Cyber security specialists are placed right at the cutting edge of technology. Working at a pace to keep ahead of cyber criminals, these ICT experts keep us safe at a national, business and personal level. Cyber security jobs offer an ever-changing landscape, competitive pay (average salary $76,876
) and the opportunity to have a positive impact, in an increasingly important way.
Building Australia’s cyber-security capability
More and more Australians are retraining for cyber security jobs. In November 2018, there were 46,900
people employed in Australia as Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists. This represents a rise of 6.8%
since November 2013. The significance of protecting Australia from cyber-attack has been recognised at government level. The 2019-20 Budget promised AU$156 million
towards tackling cyber-crime. This included funding to help build a stronger cyber security workforce.
Keeping society safe
Cyber security specialists
(or ICT security specialists) are employed to minimise the possibility of damage from security breaches
to a computer system or its records. People in cyber security jobs set up security policies and make sure these are correctly implemented and maintained. They also have responsibility for disaster planning, ensuring that any necessary recovery strategies are established and ready for use.
Salary trends for cyber security specialists
Salaries for cyber security specialists in Australia vary according to experience. In your first year, you can expect to earn around $67,049
but cyber security analysts with over 10-years experience are currently earning an average of $108,000
. With salaries increasing so well in line with experience
, it is definitely worth starting to prepare for this career step as soon as possible. Cyber security is a new and growing industry with over 60% of specialists still at an early career stage
. If you start training now, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to make your mark and find exactly the right cyber security job for you.
A day in the life of a cyber security specialist
You might be wondering what your working day would look like if you were a cyber security specialist. There will be plenty of computer programming but you won’t be spending all of your time in front of the computer. Good cyber security also relies on good communication
so be prepared to attend meetings and write user reports as well. You won’t know when the next cyber security breach is going to occur so each day will be different. You will need to be prepared to get involved with some of the exciting activities below:
White hat hacking
When you hear the word, ‘hacker’ you probably think of a covert mission to cause damage or gain money by criminal methods but, believe or not, you can be employed as an ethical hacker. Also known as penetration testers, white hat hackers find weaknesses in security systems by attempting to gain access to them. If simulating cyber attacks and gathering computer intelligence sounds like your kind of spying, then perhaps it’s time to find out more about this exciting job role.
If the word ‘response’ makes you think of urgent sirens, then you have a good idea of what the incident response is all about. When a successful cyber attack occurs, it has damaging and potentially long-reaching effects. The job of the incident response is to minimise the impact of these and to assist in adjusting security controls to prevent further system vulnerabilities.
As a cyber security specialist, one of the ways you might keep your systems safe is to control access to different parts of your system. This is more complicated than it sounds. Access can be broken down in a number of ways, perhaps by job responsibility, security level or even location. Being in charge of access is often a balancing act, one that is likely to give you plenty to think about.
It’s far better to keep intruders out than let them get into a system in the first place. A fair proportion of your time as a cyber-security specialist is likely to be spent setting up and using systems that’ll allow you to keep an eye on and respond to incoming threats.
Hackers can’t afford to stop learning and neither can you. As a cyber security specialist, you’ll need to make sure you’re always one step ahead of your potential attackers. Amongst other things, this’ll mean undertaking specific training, seeking advice from colleagues and attending conferences.
Becoming a cyber security specialist
Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to become a cyber security specialist without a computer science based degree. You’ll need to be passionate about ICT, be able to demonstrate some technical competency
, and ideally already work in computing. Skills in computing, electronics, mathematics, telecommunications and customer service will also be an advantage.
A nationally recognised online training course can help you take your first step on the ladder to a cyber security job. Upskilled’s ICT50120 - Diploma of Information Technology (Cyber Security)
has been designed, especially for people who’d like to specialise in the security side of ICT systems.
We live in a world that is dependent on computer systems and their safety. With so much at stake, cyber security is not for the faint-hearted but, if you enjoy variety and challenge, it could well be the right career for you.
Hard ICT skills are required to make progress but with healthy curiosity and an enjoyment of learning, these can be obtained alongside your current job. Nationally recognised online courses offer a flexible approach to learning that can help you on your way to your first cyber security job.
Fi is a professional copywriter based in Devon, England. She specialises in education, careers, travel and outdoor writing and is the co-author of the popular daily outdoor blog 'Two Blondes Walking'. Fi has written three children's books and, when she isn't writing, Fi loves to gather inspiration from long walks, early morning sea swims and winter wild camps.