What skills are needed to be a great Cyber Security Professional?

Ruth Ng

Ruth Ng

6 min read

Cyber security is a constantly evolving field and one that has a significant workforce shortage. Despite the fact that new cyber security threats are emerging nearly every day, the industry has nearly 3 million unfilled jobs worldwide.

People interested in cyber security, thankfully, no longer have to go down the four-year degree route of traditional education to find an entry-level job. With new educational routes like apprenticeships, bootcamps, and online courses, it’s never too late to retrain into cyber security.

What is a Cyber Security Professional?

A cyber security professional is someone who works to keep an organisation’s digital wealth or information secure. This can take the form of a variety of different roles, including:

  • Threat prediction and analysis
  • Penetration testing
  • Computer forensics
  • Data loss prevention
  • Incident response
  • Security architecture engineering

With the digital world becoming more complex with each passing day, and cyber criminals becoming increasingly sophisticated, cyber security is a highly diversified field.

Why is Cyber Security Important?

Given that so much information is stored online, and particularly sensitive personal information that can be used to identify individuals, keeping that data safe is vital.

If that data is breached, then not only can that data be used to find the identities of and potentially even harm those individuals, but it also is extremely costly for the company that owned that data. It’s estimated that the average cost of a data breach is roughly $3.62 million, which accounts for the cost of responding to and repairing the fallout of the incident, and the loss of trust in that organisation.

Cyber crime is also becoming increasingly sophisticated, but that’s not to say that older practices are out the window. Phishing is still an extremely common attack method because it allows cyber criminals to enter the system at a relatively low level and traverse their way through an organisation.

With users being the weakest link in any cyber security program, professionals are needed to strengthen systems, run cyber security training, and build security architectures that can withstand cyber attacks.

What Skills and Characteristics do Cyber Security Professionals Need?

For people who are interested in a career in cyber security, they’ll be thankful to know that it’s not all about having technical skills. With such a wide range of cyber security roles, there’s something for everyone. So, let’s take a look at what skills cyber security experts need.

Technical Skills

Cyber security professionals all need to have some degree of technical knowledge, regardless of the role they’re working in. Understanding how networks, operating systems, firewalls, and other digital assets work is essential for every cyber security role. Cyber security professionals should also understand the basics of programming, software development, and software analytics, as well as the basics of common programming languages.

Not every role will require a cyber security professional to be able to write code, however. So, if a person isn’t interested in programming or software development, there are still plenty of other roles they might be interested in.

Cyber security professionals will also be expected to hold some kind of certification in their field, which they can achieve through bootcamps, online certification, or a traditional educational path.

Analytical Skills

With cyber crime constantly evolving, cyber security professionals need to be able to quickly and accurately identify incoming attacks. They also need to be able to analyse an organisations’ existing cyber security suite so they can build stronger defences, figure out weaknesses, and prevent attacks in the future.

Communication Skills

Cyber security is a field that’s not often well understood in organisations, so cyber security professionals need to be able to explain concepts clearly, accurately, and in language that’s easily understood by non-technical people.

They also need active listening skills to understand what concerns organisations have with their cyber security and what solutions they’re looking for.

Research Skills

Given that new threats emerge every day, cyber security professionals need to constantly be aware of new developments in their field. By proactively researching new trends in cyber crime, they can address vulnerabilities in their employer or client’s system ahead of time to prevent these new attacks from causing harm.

They should also be up to date with their technical knowledge and have a strong understanding of vulnerabilities in new technologies, such as with Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

If their role involves software development or engineering, they should also make sure that their knowledge of best coding practices, procedures, and standards are still relevant.

Detail-Oriented Skills

Given the nature of the Internet, cyber security professionals will be expected to pore over tiny details to spot incoming attacks, inconsistencies, or weaknesses in the system. To spot this, they need to be highly detail-oriented and understand what each minute detail in the system represents.

In addition, cyber security professionals also need to be able to examine those details from all sides to understand what is causing certain results or problems to appear.

How to Become a Cyber Security Professional

Given that there’s a huge number of roles that are still unfulfilled, there have never been more ways for someone looking at reskilling or upskilling to find cyber security jobs in the tech sector. While it’s easy to assume that traditional four-year degree courses are the only way to get into tech jobs, there are hundreds of cyber security bootcamps and online courses that can help people get into this thriving industry.

Unfortunately, reskilling still comes with a financial cost that many can’t afford to pay up-front. That’s where Knoma comes in. At Knoma, people interested in upskilling into the tech sector can access a zero-interest payment plan to help them finance their new career in cyber security. With zero fees for financing and flexible payment plans, reskilling into cyber security has never been more affordable.

To learn more about how much it will cost to reskill with the help of Knoma’s financing options, head over to their Learners page.

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