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A career in Cyber Security

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As a STEM Ambassador who happens to hold an executive role in a cyber business, I often get asked to speak in schools about careers in Cyber Security. Something that I’m always delighted to do!

There is a core of questions that nearly always get asked:

Is it well paid? Yes!

One recruitment website is currently showing the average salary for Cyber Security jobs in London is £77,500.

Is there a demand/a job for me? Yes!

There is currently a large and increasing shortfall in the industry. Studies suggest that there will be a shortfall of 100,000 professionals in the UK alone by 2022.

Do I need to be a techie, wear a hoodie and spend my days in a dark room eating pizza? No! (Unless that’s what you really want to do.)

While there is a need for people with technical skills, many of the best cyber security professionals I know have come from non-technical backgrounds. I know former economists, musicians and even teachers in the profession. The profession is welcoming of people from diverse backgrounds.

What do I need to do to get into Cyber Security? Further study or employment.

The classical route has been to study a cyber related degree such as computer science. A more recent approach has been to join a cyber apprenticeship programme with many large and small employers offering higher and degree apprenticeship opportunities.

To pursue either option, it really helps to demonstrate you have a genuine interest in the subject and have done something to develop your understanding and skills in Cyber Security.

There are a number of things that a student can do to stand out:

  1. Cyber Discovery: a government sponsored initiative to develop some of the technical skills.
  2. Cyber Centurion: a team-based competition run by The Cyber Security Challenge.
  3. The CyberEPQ: an Extended Project Qualification specifically in cyber security aimed primarily at sixth form students with all learning content provided on-line (teachers will be relieved to know that they don’t need to have any cyber knowledge!).

This is a formal qualification that carries up to 28 UCAS points for those that wish to apply for university or an apprenticeship and indicates a passion for cyber which can be highlighted in Personal Statements and CV profiles.

Cyber Security provides a rewarding and interesting career option, whether you are technical or not. Even for teachers!

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