Soft Skills to Advance your Cyber Security Career
The global pandemic may just prove (eventually) to be a blip on our historical timeline, but we cannot ignore its implications, professionally speaking. Pushing us all out of our comfort zone has been a great life lesson both to employees and their companies, resulting in a resounding demand for people who can cope well with change and navigate it with ease.
This is no less true for those working in cyber security.
With the world shifting, now is the time to think about curating a set of skills that both future-proofs your career and sets you on the track to progression. Cyber security professionals are facing a higher set of expectations than ever before, as the number of threats and opportunities for systems to be compromised has risen exponentially. While a refined tool kit and lone certification may have been sufficient in the past, cyber security jobs today are more multifaceted and require their technicians to possess a combination of technology, business and interpersonal skills.
Organisations want cyber security professionals who have not pigeon-holed themselves into one specific area of expertise. So, what are hiring managers looking for?
Cyber security professionals must be able to evaluate threats within the wider context of a specific industry. Having a deep knowledge of both the company and its industry will lead to a more effective identification of which threats pose the highest risks. Understanding the risk means you’ll devise the best solutions to mitigate the threats.
Juxtaposed to this is the ability to put yourself in the business’s shoes, so to speak. Cyber security people need to be able to speak in business terms and align themselves with the non-technologists in the business in order to work with them to create the right solutions.
The way cyber security operates within the business has evolved over the years and as it has risen in priority it has consequently given way to more face time and collaboration between the cyber team and those at C-suite and board level, stakeholders, and employees across the business. For this reason, the need for strong interpersonal skills is paramount for individuals hoping to elevate their cyber security careers.
Communication skills both written and oral are supremely important as cyber security personnel are expected to present across all levels of the organisation in order to both explain what they need to do to uphold security best practices as well as to educate.
Technology is moving at a rapid pace, with business racing along beside it trying to keep up. How that translates to cyber security skills is a demand for people who can keep pace with both and have the agility to adapt quickly. This of course takes us back to the demand triggered by Covid for professionals who can match change and get comfortable with it immediately.
Take the Lead
Hiring managers are also looking for individuals who are comfortable taking the initiative when it comes to utilising tools such as automation and data analysis software in order to drive effective protection strategies and having the skill to pick out the tasks that could be automated.
Cyber security professionals who can take the lead on their work and be self-motivated and self-directed is also something that has come from 18 months of remote working conditions. A skill that has always been valued in this area, now more than ever has come to light as a trait employers value highly.
True, technical expertise is equally as important for cyber security professionals to get ahead in their career, but having the right soft skills that businesses are particularly craving will get you noticed and push you along that path a lot faster.