Continuing growth in salaries, a shortage of skilled professionals and a rapid increase in available jobs make a career in cyber security a real prospect. Follow this guide to fast track your career into cyber security in 2015...
If you’re considering a career in cyber security then 2015 could be the year for you. The hacking of Sony Pictures is the latest in a string of high profile attacks, which continues to put recruitment of skilled cyber security professionals top of the agenda.
Cyber security vacancies in the UK have doubled in the last year, with demand outstripping supply, according to a recent study by Technojobs. Combine this with of a 10% growth in the average salary for UK cyber security professionals, now £57,000, and increased Government support and it’s easy to see why the current climate is perfect for employment in the field of cyber security.
Follow these tips to fast track your career into cyber security in 2015…
1. Find the right job for you
First things first, work out which job is right for you. Whether you want to become a Computer Forensics Investigator, Information Security Analyst or Penetration Tester, it’s important to know what the job entails.
SANS have compiled a list of the top 20 Information Security and Cyber security jobs which you can use to track down job descriptions on the major job boards.
2. Get certified
Sometimes the quickest way into the cyber security sector is to get certified. In fact the majority of commercial cyber security and defense-related IT Security jobs require security certifications as a prerequisite. So the lack of certification may be the only thing standing between you and your cyber security career. Find out.
If you are looking at entry-level positions then the CompTIA Security+ and Microsoft MTA Security Fundamentals are a great place to start.
Those considering a more advanced position would be well placed to consider EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification or ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification.
Then there is the industry gold standard Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from (ISC)2, for those eyeing up a position in Senior Management.
This is merely scratching the surface, there are a range of security certifications available from other renowned vendors including Cisco, Symantec and GIAC.
3. Make sure you have the right experience
This echoes back to the first point, when you’re looking at job descriptions, scope out the level of experience required for the job in question. You may realise that you don’t have the right experience at this stage, but at least you know what you’ll need to be working towards.
For those looking at starting a career, this may mean taking a non cyber security-related job as a stepping-stone. As pointed out in a fantastic post from Ira Wrinkler in Computerworld:
“You cannot be expected to protect computers if you don’t know how to administer a computer system, you can’t secure a system that you can’t properly configure on your own, you can’t secure a database if you aren’t fluent in the database management system, and you certainly can’t write secure code if you can’t code at all.”
A great way to bridge the experience gap at the entry level is through voluntary work experience or internships. Keep your eyes peeled, they are everywhere.
4. Get your CV in shape
This can be applied to any industry, but always make sure your CV is up to scratch. This will be the first impression you make to a potential employer, get it wrong and it will be the last.
Having past experience in the recruitment sector here’s my top advice:
- Ensure your CV is tailored to each individual position. This includes a covering letter outlining why you want the job and why they should consider you.
- You need to make an impact in the first few lines, so highlight relevant experience and achievements from the outset.
- Don’t waffle, if your CV is more than 2 pages then it’s too long.
- No spelling mistakes, with modern day spell check it’s unforgivable.
5. Consider signing up with a recruitment agency
This advice is perhaps more for the seasoned professional, but signing up with a specialist recruitment agency can significantly improve your chances of landing that coveted role. Yes you’ll have to go through an interview, but once on the books there are numerous benefits.
A good recruitment consultant will:
- Have in depth understanding of the industry and some powerful connections
- Advise you on how to improve your CV and interviewing skills
- Sell you into employers, even if that employer isn’t currently looking
- Get the first shot at a high profile position that may never make a job site