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:
- Cyber Discovery: a government sponsored initiative to develop some of the technical skills.
- Cyber Centurion: a team-based competition run by The Cyber Security Challenge.
- 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!