With cloud computing now the gold standard for internet users, cloud hacks are increasingly making us more vulnerable to data breaches. We’ve all heard of unlucky internet users who have had their identity stolen or their Facebook hacked. Cyber security threats pose huge economic and social challenges to businesses with highly sensitive data, such as those in the healthcare, financial services, and government sectors. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australian businesses lose 29 billion to cyber crime each year. No wonder there is such a high demand for Cyber Security Specialists in Australia and abroad.
Cyber security involves techniques or skills that protect data, networks, or systems from cyber attacks. Cyber Security Specialists prevent hackers from accessing, stealing, sharing, or selling sensitive information on the black market. With cyber attacks increasing every year, large corporations are actively seeking more advanced cyber security measures. Deakin University reveals that Cyber security specialist positions are often advertised under the following titles: ‘information security officer’, ‘security administrator’, ‘cyber security consultant’, ‘cyber security analyst’, ‘penetration tester’ and many others. These titles emphasise different responsibilities which attract a diverse group of people – from workers eager to catch ‘the bad guys’, to reformed hackers wanting to use their skills for a better, legal cause.
The varied motivation of Cyber Security Specialists complements the varied ways in which workers can apply their cyber security interests. For reformed hackers, wanting to utilise their hacking skills in a more legal, ethical way, the role of an Ethical Hacker might be attractive. According to Synopsys, Ethical hackers identify and solve security vulnerabilities before a malicious attacker has an opportunity to exploit them. Other people drawn to Cyber Security may be more interested in the idea of protecting and sharing their knowledge with others. This is common in training-based roles such as Cyber Security Managers.
Motivation and niche specialisation aside, Cyber Security Specialists enjoy a host of perks, from working in growth industries, increased job security, increased opportunity for promotion, and a highly competitive salary. According to Hays Salary Checker, the annual salary for a Cyber Security Analyst averages at an impressive 130,000. On the other hand, a Cyber Security Manager can earn an average salary of 180,000 with a top salary averaging at 220,000 – not a bad motivator when it comes to career growth.
For those considering a career change, don’t let these specialist skills or sky-high salaries make you second guess your potential. Graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is an excellent entry point into the world of cyber security. Some Cyber Security Specialists may even go on to pursue a Master’s, however, this is not a prerequisite for success in cyber security. Many prominent Cyber Security Specialists enter the field with little experience at all. A large majority of these workers are self-taught, having enrolled in cyber security training courses such as Coursera, boot camps, and competitions to test their skills and win awards.
The Australian Government is very much aware of the skills gap when it comes to cyber crime. The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network predicts that the need for cyber security specialists will grow to 34,000 by 2024. For this reason, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that large corporations are increasingly welcoming professionals with strong problem-solving skills over IT skills. Cyber Security workers come from a mix of educational backgrounds such as humanities, teaching, law, and architecture degrees. Nick Ellsmore, the Global Head of Strategy, Consulting and Professional Service discusses how communications backgrounds may be valuable for companies, facing cyber problems that are unable to be solved technically. They are also valuable assets for teams looking to fill training and consulting positions.
For employees who are less confident about their technical skills, such as those who have decided to pursue a cyber security career later in life, the key takeaway is, practice. While coding and programming are not mandatory for every worker in Cyber Security, dedication to practicing and improving one’s skills is advantageous when it comes to impressing hirers and landing that first job. It is important to communicate to employers your desire to learn and how your range of experience (technical or otherwise) makes you the right addition asset to the team. After all, technology is continually evolving and those in cyber security must always stay up to date.
If this article sparks any interest, we strongly recommend you look into the possibility of starting a Cyber Security Specialist career. Get in touch with DNA Talent today to explore our current opportunities.