Cyber Security: 3 In-demand Careers You Can Thrive In

Over the last year, the demand for cyber security professionals skyrocketed by 60% and it’s not stopping there.

With technology advancing rapidly and more of us working in agile ways, businesses are investing in effective measures that protect our digital systems and data from harmful threats. That’s where cyber security comes in.

What’s cyber security and why is it so important?

Cyber security safeguards our digital networks, software, and devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets, and computers) against malicious attacks from cybercriminals.

Once someone has unauthorised access to a system or data they can leak, damage, or delete sensitive information and prevent others from accessing this. This could have catastrophic results for us all, which is why cyber security is a top priority for many leaders.

3 in-demand careers in cyber security

Cyber security is a dynamic and lucrative field, and to help you navigate through the different options we’ve pulled together some of the most in-demand roles available today.

Forensic Computer Analyst (FCA)

Forensic Computer Analysts investigate cybercrime and cover anything from hacking, online scams and fraud to political, industrial and commercial espionage.

What qualifications/skills do I need to be a Forensic Computer Analyst?

A background in IT or a similar field is an excellent foundation to build upon, and some employers look for industry-related awards and certifications. To specialise in cyber security, Forensic Computer Analysts generally need to have:

  • Good problem-solving skills
  • The ability to work in a high-pressure environment
  • Strong numerical and analytical skills
  • Microsoft (MS) Access or knowledge of Structures Query Language (SQL)
  • A solid understanding of operating systems

What salary ranges are available?

Salaries vary depending on your level of experience and seniority, with entry-level roles starting from £20,000 – £25,000 per annum, increasing to £60,000+ for advanced positions. Both private and public companies hire Forensic Computer Analysts, including:

  • Barclays
  • National Crime Agency
  • MET Police
  • MI5
  • Financial Conduct Authority

Ethical Hackers

As an Ethical Hacker, you’d use your cyber security expertise to expose and find solutions to any vulnerabilities in a business’ website, network, or systems.

What qualifications/skills do I need to be an Ethical Hacker?

You need a degree in cyber security or Information Systems to become an ethical hacker, and a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification would also be an advantage. Alongside your qualifications, employers look for professionals who:

  • Can investigate vulnerabilities safely and ethically
  • Have a solid knowledge of hacker techniques and any developments
  • Understand confidentiality issues and the law relating to them

What salary ranges are available?

Depending on what kind of experience you already have, salaries typically start at £30,000 – £40,000 with a median salary of £50,000 and £65,000. At a senior level, you could earn £70,000+.

Ethical Hackers play a central role in lots of different industries, and once qualified you can work for companies such as:

  • Banks (Barclays and Natwest)
  • MI5
  • Media organisations (iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon Prime)
  • Ministry of Defence

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

Chief Information Security Officers tend to have the highest-paid jobs in the Information Security sector. That’s because they direct strategy, operations and budgets to ensure that their company’s information assets and technologies are protected from any threats.

What qualifications/skills do I need to be a Chief Information Security Officer?

A degree in cyber security, Information Systems, or similar, would be a great advantage if you’re interested in specialising in this field. As a CISO, you’ll need to be confident with:

  • IT strategies (practices and methods), security architectures and key compliance frameworks
  • Firewall intrusion and detection protocols
  • The different legal, regulatory and financial constraints, and how they can impact the process of developing and implementing programmes/projects
  • Influencing and interacting with multiple stakeholders

What salary ranges are available?

A base salary for a Chief Information Security Officer is £130,000+, but this depends on your experience and the sector you work in. For example, you can expect these ranges in the following industries:

  • Finance and banking: £111,256
  • Retail: £104,400
  • Telecommunications: £85,889
  • Government: £74,600

Barclays, Natwest, Google, Microsoft, and MI5 are some of the biggest names employing CISO specialists.

Take your next step into cyber security

With more business leaders focusing on fortifying their cyber security, it’s never been a more exciting time to get into the field. Start your journey with a part-time postgraduate degree in MSc Cyber Security at Northumbria University.

Certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), you’ll gain the knowledge and practical skills needed to succeed across various industries. You’ll be able to study while working, and sharpen your expertise in:

  • Tackling security incidents
  • Identifying and creating solutions for new and existing threats
  • Fundamental concepts, principles and technologies for network security
  • Governance and assurance, and technology risk practices

For personalised advice and information about the course, entry requirements and our next intakes get in touch with our friendly team.

Editor’s note: This blog was republished with revisions on 09/01/2021 for transparency.

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