Cyber security career opportunities in the UK are at their highest as technologies evolve at lightning speed and hackers of every kind find ways of undermining their integrity just as quickly. With an undeniable shortage of cyber security experts in the UK market, employers are quick to assert the types of individuals they are interested in attracting and the skills that make for a coveted acquisition.
Practical skills, such as knowledge of configuring and reconfiguring systems, trying out exploits, compromising the security of boxes and hardening defences are much desired within the Information Security space, much of which can be learned from on the job IT experience. It’s also worthwhile mastering popular digital forensic tools such as nmap, john the ripper, metasploit and burp Suite. However, while technical aptitude is undoubtedly important, more so are the softer skills including effective project management and strong ability to communicate across the board, from management to junior staff.
Being able to communicate the potential dangers of sending an accidental email containing sensitive information or copying that information to a memory stick, strikes the human aspect to a cyber security expert’s technical prowess. With a greater number of businesses striving to close the gender gap in this area of industry, the call for women to fill cyber security roles in the UK is founded not only on statistics but also on proven evidence that the young women filtering through the university system come better equipped with those softer skills than their male counterparts.
In an age dominated by attacks via social engineering, whereby hackers prey on the usage of social media sites for human interaction, the younger generations are primed to understand the implications and workings of social networking and the potential dangers lurking within. As cyber security takes its place on the UK curriculum, those planning a career in IT audit or risk management should think carefully about whether a specialism in cyber security meets their ambition and abilities. Properly prepare, understand what specific type of IT security job you want to pursue, the characteristics you possess that will make you stand out from the competition and the skills and experience they require beyond what the official job description discloses.
Encompassing information assurance, information security and risk management, cyber security jobs can pertain to any of the following titles, from Pen Tester and Computer Forensics Investigator to Information Security Analyst. Employers are essentially looking for great problem solvers, strong communicators and quick thinkers. If you can demonstrate the ability to understand how any of a number of things work, whether it’s a mobile phone, a complex application or an organisation’s knowledge management system, and more importantly how it could be attacked you will set yourself apart from others applying for cyber security jobs in the UK industry.
Expect a wide range of exposure to some of the country’s largest enterprises, financial institutions and government departments if choosing to go down the risk assurance route with the Big 4 strengthening firewalls and defending organisations against potential hacks, while the specialist cyber security outfits popping up on the market are opting for a more proactive approach to defence luring hackers into traps before they have chance to strike, a practice that is growing exponentially. The choice is yours as cyber security opportunities in the UK are fast becoming the most in-demand across the globe.