Thinking about embarking on a career in cyber security? This is something that many involved in web and tech are considering right now, and it is easy to see why. There is a mass shortage in cyber security with a rush to fill positions, plus it is also a line of work that can pay very well and allows you great job satisfaction knowing that you are making a positive difference to the world. These are just a few benefits to a career in cyber security, but it is important to note that it is not a field for everyone, and there are a wide range of skills and attributes that you will need. Here are the main skills and attributes required to succeed in cyber security.
Commitment to Learning
One of the most important attributes to have is a commitment to learning. You will need an online cyber security degree to develop the skills and knowledge required, and secure work with a masters online cyber security degree being highly worthwhile. In addition to an online cyber security degree, you also need to realize that cybercrime is constantly changing along with technology and how people use and share data, which means that you need to commit to continuous learning to protect people.
Fortunately, you can take a masters online cyber security degree entirely online and other qualifications, which can make it easier to fit into your schedule. In addition, this allows you to study for an online cyber security degree while you work, build your skills, and manage other responsibilities.
Technical skills are hugely important when it comes to a career in cyber security. However, for those that have no technical skills, it is possible to develop these, and you can start with basic coding and research before moving onto a bachelors degree and then taking the masters online cyber security degree. The masters online cyber security degree will teach you the technical skills that you need to excel in a career in cyber security – this can also help you to command a much higher salary than those without a masters.
In addition to strong technical skills, it is also very important that you have strong communication skills too. While a lot of your time will be spent working in front of a computer, it is also likely that you will be communicating and engaging with people in a high-pressure situation. For example, you may need to communicate with clients to build trust and present what you are doing (to people who have little knowledge of cyber security) and work as part of a team where communication is vital to success.
To succeed in cyber security and climb the ladder, it is important that you possess strong verbal, written, listening, and presentational skills. If any of these are weaknesses, they can be improved with research, training, and practice. Additionally, it would be best if you tried to project self-confidence and professionalism to build trust, which is hugely important in a field where you are responsible for handling and protecting sensitive data.
Time Management Skills
Time management skills are also key in this industry, as you must be able to manage your time effectively and prioritize your workload. It will depend on the type of business you work for, but often you will be responsible for managing multiple clients, and issues can arise at any moment (and of-ten at the same time). Those that excel will be able to make sure that they are always taking the right action and dedicating enough time to each client and project – this can feel like spinning plates, which is why organizational skills are so important.
Leading on from this, you must also be well-organized to thrive in cyber security. When you are working with multiple clients on multiple projects, you need to give your all to each project, which means that you need to be organized and able to focus. Organizational skills can be an area that many struggle with, but fortunately, you can often improve these skills by creating routines and systems for yourself and utilizing tech and apps that can help keep your work and life organized.
Ability to Work as Part of a Team
As mentioned earlier, you will often be working as part of a team, and this is a skill that is essential to find success, build positive relationships and climb the ladder. Many people want to be the hero in cyber security as you are effectively fighting a war on crime, but there is no room for ego when it comes to cyber security, so you need to work together with others even if you are only playing a minor role. You also need to be able to take direction and construction criticism on board and build relationships with your coworkers.
Ability to Work Independently
While you certainly need to be able to work as part of a team, it is also important that you can work independently and unsupervised. There will be a combination of both in most roles, and this can be a major perk for many; plus, this also means that often there are remote work opportunities when it comes to cyber security (some roles may even be entirely remote). While working independently has its perks and suits many types of workers, it is important that you can maintain focus, work to the best of your abilities, and hit your targets without supervision.
Critical thinking skills are hugely important in cyber security, and you will need to develop these if you do not have them already. Cyber security is, essentially, problem-solving, but in a high-pressure situation and in a field that is constantly going through change which means that what works one day may not work another, and no two challenges are exactly the same. This means that you need to be able to think outside the box, approach issues from different viewpoints, and find new solutions with the use of critical thinking skills.
Ability to Work Under Pressure
Leading on from this, it is also important that you are able to work well under pressure. Data is hugely important for all organizations and individuals, so attacks on people’s systems and data can be devastating, and it is your job to prevent this. This can create high-pressure situations regularly, and you will need to remain calm, retain professionalism, and find the best solution to the problem. Additionally, this means that you also need to have good stress management skills and make sure that you are finding ways to de-stress and switch off outside of work (more on this to come).
As mentioned earlier, the ability to work as part of a team is certainly important when it comes to cyber security. If you want to progress to leadership roles, though, it is vital that you have strong leadership skills and can be someone that can give direction, delegate, offer support and inspire trust. You will learn many of the key leadership skills required for cyber security with a masters online cyber security degree, but you might also find it helpful to research leadership and what specific skills you need to work on to become a better leader and then try to put these into action in your day to day.
Strong Work Ethic
You need a very strong work ethic when it comes to cyber security because the work can be incredibly demanding, and there are not times where you can simply put your feet up and put less effort in. Having a strong work ethic will ensure that you are working to a high standard each day, show your reliability and the pride that you take in your work, and this can help you advance your career.
Cyber security is not the kind of work that is a means to an end, and, for many, it is more a way of life. This is because they feel passionate about protecting people in today’s digital age and putting a stop to cybercrime, which is something that can give you motivation and inspiration each day, and this is how you develop a good work ethic.
Ability to Separate Work & Home
The trouble with such demanding and important work is that it can be difficult to separate your work and home. You might find yourself stressed and thinking about work long after you have finished, or you might even find yourself working at home when you are off the clock (especially if working remotely). So, while it is good to feel passionate about your work, you also need to find ways to separate work from your home life as otherwise, this can lead to burnout and negatively affect both areas.
This is why you need to create boundaries for your work and personal life and prioritize self-care. You also need to make the most out of your time off by spending time with friends and family, enjoying (non-IT-related) hobbies, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. Fortunately, it is possible to achieve a good work/life balance with cyber security (especially compared to other industries), so hopefully, this will not be too challenging. If you are in a job where you do not have a good work-life balance, you may want to look around as a better job is available.
Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is an often-overlooked skill in cyber security, but it can lead to mistakes and vulnerabilities without this. It can be hard when working in a high-pressure situation and juggling multiple projects, but you need to be able to be highly vigilant and precise with your work to provide the best possible protection. On top of this, you may also spend a lot of time monitoring systems and networks, so you need to have attention to detail to spot any potential issues and react swiftly.
Those that work in cyber security can also benefit from having sound business knowledge. Most cyber security professionals work either for one business as part of an IT team or for a cyber security firm working with multiple clients, and it is vital that you see the big picture and understand how the business operates and its goals. For example, they will simply want you to provide the best possible level of protection without interfering with their work, so you will need to be able to provide this for them and ensure that the protection runs in the background so that they can achieve their protection goals.
You do not necessarily have to earn an MBA, but it is helpful to have sound knowledge of how businesses run and take the time to get to know the individual business. This can also be helpful when it comes to building relationships and developing trust, which is so important when it comes to cyber security.
Finally, flexibility is another attribute that you need to have in cyber security. Every day is different in this field, and you will need to be able to adjust to each new situation and challenge that you face. You never know what your day will look like in cyber security and, while this can be part of the thrill, it can also be challenging and stressful. You need to be able to handle this stress and know when to switch off at the end of the day or it can be overwhelming, but this is something you can learn in your online cyber security degree.
As you can see, some wide-ranging skills and attributes are needed for success in cyber security. Many people are looking to switch over to this field right now, and it is easy to see why as there are many perks, but it is important to know that this is not easy work, and you will need many skills and attributes to find success. While many of these can be developed on an online cyber security degree, you may also find that you need to develop other skills yourself, and this can be a challenge and take some time, but once you get into the habit of continuous professional development, it will become second nature.