7 Crucial Personal Skills
to Land Your Dream Job in Cybersecurity
Most people with an interest in information technology and cybersecurity understand the importance of tertiary education. It often helps you gain the necessary qualifications to land your preferred job while also making sure you know just what job prospects await once you graduate.
However, you may not realize that on top of specific cybersecurity skills and qualifications, you can also benefit from having personal skills like attention to detail, problem-solving, and communication.
If you want to make sure you’re well and truly ready for a long and prosperous career in cybersecurity, take the time to learn about the following essential skills.
A Desire to Learn
In almost all roles for cyber security experts, having a desire to learn can be one of the most valuable skills anyone can have. A thirst for knowledge and a passion for upskilling can be the difference between advancement and stagnation.
Cybersecurity threats are evolving at a rapid pace, along with sub-disciplines that require various operating systems, software, and programming languages. Not being aware of the latest threats, trends, and crucial industry changes can be dangerous for businesses that rely on you to keep their systems and networks safe.
The field of cybersecurity presents many daily challenges. When you’re not trying to fix software vulnerabilities and updating old hardware, you might be working out how to stop a cloud attack, minimize the impact of a ransomware attack, or prevent machine learning and AI attacks.
Every day is different, and you may find yourself in unchartered territory as hackers and businesses demand more from you. Therefore, problem-solving skills are some of the most crucial to have in a cybersecurity role.
You need to be able to keep a cool head under pressure, identify or highlight an issue, then come up with a solution or multiple solutions within a short period. Fortunately, even if your problem-solving skills aren’t fine-tuned after only just entering this exciting field, you will have plenty of opportunities to work on them.
Attention to Detail
One wrong setting, incorrect coding, or outdated software can be all it takes to see a business brought to its knees by a tenacious hacker. They can take any opportunity to break into a business’s network, then use the breach to hold the company to ransom.
Attention to detail is paramount in any cybersecurity role, whether you work for a large corporation, a government agency, or a small business. For example, penetration testers must be able to think like a real hacker to assess weak points, which means you need to think about every possible scenario as if it would happen.
If you’re a cybersecurity analyst, your job is to monitor and audit systems to stop hacks and breaches, and if you’re an IT auditor, ensuring compliance with IT standards and regulations is crucial. In any of these lines of work, not having attention to detail can be a costly mistake that can even cause a business’s demise.
Even though your job is to protect networks and systems from hackers, you still need to know how to hack. Having a firm understanding of how it’s done and how to do it yourself can mean you’re able to think like a hacker to stop them in their tracks.
However, in the IT business, you can be known as an ethical hacker. This means you can use your skills to determine how hackers breach infrastructure, so that you have solutions in hand to stop it from happening.
Watching IT professionals at work in movies can be a lot different from real life. In films, many of them work solo from the comfort of their home, solving complex algorithms and saving businesses from complete collapse with just moments to spare.
While cyber experts can still save businesses from complete collapse, they don’t always work alone. Most of the time, they are working with multiple other IT experts in various departments. Everyone has to be competent in communication so that you can explain what you’ve found, any problems you’ve identified, and what your solutions are.
You are also often required to translate your findings into user-friendly language and communicate it to multiple parties, from co-workers through to company shareholders.
A comprehensive study exploring IT complexity and resiliency revealed that 66% of businesses that didn’t pay a ransom would take at least five days or longer to recover from a ransomware attack.
There is generally no immediate fix for any type of network intrusion, hack, or problem. In fact, some complex cyber issues can take days, weeks, if not months, to fix. In that time, you can face an abundance of frustrating situations, such as working around the clock, having your solution not work, or having to iron out kinks that you didn’t anticipate.
Patience is undoubtedly a skill that every cyber expert should have. However, even if you don’t consider yourself the most patient person, your line of work may teach you how to become one before long.
What you learn in a cybersecurity training program is relevant at that moment, but it doesn’t mean it always will be. If you think back to what you learned in secondary school, you may be able to identify many things that were important and useful then and not now.
Being open to the prospect of change and being able to adapt can be how you flourish in a cybersecurity role. Essentially, you have to be open to the idea that you may spend months learning something that quickly becomes irrelevant or outdated in a matter of months.
The same rule applies to entire roles within IT and cybersecurity industries. Being adaptable means that you can transition from one position to another if a technology shift makes it necessary.
Whether you’re an IT auditor, cybersecurity engineer, analyst, specialist, or something else, more skills are necessary than just those that make you knowledgeable about your role. You also need to have patience, be adaptable, have a desire to learn, and know how to problem-solve. You may already have some of these skills, but you may also be able to learn some of them as you embark on a new and exciting career path.
About the Author
John Black is the Lead Content Marketer at Globex Outreach. He creates content strategies that help clients connect with their target audience and build strong relationships.