With most of the world on the internet, many businesses and organizations are increasingly vulnerable to attacks and cyber threats than ever before. Sometimes the most simplistic deception can cause thousands or millions of dollars of loss, and sometimes the damage is irreparable. Cyber attacks are not just limited to big businesses, either. Small companies and individuals can fall foul of the scams that take place every day. The issue is, the internet is changing all the time, and that means even more sophisticated scams come to light regularly that could derail an entire organization.
Due to the ever-changing face of the cyber world, more and more job openings are appearing for this line of work. According to the Department of Labor Statistics, it was reported that this career option would likely grow 13% from 2016 to 2026. So there is an array of opportunities for anyone looking to enter a unique career. The requirement for experts will increase, and the need for specialists could take you anywhere in the world.
So is a job in cybersecurity something you might consider? Take a look at some of the reasons why exploring this career option could be an excellent opportunity for self-development.
Do I need formal qualifications such as a Masters in Cybersecurity?
Computer science degrees and qualifications such as masters in cybersecurity are a fantastic bonus if you’re considering entering this world. However, it is possible to come from a non-technical background as long as you can display a range of attributes suited to the profession.
There are clear benefits of studying a masters in cybersecurity, as learning a range of technical foundations in this field will equip you with the complexities surrounding the profession. These courses also cover aspects such as security communications, privacy, cyber laws, and ethics among a range of more technical programming work. A masters in cybersecurity will also provide a detailed framework of the type of things you will carry out as a cybersecurity expert.
Learning cybersecurity – basics and advanced practices
If you want to get started in this line of work, training is essential. As mentioned above, you may not require formal qualifications, but undertaking studies such as a masters in cybersecurity will ensure you understand the landscape before entering it. In the beginning, it’s advisable to focus on the areas you’d like to study before choosing a career path to follow. Higher qualifications, including a masters in cybersecurity, will give you adequate guidance on the type of elements cybersecurity covers. You don’t have to be good at every single aspect of a field, but learning the foundations and then honing your skills in a specialist capacity will take you further in your career.
If you’re looking to take a masters in cybersecurity, there are many online courses to explore. These expertly delivered qualifications will prepare you for a range of career paths. You’ll experience cutting edge interactive education and learn from faculty in the modern industry. This type of qualification also prepares you for a management position in the future. You will be able to present findings and plan actionable solutions to defeat frequent and sophisticated attacks.
The benefits of studying a masters in cybersecurity
Alongside the clear qualifications you will receive upon completion of a masters in cybersecurity, there is also a range of other skills and attributes you will learn on your journey. Take a look at some of the examples below:
Adapting to change – We know the cybersecurity landscape is changing every day, and with that, so too is the need for experts and adaptable people to take the reigns. Alongside your studies for a masters in cybersecurity, you will also develop a deeper understanding of adaption in this line of work. It’s not just managerial positions that seek this characteristic; it’s everyone from ground level to shareholders. The cybersecurity world never sleeps, and your course will guide you through a variety of things to consider when looking out for opportunities and threats.
Effective communication skills – A significant part of a cybersecurity job will involve talking to people that are not from a technical background. These people (often managerial) will require concise and translatable language when you talk about and describe cybersecurity issues and solutions. Studying for a masters in cybersecurity will give you the necessary guidance on how to tackle the common problems you may face when discussing expert level information with people that do not deal with technology on this level. There is a delicate balance in this line of work of getting the right information across without missing out on any important detail, but also not overcomplicating the subject matter. All of this will be covered with further education, and most often, individuals will have a natural ability to take tech jargon and make it translatable.
Working with others at all levels – In every job, working with others comes as part of the package. However, in the cybersecurity world, although many companies have in-house teams, there is also the need to work remotely when required. You will be no stranger to working with others, including non-technical team members, and it’s important to recognize this skill. Throughout a masters in cybersecurity course, you will be communicating and working with other professionals in the field, including faculty. This transferable attribute will give you the necessary connections to work with a range of people in organizations. Your skills will also enable you to work fluidly with little interruption. This can help where you are undertaking remote tasks or preparing to start your own cybersecurity company to serve clients.
Discretion – The cybersecurity world often deals with sensitive data and information that cannot be discussed outside of the work environment. So it comes as no surprise that the very nature of many cybersecurity roles requires the utmost discretion. Working on this premise means that you will need to deliver results and find solutions discretely, sometimes sharing little information with immediate colleagues. This attribute is especially vital in government-contracted work and public service sectors where you may be dealing with data on vulnerable people or classified information.
Risk analysis and intuition – Cybersecurity roles depend on wider recognition of risk and how to handle it. By undertaking professional qualifications such as a masters in cybersecurity, you will develop a deeper understanding of what to look out for. However, there is an element of judgment and intuition that comes with this role. The ability to understand a client’s security needs and identify threats is crucial. Risk assessments will become a routine part of the job and will be built into every project you undertake.
Technical skills – Although understanding the theory behind cybersecurity is vital, technical knowledge is also essential. This includes the fundamentals of security and network programming. If you know how to use and implement the theory behind it, you will be a position to test and analyze risk based on your findings.
Learning from major cyber incidents around the world
Alongside studying further for qualifications such as masters in cybersecurity, you will also look at huge cybersecurity problems that have previously occurred. Unfortunately, some notable examples caused severe loss to many companies worldwide. However, they have provided a platform to review and learn from, so the same mistakes do not happen again. Some masters in cybersecurity courses will cover case studies such as the WannaCry malware incident in the UK in 2017. This is a very recent example of how scammers infected computers and made data stored on hard drives inaccessible. Whatever the example, there are some key questions that are asked from these case studies such as:
- What was the specific attack?
- How did the attack work?
- Who were the attackers, and what were the intentions?
- What lessons can we learn from the attack?
Although issues such as this case study were isolated to the UK, it recorded global repercussions when the government tried to find the source of the attack. It’s handy to remember that lessons can be learned from any cyberattack, however small. A masters in cybersecurity also shows you that even a simple miscommunication of information can lead to catastrophic events.
Choosing a career in cybersecurity
Cybersecurity careers are often perceived as only a requirement by the government or security agencies. However, as most companies are online, it has become a mainstream career option for many people. Cybersecurity positions have grown in the past decade, and the demand for specialists is high. This field is also one of the top areas to work in technology and provides a rewarding and varied career for both men and women.
There are a number of positions available, and some require qualifications such as a masters in cybersecurity. Take a look at some of the most popular career options available, including requirements to take the next step on your journey.
Forensic Computer Analyst
The job of a forensic computer analyst is to be the detective of the cyber world. This position will be looking at lots of different computer information, especially following a security breach. This job is varied and can also include recovering data from hard drives and decoding encrypted data. This career path may take you into the public or private sector, and in some cases, your work and evidence may be used in litigation.
Qualifications required: A Forensic Computer Analyst would usually require a degree in Computer Sciences or similar. A masters in cybersecurity may also be beneficial but is often not a prerequisite.
Chief Information Security Officer
If you’re looking to take your career in cybersecurity to the next level, then Chief Information Officer could be the right position for you. This is generally a mid-level executive position and involves overseeing the security division in a company. This job will also include planning and executing a range of tasks and security measures within the organization. Plus, it uses your expertise to reduce cyber threats and attacks. As a managerial position, this role requires not only excellent system management skills but also personnel management attributes.
Qualifications required: This role often requires a degree in computer sciences or a related subject. In larger organizations, a masters in cybersecurity or a similar subject is also required.
Security Systems Administrator
As a security systems administrator, you will have a varied role that covers everything from administering, maintaining, installing, and troubleshooting computer and network systems. This position includes a multitude of areas and can also involve you in overseeing general systems administration and a team of people. You will work with a range of colleagues from different areas in the company, including higher management and assistants, so having excellent communication skills are essential.
Qualifications required: This career choice requires a degree in computer science or a similar field. In some organizations, you will need to have a professional certificate such as masters in cybersecurity or a related field.
System and Security Architect
A system architect is someone who maintains and establishes network security for organizations. This is a pivotal role in any company and can be carried out by internal departments or contractors. This position is responsible for developing security policies and procedures and effectively communicating them to employees. This role also gets hands-on in that it covers both repairing and evaluating breaches in the network.
Qualifications required: Security Architects need a degree in computer sciences or similar to advance in this career. In some instances, organizations may require professional qualifications such as a masters in cybersecurity.
Other careers in the cybersecurity sector include:
- Information Security Analyst
- Penetration Tester (Ethical Hacker)
- IT Security Engineer
- IT Security Consultant
Many of these positions will also require degree-level education and professional qualifications such as a masters in cybersecurity (depending on entry-level).
The next steps…
There are a wide variety of opportunities available in the cybersecurity sector, open to people of all backgrounds and interests. The computer science industry is booming, and you will also enjoy good salary prospects and the chance to develop and hone your specialist skills to take your career to the next level.