27 June 2019

Why should I develop a career in cybersecurity?

There are many reasons to get a career in cybersecurity, as jobs in the sector are among the most sought after out there. The frequency and aggressive nature of cyber-attacks is taking a steep curve upwards, meaning organisations and consultancies are seeking cybersecurity professionals more than ever.

Opportunities all around

In the UK alone, there has been a 100% rise in cybersecurity vacancies over the last few years and two-thirds of companies worldwide are facing a skills gap. By 2022, the forecast is a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers.

According to the UK Government’s Migration Advisory Committee, “job shortages in roles such as cybersecurity analysts/engineers and IT network engineers” are now recognised as being at a serious shortage. So much so that these roles have been added to the “Shortage Occupation List”. What does this mean for you? It means cyber jobs are at an all-time high and there’s plenty of opportunity to get into the industry.

Have you got what it takes?

Despite the significant ‘cyber skills gap’ identified by studies across the globe, it’s a common misconception that there aren’t enough individuals with the right skills. This begs the question, is there really a skills gap or are organisations looking for the wrong people?

Some might say that organisations are too particular about the level of staff they hire. There’s no rule that dictates you have to hire a graduate with a cybersecurity degree. Organisations can hire graduates with alternative relevant degrees (such as engineering, IT, forensic computing etc) and put the time and resources into training new starters to the level required to be a cybersecurity professional.

Getting into cyber

Cybersecurity, similar to other careers in technology, can be very easy to get into. That’s not to say that you don’t need to have the relevant knowledge in the first place, but once you have chosen your preferred track, the materials to learn are at your fingertips.

Key tips for getting into the industry:

  1. Take courses – particularly if your educational background isn’t directly related to cybersecurity, take it upon yourself to complete other courses to develop your technical knowledge and skills
  2. Read up – make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity news
  3. Experience – if you’re struggling to find an entry-level role, consider doing some internships or work placements to get your foot in the door
  4. Certify – where possible, if you’re already in the industry and are looking to progress, research different certifications that you can gain
  5. Network – join cybersecurity groups on LinkedIn or online forums, as these can be useful tools for career advancement.

Depending on the type of role you choose, getting into technical consultancy (such as becoming a penetration tester) will open up opportunities to take on training. For example, Cyber Scheme provides Team Member and Team Leader training for those looking to enhance their practical technical skills.

Reap the rewards

In line with the high demand and shortage of workers that can meet vacancy criteria, this means cybersecurity positions often pay very well. Whilst of course it depends on the seniority of the role, the average wage for cybersecurity jobs in the UK (according to CW Jobs) sits at £72,500, which is a 16% increase on 2018.

Practice makes perfect

In short, with the skills shortage such a major concern, the role of a cybersecurity professional is becoming more important and valued every day. With the perks of the impressive salary, a varied career path and vast challenges, cybersecurity is an attractive industry to choose – are you ready to join it?

If you have any questions about what it’s like to work in cybersecurity, contact us here. To view the vacancies at IRM, visit our careers page.