Due to the high demand for cyber security professionals, cyber security is an excellent field to enter right now. According to Accenture, security breaches have increased by 67% since 2014. Not only is the amount growing, but the breaches are also escalating in severity.
IBM Security revealed the global average cost of a data breach is reaching an all-time high of $4.35 million. The extreme impact each breach causes makes cyber security professionals more essential than ever. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of information security analysts will grow (faster than average) by 33% from 2020 to 2030, making it an even more lucrative field.
If you have questions like: “What is the role of cyber security?” “What’s in the cyber security job description?” “What do cyber security professionals do?” and “How can I do this myself?” you can find the answers to all that (and more) in this article.
What Does Cyber Security Do to Impact the World?
Before you learn what the job entails, you need to understand what cyber security is. In brief, it is protected against cyber attacks. Cyber attacks generally aim to disrupt, disable and/or destroy sensitive information, causing great harm to individuals and companies.
Some types of cyber attacks include phishing (fraudulent emails asking for sensitive information under the guise of official sources), ransomware (extortive software that blocks access to files until the money is paid), and malware (software designed to access or damage data). Implementing a strong cyber security system and strategy is essential to prevent unauthorized access to critical systems and data. That’s why companies across industries hire cyber security professionals for protection.
What Does a Cyber Security Professional Do for Businesses?
Cyber security professionals are trained to identify weaknesses in databases, networks, hardware, firewalls, and encryption. Their main responsibility is to prevent hacking by finding and fixing potential issues before hackers can take advantage of them.
They must be able to work with the ever-changing nature of technology and know how to upgrade systems to enable security software, install and upgrade antivirus software, and test and evaluate new technology. Moreover, cyber security professionals must constantly gather feedback to continuously improve company systems, as they also have to take care of the aftereffects of any attacks or breaches.
Specific Roles within Cyber Security
Depending on your level of education, there are various roles you can fill within the realm of cyber security. For example, network or systems administrators are common entry-level positions. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems and other data communication systems.
At the top of the hierarchy sits the CSO, which stands for chief Information Security Officer or Chief Security Officer. The CSO is often responsible for a large team of IT security professionals who work to protect a company’s data.
Requirements and Skills
For any role you wish to fill in cyber security, there’s a long list of skills and responsibilities that will help you succeed. Some of these include:
- Technical aptitude – cyber security is a technology-focused field
- Communication skills – cyber security professionals typically work in teams and
- Analytical skills – cyber security professionals must anticipate hackers’ moves before they make them
- Writing proficiency – cybersecurity professionals may need to generate reports for various stakeholders and are generally responsible for communicating security updates to the whole company
Any and all of these skills will make you a more effective employee and will significantly increase your job opportunities.
Where Do Cyber Security Professionals Work?
Cyber security professionals can work from almost anywhere, whether it be working remotely or working in an office. They may work in a secured facility or abroad offering consultations around the world. One of the great things about the cyber security job is that it provides opportunities in many different environments.
Here are some pros and cons of each area:
Working from home
- Pros: You get to stay home and the company will often provide you with the equipment you need
- Cons: You miss out on the types of interactions and opportunities that come with working with other people
Working in an office
- Pros: Opportunity to interact with coworkers and supervisors face-to-face
- Cons: Time to commute that can add hours to your workday
Working in a secured facility
- Pros: Employee benefits
- Cons: High degree of secrecy
- Pros: Since these positions can include a stipend for living costs, salaries can go farther than they would at home where bills have to be paid
- Cons: You have to live overseas away from family and friends
With any of these work arrangements, it’s a good idea to make sure that the job’s requirements meet your personal and professional needs and help you move toward your longer-term goals.
How to Become a Cyber Security Professional
If you like how all this sounds, you might be wondering “How can I become a cyber security professional?”
First of all, comes education. According to the NSA, many entry-level positions require a Bachelor’s degree, combined with three years of relevant experience. You can even earn your degree online. For example, the University of the People offers online, tuition-free degrees in computer science, with options to earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree or to enroll in a certificate program.
Gaining experience is another vital aspect of landing a job.. This can mean getting an internship or another form of hands-on learning or having related work experience.
The next thing you should think about is industry certifications and clearances. Procuring the necessary certifications and clearances is incredibly important when it comes to entering a new field.
Certain certifications can make you a competitive applicant in the field.
Some examples of basic/foundational cyber security certifications:
- Security+: teaches risk management and threat assessment
- Network +: teaches networking, infrastructure, and operations
Some examples of advanced cyber security certifications:
In any field, building a professional network is always a good idea. There are many network-oriented professional cyber security organizations and groups that are designed to alert members about job openings and professional development opportunities.
Cyber Security professionals are essential in today’s digital age. They keep companies and people safe from hackers, saving them time and money. It is a field that provides a large variety of opportunities and gives a lot of room for growth and advancement. Hopefully, we’ve answered your question “What do cyber security professionals do?” and give you a little clarity about whether this worthwhile career is something you’d like to pursue.