Putting education into action - the best ways to find information security jobs
Getting a qualification in information security through one of the many cyber security training courses or programmes available to professionals in the UK is an essential first step in any career. But once you've completed the course and got the certificate to prove it, how should you go about turning this into a job?
There are huge opportunities for newcomers to the information security sector. Indeed, according to research by Cybersecurity Ventures, there were 3.5 million unfilled positions worldwide in 2021.
But finding a job isn't the same as finding the right job. So what can you do to increase your chances of securing a position that will set you up well for years to come?
Do your research
The first step should be to research the market carefully. This means not only learning about the companies you apply to, but also the roles themselves. Job titles such as cyber security analyst, cyber security engineer and cyber security architect are common across the industry, but you'll need to tailor each application you make to the specific responsibilities of the vacancy.
Understanding where your career path may take you is also vital. Having a clear idea what your preferred role may lead to in future will be vital in impressing potential employers and furthering your career.
Beyond this, it's important you can showcase your wider knowledge of the market to recruiters. What you learned on your cyber security training course is a great starting point, but this is an industry that's constantly evolving, with new threats and defences always being developed. Being able to demonstrate you have your finger on the pulse can ensure you stand out when applying for highly competitive roles.
Build up your professional network
Networking skills for cyber security specialists aren't limited to those that use cables and wireless signals. Personal networking is another invaluable skill for anyone looking to enter the cyber security sector, and there are a few ways you can go about this.
The first is to secure a professional certification from a recognised industry provider, as these often come with access to support networks and further education you can use to build your connections as well as your knowledge. For instance, the likes of CompTIA and (ISC)2 offer a range of support and communications services for their members once you've passed the relevant exams.
Another good option for new professionals is to attend a cyber security careers fair. There are few better ways to enter the industry than to press the flesh and meet prospective employers in person. Even if you don't have a specific role in mind, heading to one of these events will allow you to talk to experienced professionals, find out what qualities and experiences they're looking for, and make a good impression for the future.
Broaden your skillset
Being able to specialise in areas such as cloud security or penetration testing is another way you can stand out from other candidates and find a promising opportunity that offers more potential for advancement as firms' IT environments evolve.
It also pays not to solely focus on technical issues. While skills such as the ability to code are invaluable, the majority of cyber incidents today occur as the result of human error, with mistakes in configurations and falling for social engineering attacks among the biggest causes of incidents.
Therefore, a strong grounding in human behaviour and psychology, for instance, can be a surprisingly valuable skill for any prospective information security professional. This will help you understand the decisions your users will make and how criminals are likely to exploit them, enabling you to better counter any attacks. Business leadership and economics skills shouldn’t be underestimated either as the cyber security team becomes a more central part of many organisations' thinking.
Find the best sectors for your talent
Using a specialist cyber security job board to search for opportunities that are most suited to you is a great way of narrowing down your search. Recruiters trust services such as CyberSecurityJobsite because they know they can connect directly with the most qualified and relevant candidates, which may not always be the case if you're using a more general site.
Being able to upload your CV directly to these services is another benefit, as it makes you more visible to recruiters and lets them come to you.
You may also want to think about where you'd like to work. While businesses across every industry will require skilled cyber security professionals, those with the right background and personal qualities may find there are especially interesting and lucrative opportunities in certain sectors.
Organisations in sectors such as central government, defence and working with the police, for example, all deal with extremely sensitive data and are prime targets for cyber attacks. As such they have a particularly pressing need for information security specialists with the integrity and trustworthiness to pass the UK's most stringent security clearances, such as Security Check (SC) and Developed Vetting (DV).
Cyber security professionals who possess these credentials are likely to find they have many more options for the highest-level and most sensitive roles. If you want to learn more about where this can take you, using a security cleared job board can be a great idea, as these often have a wide range of vacancies for these highly skilled individuals.