Cyber security is one of the best paid and most sought after jobs in the world, as almost every business now operates online, and so is vulnerable to cyber attacks. However, working in cyber security is not easy. You’ll need top-notch technical knowledge, tenacity, and people skills to protect your organisation’s data and make a career for yourself.
Having the right set of skills is crucial to getting hired, but also to build your reputation over time. So what are the most important skills to work in cyber security?
Arguably the most important skill for working in cyber security is complete technical knowledge of the field. If you don’t understand the ins and outs of the cyber security landscape, you won’t be able to keep your business safe from attacks.
Intricate knowledge of coding and scripting is obviously necessary, as well as knowledge of cybersecurity frameworks.
There are also many types of security software you’ll need to know how to use, such as intrusion detection software, security information and event management systems, and intrusion prevention systems.
You’ll also need to ensure your knowledge is up to date as new threats are discussed and analysed across the industry.
This is one career where you can’t afford to get complacent. Cyber security is always changing, with new techniques and best practices being developed all the time, so you’ll need to keep up to date with new concepts, new software, and any new viruses to defend against.
Cyber security specialists are often life-long learners, with many blogs, youtube channels, and podcasts dedicated to the field, so you can keep your knowledge sharp across your career by learning from the best.
Cyber security requires a large amount of analytic skill. Can you spot weaknesses in your system? Sometimes things aren’t clear, and you’ll need to analyse your network to understand how a breach might have occurred.
From there, you can begin to improve your defences by analysing likely attack points cyber criminals might target.
As a cyber security expert, you’ll need to be able to work under pressure.
Whether monitoring network activity for possible intrusions, or dealing with an active threat, you’ll need to be able to prioritise actions, make decisions quickly, and maintain composure should anything go wrong.
In the event of a cyber attack, you’ll need to be able to think through what’s happening, assess the severity of threats, gauge the potential impact, and then start taking action.
Last, but certainly not least, a soft skill that is often overlooked by cyber security professionals is people skills. Being able to effectively communicate what you’re doing, and why, is a valuable skill. Can you explain things without relying on jargon or using overly technical language?
Both written and verbal communication play a key role in cybersecurity. You may need to write incident reports, where you’ll have to document updates and recommendations clearly.
You may also need to collaborate with other teams within your company, such as legal, IT, or public relations, or share your findings with other organisations or the greater cybersecurity community, so being able to work with people is crucial.
There is a lot you need to be a great cyber security analyst, beyond just technical understanding. If you’re able to work under pressure, keep up to date with best practice, and communicate with other team members, you’ll excel in your cyber security career.
Read more about why you should consider a career in cyber security, or learn about the best engineering jobs for the future.
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