that getting a university degree won’t guarantee you a career in cyber security. Getting a foot on the career ladder requires experience and specific knowledge and apprenticeships can be one of the best ways of doing this, fast-tracking your career success without costing you hefty student fees.
Apprenticeships are real job positions that combine on-the-job training and classroom learnings. If you choose this route, among the many advantages you can enjoy include:
While these benefits can help you advance your career, keep in mind that you need to be fully committed when going down this road, as apprenticeship often takes years to complete.
You would also need to balance having a job and studying to gain cyber security qualifications. You will, however, be paid and gain the kind of experience that university students usually won’t get. If you do not see yourself finishing a university degree, then apprenticeship is a good fit for you.
An apprenticeship programme is on equal footing with university degrees. If you are over 16 years of age, you can apply for one. There is also no upper age limit to be an apprentice.
There are a number of things you need to take note of to be someone’s apprentice:
There are multiple opportunities to start out as a cyber security apprentice, depending on where you are currently in your education:
Note that a Computer Science GCSE and/or A level can give you an advantage, but it is not mandatory. Plenty of employers do not require these, but will look for at least one STEM subject. Always check a company’s requirements before applying.
Recognising the need for more and better cyber security professionals in the country, the government launched a couple of apprentice initiatives that you can choose from:
Back in 2003, Tech Partnership (formerly known as e-skills UK) was formed and licensed as the country’s sector skills council. It aimed to help make the UK’s digital economy globally competitive. With the help of various employers, this non-profit organisation created thousands of new apprentice programmes (among others), effectively employing nearly 3,000 young people per year—including those in the cyber security industry.
The company ceased operations in September 2018, due to government changes in policy for skills. However, its legacy lives on. On their website, you will find the organisations they transferred their responsibilities to, including various employers and universities, as well as The Department of Education. If you’re looking for apprentice programmes in cyber security, they have listed plenty of options you can look at.
Apart from word of mouth, Google is also your friend when looking for apprentice jobs. Plenty of search results would come up. Alternatively, you can also look at our own job portal.
Apprenticeships revolve around developing your skills in protecting organisations against cyber threats. You will also learn to monitor networks for vulnerabilities and respond effectively and efficiently to any form of hacking.
You can focus on the technical aspects of it (e.g. security design, testing, investigating, response, etc.) or on the risk analysis aspect (e.g. governance, compliance, operations, etc.).
Some of the job roles available in your career are:
According to government requirements, as an apprentice, you are entitled to:
If you’ve got your eye on a number of apprenticeship roles, take a look at these tips to increase your chances of getting accepted:
Research what the company is looking for in an apprentice and make sure you have those qualifications. You should also look for reviews from previous employees, especially their company culture and the career path they offer. This way, you’ll know if this position is the right fit for you.
Your CV would help you stand out among a myriad of hopefuls for that same position.
Instead of just listing down your previous experiences and skills, you can change its order to reflect the role you are seeking or the company’s mission/vision. You can also write a cover letter, so you can better explain why you are a good fit for the business.
Interviews can be stressful, which could then affect your focus (and your first impression) come D-day. To help you prepare, do the following:
In the event that you didn’t land the job, you can politely ask the interviewer for feedback. This way, you’ll know which areas to improve for your next interviews. Just make sure you keep an open mind and take everything constructively.
The internet is rife with stories of employees losing their shot, because of their social media posts.
Start with your email, making sure it’s professional. Any embarrassing social media content should be set to private. You would want your online presence as presentable as you would be in an actual in-person interview.
Once you are hired, expect the following during your apprenticeship:
Apprenticeships open a lot of doors. The company that you currently work for may even offer you a full-time position or get you to the next apprenticeship level.
Even if you don’t get absorbed by the company, the practical experience that you’ll gain will be enough to prove that you are valuable to plenty of other businesses that need cyber security professionals.
If you are looking for a cyber security apprenticeship position, you can register on our site today and receive custom alerts when an available role is posted. Feel free to drop us a line via our contact form for any questions.