How to get into Cyber Security

Image of a circuit board and a lock depicting cyber security


Looking to retrain for a career in a new field? People aged 50+ are increasingly exploring how to get into cyber security, as an important and ever-growing field of work. We look at what’s involved and where to start.

What are cyber security jobs all about?

Cyber security focuses on protecting people and businesses from online crimes like hacking, online fraud, data breaches, leaks or any kind of digital attack.

Criminals are always seeking and discovering sophisticated new ways to make money through cyber crime. Research suggests that around half of British businesses have had some form of online attack in the last 12 months.

Cyber security job descriptions

Broadly, a cyber security job description will outline key tasks you’ll be expected to perform. Generally the role is all about searching for vulnerabilities and risks in either hardware or software – or both.

Cyber security specialists suggest defensive measures to protect information and keep intruders out.

Typically, roles require the monitoring of systems for unusual activity, reporting incidents and managing the response.

Cyber security salary guide

Due to the importance of this role, cyber security experts can receive some of the top salaries in the technology field. Pay ranges from around £20,000 at entry-level to more than £100,000 for security directors in large organisations. There are also opportunities to work freelance as a consultant, once you have gathered enough experience and contacts.

Types of cyber security job

There are different roles within cyber security, some of which include:

  • Network security: protecting company internal networks and securing data.
  • Application security: ensuring programmes and apps can’t be attacked by criminals.
  • Information security: defending physical and digital data against unauthorised access.
  • Data loss prevention: developing policies and processes to prevent data being lost.
  • Cloud security: addressing the risk of access to information stored virtually.
  • Infrastructure: protecting major systems such as power grids or air traffic control from attack.
  • End-user education: training employees and customers on how to prevent information and systems being put at risk.

What qualifications will I need?

Cyber security jobs often require degree level education, ideally in a related discipline such as computer science, technology, engineering or maths. You can study for a degree specifically in cyber security.

Other cyber security qualifications can be undertaken on top of academic qualifications. Take a look at the cyber security courses available via our sister site, workingmums. You can also seek apprenticeships and other traineeship opportunities to study alongside work.

Will cyber security suit me?

Because cyber security involves identifying and managing risks, it will suit anyone who likes problem solving and has a good understanding of technology.

It’s also important to have good communication skills, to help explain the risks and how to address them.

Cyber crime and security is constantly changing, so it’s crucial to keep your knowledge and skills up to date. Enjoying learning and research is a key part of cyber security jobs and there are many cyber security courses to keep your skills up to date.

How to find jobs in cyber security

There’s always strong demand for skilled cyber security experts, so it’s a career that offers a lot of opportunity. Just do an online job search to explore cyber security roles all over the UK.

Are there flexible working opportunities in cyber security?

Flexible working arrangements are becoming more common, and remote working is accepted by many organisations for at least some of the working week.

The high demand for skilled people in cyber security makes it easier to negotiate part time or flexible hours. Bear in mind, though, that if your company or client does experience a security crisis, you will almost certainly have to work long hours.

Retraining for cyber security jobs is not at all unusual for older professionals, especially those with a background in IT and technology. It is a highly rewarding and interesting field.

Read also: Upskilling the over 45s for a career in tech

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