Modern businesses and governments face an unprecedented level of threat from cybercrime and hackers. Just recently in Georgia, the Secretary of State raised concerns over the potential influence of hacking in the midterm elections.

As a result, businesses and governments are always on the lookout for highly-trained individuals that can keep their data, systems, financial information, and customer base safe from hackers.

The demand for cyber security specialists is skyrocketing and is only set to increase. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts cyber security specialist jobs will have increased by 28% by 2026. There has never been a better time to get qualified as a cyber security specialist.

What does a cyber security specialist do?

Cyber security specialists come up with a strategy for protecting organizations from hackers and cybercrime. This means determining who gains access to what information, what security programs will be used, and rooting out malware, phishing scams, viruses, and hacking attacks.

If an attack is successful, a cyber security specialist will also take actions to mitigate the damage, restore the security systems, and root out the infiltrator.

A cyber security specialist will need strong cyber forensics and reverse engineering skills, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the latest system hardware and software, viruses, malware, and phishing scams.

This extensive knowledge allows cyber security specialists to demand a very high salary. In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that a cyber security specialist made an average salary of $99,690, and those in the top 10% of candidates in their field commanded an average salary of over $153,000.

How do I become a cyber security specialist?

There are a number of certifications that allow an IT specialist to become a cyber security specialist. These include but are not limited to Security+ (CompTIA), CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate), CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), GSEC, GCIH, GCIA, and CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).

These courses can be completed online. ITPro TV has training plans for whole teams looking to brush up on their cyber security skills and resources.

Some prospective employers will also offer financial assistance to help their employees obtain an advanced cyber security qualification, particularly if you are already working in their IT department and plan on staying with the employer once you obtain the certification.

Common Career Paths

If you are yet to gain work experience in the IT industry, there are career paths which can lead to a cyber security specialist position. Beginning as a system or network administrator is often a good place to start. It also equips employees with the necessary skills to run a network, which is essential when it comes to defending that network from potential threats.

Once you become a cyber security specialist, there are also opportunities to advance. Many go on to become security consultants or Security Architects.

At the very highest level, the best cyber security specialists can go on to become Chief Information Security Officers or Security Directors. These employees are usually in charge of running cyber security operations for vast corporations and governments.

Take the first step on your path to becoming a cyber security expert today and enrol for a certificate that will give you the necessary skills and accreditation to start opening doors in your career.