Hays has noted that the increasing demand for cyber security experts has led many IT professionals to consider transitioning their career into this field. However they argue that a successful career move into cyber security is a multi-faced process and not for everyone.
“Protecting enterprise data and infrastructure has become one of the most critical roles of IT thanks to ever-evolving cyber threats and data breaches,” explains Adam Shapley, managing director at Hays. “With the need for cyber security experts far outpacing the number of qualified candidates, this is a career choice worth considering.
“Employers are looking for candidates who show a strong interest in cyber security, have some relevant experience, and can demonstrate their willingness to learn and continuously develop their skills in the field. Whether you have a background in IT or are looking to make a 180-degree transition into a cyber security career, it all starts with a genuine passion towards cyber security,” he advises.
Hays shares the following advice for candidates looking to kick-start their career in cyber security:
• A background in IT: As an IT security specialist, it is essential to have a broad knowledge of how IT environments work, from administering and configuring systems to networks, database management and coding.
Ideally you have an IT background, but those with passion and less experience may benefit from reading industry content, joining relevant online communities or signing up for suitable webinars.
Most colleges and universities now offer Diploma programs or Certificate courses with part-time, full-time and accelerated options available to get you up to speed.
We also recommend finding a mentor who works in IT to provide career guidance, industry insights and relevant knowledge to sharpen your skills and further develop your career.
• Network with like-minded professionals: Meetups are a great way to get together with fellow cyber security professionals, grow your technical knowledge and garner first-hand insights into the industry.
• Contribute to open source projects: Test your technical abilities and practice your teamwork skills. Github is a popular platform for collaborating with individuals from around the world. These projects can be added to your CV and demonstrate to potential employers what you can do.
• Gain experience and cultivate your soft skills: If you are currently working part-time or unemployed, consider internships, volunteering or temporary work. This will provide you with real-life exposure whilst developing your business acumen and communication skills.
• Obtain an entry-level security certification: We are often asked by those looking to commence a cyber security career whether a degree in this field is essential to getting a job. The answer is no. An entry-level security cert like CompTIA Security+ is a good starting place to help boost your IT security knowledge and beef up your resume.
• Set up a security lab: Get hands-on by setting up a couple of old computers and an inexpensive wireless router. The router will probably have a network switch, firewall, DHCP server, and other built-in features that you can learn how to secure and test.
• Connect with a recruiter: It can be tricky knowing where to start when looking for your first role or transitioning into a new field. At Hays, our dedicated cyber security recruiting experts can provide you with career advice, company insights and help prepare you for your interview.