Is Cyber Security a Good Career Path?
Invitations to download software updates that fix glitches and boost cyber security regularly pop-up on our phones and laptops. Most of them are perfectly benign, but on occasion, like the Solar Winds supply chain attack in 2020, this process has been subverted by criminals or hostile foreign powers.
In this instance, hackers planted a piece of secret code in the company’s latest software update. As users followed the installation prompts, they unwittingly planted malware in systems all over the world, enabling the attackers to steal sensitive data and disrupt other systems within the organisations that had been targeted.
The attack sent shockwaves through the information security industry and is a stark reminder of the importance of strong cyber security measures and the need for constant vigilance. It falls to cyber security professionals to provide a frontline defence against this ever-evolving threat, and thanks to a spate of high profile incidents, their vocation is increasingly in the spotlight.
What is cyber security?
Cyber security is the practice of protecting computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from digital attacks. People who work in this field implement security measures to prevent unauthorised access, modification, or destruction of information, as well as ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Cyber security professionals are responsible for identifying and mitigating security threats, designing, and implementing security solutions, as well as responding to incidents like the SolarWinds attack and recovering the situation.
What kind of cyber security jobs are available?
Cyber security encompasses various domains such as network security, endpoint security, cloud security, and application security for example. Each domain requires different expertise, which means there are a wide variety of job roles for aspiring cyber security professionals to choose from including:
- Security Analyst: responsible for monitoring and analysing security threats and recommending solutions to mitigate them.
- Penetration Tester: simulates real-world hacking attacks to test and assess system and network security.
- Security Engineer: designs, builds, and maintains security systems and infrastructure.
- Incident Responder: investigates and resolves security incidents, such as data breaches or cyber-attacks.
- IT Compliance Manager: ensures compliance with relevant cybersecurity regulations and standards.
- Security Architect: creates an overarching security strategy aligned with business objectives.
- Cyber Security Consultant: provides expert advice and guidance on cyber security needs with the benefit of external perspective.
Finding the right role will depend upon your passion and strengths. Becoming a Security Consultant would suit someone who enjoys educating others and building practical solutions. But if you prioritise keeping up to date with cutting edge IT technologies over everything else, working as a Security Architect would be a natural fit. And if coding security solutions is what makes you tick, consider becoming a Cyber Security Engineer.
Is cyber security a good career path?
Whichever path you choose, cyber security is an attractive career that offers plenty of opportunities for progression as well as a good level of job security. Given that organisations of every conceivable size and type are becoming ever more reliant on technology while the threat of cyber-attacks is only increasing, demand for professionals with cyber security expertise continues to grow.
The work is challenging, interesting, and well paid, with many prospective employers offering attractive employee benefits on top of generous salary packages. What’s more, the demand for skilled cyber security professionals looks set to become even stronger given the pace of technological advance and the opportunities this presents to malicious cyber criminals.