Career Compass

The must-have skill sets & certifications for cyber security careers

The must-have skill sets & certifications for cyber security careers

Representational image Istock

Sunit Kumar Nandi

Cyber security careers are certainly for the high-rankers who can handle a multitude of tasks with the ability to shift gears and up skill as evolving technology changes the security risks to the business  which in turn needs remodeling the arrangement.

Welcome to the world of cyber security, where talent outperforms everything else.  I shall categorise the skills required for the job roughly in four broad brackets. A person who has  an ability to identify risk and eliminate or manage it, who possesses an in-depth technical knowledge of the IT world and evolving technologies, who is an expert in data management and analysis, and last but not the least, who is a master of interpersonal skills and has great business acumen.

Further, let me walk you through these skills one-by-one in some detail.

a)        An ability to identify risk and eliminate or manage it:  To possess the ability to timely mitigate risk is embodied in the ability to identify risk, based on the experience in the field coupled with great technical know-how. This ability or skill is much in demand today as the person will not only be able to eliminate the threat before it causes any damage but also cut down on the cost incurred by the employer.

   b)       An in-depth technical knowledge of the IT world and evolving technologies: Fundamental technical skills like programming, networking, and system administration skills are the building blocks of cyber security skills. People with expertise in technical skills have a better appetite for understanding risk and developing a thorough security network to safeguard the business. Deployment of specific technology based on the requirement needs an expert hand and logically thinking mind so that the technology at hand can be used at an optimal level.

 Also, the person needs to keep abreast with the evolving technology and latest Apps as the field of cyber security is not static but dynamic. DevSecOps –Application Development Security and Cloud Security i.e. developing a secure network with a cloud environment-are some of the areas where you have to keep inventing newer skills to match the ever-growing domain.

 Moreover, automation skills are much in demand today to reduce human efforts and create efficiencies in processes and enhance productivity for repetitive tasks thereby extracting more man-hour from an expert, boosting effectiveness.   

 All of the above with inherent skills of smelling danger and red-flagging it would make one an expert in the field of cyber security.

 c)        An expert in data management and analysis: The fodder for the security department of any business is data. All the information flows via the security chamber of the company inflows as well as outflows of information. Therefore, analyzing the data has evolved into a new genre of skills giving rise to jobs such as data scientist, data engineer and data manager. Processing the information to look for clues and push for effective planning for the security of the company in the new realm of cyber security is a job in demand.

 d)       A master of interpersonal skills with great business acumen: COVID has been a great learning experience for many in the cyber security domain. No one was prepared the way working transformed and quickly became the new norm. The companies that had experts who were good at adapting to the new work environment at a faster pace were way ahead of the race that followed and also the added pressure of attacks. Having business acumen to deal with any crisis goes a long way in understanding and providing solutions in terms of cost–effective, marketable solutions in cyber security. Understanding the business metrics is a part of this evolving job. What comes in handy at such times to put across your point of view to the other side of the table are good interpersonal skills. Demonstrating, your effectiveness in convincing about the protection strategy of the company would score very high in your career graph.

 As far as holding the certification is concerned, there are standard certifications like GSE, GSLC, CISSP, CSAP, and more depending upon your area of expertise that you can choose from.

Cyber security careers are one of the most sought-after careers for IT professionals that come with certain riders. If you are confident of your skills then there is no reason for you to not go for it.

The writer is Founder of Letter

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