Considering a career in cyber security? Here’s why you should!

GCSE results day has been and gone and whether you achieved the grades you hoped for or not there is a massive sense relief – it’s finally over! While euphoria reigns strong during September, as soon as the nights start to draw in and the autumn is on the horizon, thoughts start to turn to what’s next.

Many people give career and next steps advice a swerve; it’s a confusing time and the world is your oyster – or so it might seem. But we live in turbulent times, and there is a less than optimistic backdrop to such youthful optimism. Post-credit crunch and Brexit economic uncertainty continue and show no sign of abating. But one bright spot is the cyber security and IT job market in general.

A wealth of opportunity

The ongoing battle between the perpetrators and protectors of cyber resources is more abundant than ever, and so too are skills shortages and job opportunities. Anyone who listens to or reads the news can’t fail to be aware of the rise in severe hacks and network exploits. As sure as night follows day, so the demand for skilled cyber security professionals rises as well.

The skills demand is not purely driven by rising cybercrime, just as influential is the pivotal importance of web 2.0 industries. There have never been more ‘born in the cloud’ companies which trade solely through online channels and are continually challenging the digital status quo. Such companies need skilled employees to help fulfil their big ideas. Only last week Just Eat announced that they are looking for 150 engineers and tech managers in London and Bristol. While it’s great news that Just Eat are investing so heavily in IT, responses from industry peers and commentators question how Just Eat will be able to source such a large number of engineers.

This industry demands a plethora of skills and whether you’re a numbers person who loves to crunch a big conundrum, an engineer who is fascinated by the workings of technology or you’re socially dynamic with a love of networking there are plenty of opportunities!

Tips to get started

·       Get active…follow start-ups that interest you, security vendors that are paving the way and analysts that are defining emerging market trends. Create a LinkedIn profile and start to build up your network.

·       Find a mentor…if you have just graduated from university or college and are looking to take those first steps into the working world then find yourself a mentor. They don’t have to be in IT or cyber security (although there is no harm if they are) and get them to help you build out your CV, identify the best companies for you and how to get through the door.

·       Have a voice…contribute to the debate, read as much as you can and continue to educate yourself. Having an opinion shows that you have an understanding, never shy away from it.

·       Don’t hold back…have a goal for the next five years and work with your mentor and manager to achieve it. Your goals may be skills orientated or salary driven, it doesn’t matter how high they are or what they are but it’s important to have them to stay focused and ensure you continue to grow.

And finally, from one female working in the cyber security to potentially many others, don’t be put off by what might seem to be a male-dominated industry. As a relatively young industry, IT and cyber security is amongst the most progressive. If you enjoy a challenge, thrive in a fast-paced environment and want to be rewarded for creative, value-driven ideas, this could well be the industry for you. Diversity drives innovation, you just need to be willing to join the party.

Elizabeth Hodges - September 3 2018

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