The Expanding Opportunities in Cybersecurity

The internet has transformed the way that we live, work and study, with new opportunities in many aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, it has also brought new opportunities for criminals, with cybercrime becoming a major problem for businesses, governments, charities, and individuals alike.

Whether it is identity or information theft, national security or financial loss, a cyber-attack can be devastating. At best, it is an embarrassment that hinders the business’s reputation; at worst, it can result in huge financial losses and even compromise physical safety. 

As a result of this, businesses and other organizations are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to maintain the highest standards of cybersecurity, resulting in this becoming a sector that requires ever more skilled professionals. Those who work in cybersecurity have an array of opportunities in entry-level positions and through promotion. 

The work is incredibly varied as technology does not stand still. Therefore, those who work in cybersecurity must aim to keep up with these advancements. Each day can bring new problems to solve and challenges to meet.

A growth career

If you are keen to work in IT, then cybersecurity is a career that’s well worth considering. The demand for increased cybersecurity means that you will be a professional much in demand. You will also benefit from long-term job security and generous salary packages. As you gain experience in the role, you will also find many opportunities for promotion. 

As mentioned above, technology is continually developing and the role of the cybersecurity expert will develop with it, making this an ideal career choice for those who are always keen to learn more. Over time, the opportunities in cybersecurity are set to increase, creating ever more demand for those who work in this area at all levels of their career.

Why is cybersecurity an expanding industry?

Cybersecurity is an extremely complex area. It is therefore no surprise that there are many reasons why the need for cybersecurity has expanded so much or why this expansion is set to continue. However, there are some key reasons why the industry is expanding in size in terms of the number of experts required and its depth.

Data production

Every day, we produce a phenomenal amount of data, and this amount is continually increasing. Much of this data is sensitive, giving information on both individuals and organizations alike, such as names, addresses and dates of births, and financial, medical, and other forms of sensitive information. 

You only have to consider simple acts that many of us do every day, such as buying something online, to recognize that in doing this you may be handing over to a company your personal information – your name, address, telephone number and the name of your bank. Sometimes you may also be asked about your date of birth. This small act is repeated all over the world by millions, resulting in a huge amount of data changing hands. 

New businesses and organizations are opening all the time, each one creating its own information as well as potentially obtaining the information of their customers, clients and employees. Online retail is only one sector that is generating vast amounts of data; there are many others. This means that increasing numbers of cybersecurity experts are required to keep this information safe.

Digital information

It is highly convenient to store information digitally. It takes up less space and is easier to access than information stored physically. It can also be shared easily.

For example, digitally stored medical records can be more easily accessed by any medical professional who is working with a particular patient; or educational records can be shared with other professionals involved in a child’s life, such as social workers.

However, while digitalizing records is beneficial, it also makes them vulnerable to a cybersecurity breach. Complex networks may have more weaknesses that can be exploited. This means that cybersecurity experts are needed across all sectors to help protect the digitally stored and transmitted information.

Increase in devices

Once, a desktop computer was the only real way that most of us connected to the internet, and there might be one in a family. However, in recent decades, this has changed beyond all recognition. Now, many of us will have our own personal devices such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops. There will be many more devices used in schools, colleges and every industry, government, or voluntary organization. 

New devices, such as smart TVs, exercise machines and watches, are constantly evolving and becoming commonplace. Every device could be vulnerable to cybercrime. This means that companies developing the new technology must have input from cybersecurity experts to ensure that their devices are as secure as possible before they hit the market. 

Customers will also want access to cybersecurity software to maintain the protection on their devices, while large companies, governments and voluntary organizations will need increasingly large cybersecurity teams to protect their network of devices.

Remote working

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated a trend toward remote working, and now many people work from home or even while traveling, often using cloud services for the storage, and sharing of information. The cloud creates another point of vulnerability, and cloud security is a new area of cybersecurity that is much in demand as companies recognize the need to protect this area of their work.

Remote working is popular with many people, but it can present a cybersecurity risk for the businesses they work for as their home internet may not be as secure as their workplace connections. Also, with working remotely still being a new experience for many, there is still much for those employees to learn about cybersecurity, with phishing scams becoming more common. At home, employees may be working with their own technology. This might be outdated and more vulnerable to an attack. This can create ever more work for the cybersecurity teams.

New tech for the criminals

As technology advances, more opportunities are created for cybercriminals to exploit and to use in their attacks and scams. Already, artificial intelligence (AI) is allowing the criminals to streamline their attacks and increase their effectiveness through its ability to automate tasks. 

Although currently in its infancy, AI-powered cybercrime could become one of the biggest threats in the not-too-distant future. This means that there is a demand for more cybersecurity experts who can monitor the threat and provide defenses, staying one step ahead of the criminals. New technology such as AI can be a tool for the cybersecurity experts as well as the criminals, providing new ways to create security checks and defense. 

One fear around AI is that it could take the place of human employees. However, in cybersecurity, it creates new opportunities with its need for experts who understand this exciting new technological area.

How to become a cybersecurity professional

Become A Cybersecurity Professional

With so many reasons to need cybersecurity, there is a high demand for cybersecurity professionals. This is a career with much to recommend it, with good salaries, excellent job security, a variety of career paths, opportunities for promotion, and the knowledge that you are helping to protect individuals and businesses alike. 

If this is a career that interests you, then it is worth looking at the skills and qualifications you need that will allow you to start a new career. If you already work in the industry, then this could be a good chance to look at what you need to do to pursue one of the many exciting promotion opportunities. There are also several soft skills that you should aim to hone to help you succeed in the field.

Technical skills

The technical skills needed will depend on the area of cybersecurity in which you are working. However, to advance a career, gaining expertise in the sought-after technical skills will make you considerably more employable. One of the most basic skills that all cybersecurity experts should have is network security, which ensures that you have a thorough understanding of how networks work and is often where cybersecurity professionals start.

More advanced skills include application security development, so that you can work closely with software engineering development teams to ensure the security of products, and cloud security, including the ability to use the security tools necessary for working across multiple cloud platforms. 

Threat intelligence analysis, which also requires some programing skills, is essential for those wanting to contextualize and analyze threats with a view to mounting a response. Penetration testing is a highly skilled role that is for offensive security types who can advise companies on where their defenses are lacking. 

Identity and access management looks at how a company’s employees access the network and considers ways to avoid breaches. This is also an educational skill as professionals working in this area provide advice to others on how to improve their internet security. Another educational role is to advise those who are working from home on how to improve their security, meaning that a good understanding of VPNs and RDP servers is required.

As the rules around cybersecurity are tightened, cybersecurity professionals will need an understanding of the regulations required in their area, such as GDPR in the EU or the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Qualifications

If the above selection of technical skills sounds daunting, there is no need to panic, as many of these are for more advanced cybersecurity roles, and the essential skills will be covered when you start your cybersecurity training. As a skilled role, a degree in IT, computer science or systems engineering can give you a good grounding, while a master’s degree can prepare you for leadership roles in cybersecurity.

A variety of courses are available at universities across the country, including online courses, which provide a convenient and often more practical option of studying from home. A good example of this can be seen by the online Masters in Cybersecurity at St. Bonaventure University. The curriculum can be tailored to individual experience, with a foundation course available to allow those who are completely new to the sector to catch up to speed with the necessary skills. There is also a selection of electives for those from an IT background, or for those who already hold a computer science degree.

With cybersecurity so vital, employers will quite naturally want to hire the best. Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees will demonstrate to prospective employers that you have a high level of competency in the necessary technical skills, increasing your employability. The time and money spent on training is therefore likely to be an investment that will pay off handsomely.

Ethical hacking

As a cybersecurity expert, you need to know how to hack a network, displaying the same skills as the criminals you are looking to thwart. Only by understanding how a hacker can operate, the vulnerabilities they may exploit, and the methods they can use will you be able to come up with the creative solutions needed to stop them.

Some cybersecurity experts make a career of ethical hacking, where they attempt to hack a network to see how easy it would be to do. Exposing a company to a cyber-attack without criminal intent allows it to improve its defenses so that it can deal with the real thing.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills are one of the soft skills that are key to a successful career in cybersecurity. When faced with cyber threats, you might be required to think quickly to come up with a solution, and as the nature of threats can change so rapidly, you may need to think outside the box to come up with a creative solution. When a cyber-attack threatens, the stakes are high, so cybersecurity experts will also need to be someone who can think calmly under pressure to address the threat.

Communication skills

Cybersecurity professionals must be skilled communicators. Often, they will work as part of a cybersecurity team, who will need to communicate well with each other. However, they may also work across many different departments, often with employees who do not have a basic understanding of cybersecurity. This means that it may be necessary to communicate information on threats or other aspects of cybersecurity, such as access management, simply but effectively.

As stated above, there is an educational element to cybersecurity as you advise colleagues or clients on the best way to improve their online security. This means that you must be able to convey the instructions in a way that gets all the information across but that is also easy to understand. Instructing people on how to improve their online security is one of the most essential parts of the job, as it is always better to empower others to keep themselves safe online than have to manage what can be a catastrophic security breach.

Attention to detail

In complex networks involving many different people logging in and out at different times, the signs of a cyber-attack can be subtle. This means that the cybersecurity expert must be vigilant and pay attention to any details and vulnerabilities. When monitoring networks, it will be your role to quickly identify any potential threats and come up with ways to deal with them.

Willingness to learn

Technology is not going to stand still, and so as a cybersecurity expert, you are committing yourself to a fascinating, lifelong learning journey. The smart technology that we have now is not the same as the smart technology that will be available five, 10 or 15 years from now. 

Also, cybercriminals are not going to be using the same methods in the future as they are today, and so cybersecurity experts will need to continue to develop their own techniques in order to stay ahead of them. This may mean getting to grips with new software and other tools. Many of those that you will be using later in your career are likely not yet even in development. The lifelong learning journey of a cybersecurity expert can be a challenge, but it is also part of what makes the profession so interesting.

Getting started

If a career in this exciting and expanding field interests you, then it is worth finding out today what qualifications you need to get started. With a wide variety of courses available, training has never been so accessible, and online courses particularly can provide flexible training that fits in well around your current commitments.

As a cybersecurity expert, your work will be varied, allowing you to work with many different types of people, and it will always provide something new to learn. Best of all, in your work, you will know that every day you are helping to protect others from the shadowy but very real dangers of cybercrime.

Daniel Odoh
Daniel Odoh

A technology writer and smartphone enthusiast with over 9 years of experience. With a deep understanding of the latest advancements in mobile technology, I deliver informative and engaging content on smartphone features, trends, and optimization. My expertise extends beyond smartphones to include software, hardware, and emerging technologies like AI and IoT, making me a versatile contributor to any tech-related publication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *