The pros and cons of working in cyber security
In 2017 we added a technology and cyber security desk to our technical recruitment services. I head up the desk having previously worked as a technology recruiter at a different agency and gained extensive experience in this field.
In recent years recruiters like myself have seen many changes to the technology job market. One of those is the high demand for experienced cyber security professionals, a field that’s rapidly changing as threats evolve and organisations, big and small, require support protecting their critical systems and business operations.
It’s a great time to make a move into cyber security although there are pros and cons that you need to be aware of.
Here I explore some of the challenges and rewards you can expect from a career in cyber security.
Cyber security jobs – the rewards and the challenges
Pro – high demand for cyber security professionals
It’s a candidate’s market so there’s a surfeit of opportunities and employers offering highly competitive salaries and benefit packages.
Con – employers want skills, experience and qualifications
Employers are looking for highly skilled, qualified and experienced candidates. That makes it difficult for people entering the job market for the first time or looking to make a move from another area of information technology. As the cyber security landscape is ever evolving, candidates must also be able to demonstrate that their skills are up-to-date and they have excellent knowledge of new developments, threats and solutions.
Pro – on the job training can provide the experience required
Experienced engineers and technicians working in other IT fields can transition into cyber security by gaining the skills and experience required in their current company. Many employers are solving the skills gap in this field by providing opportunities for professional development and training for existing employees. Make yourself available and show a commitment to learning the cyber security skills needed by your employer. You can also self-study and gain certification in your own time.
Con – studying and learning is a job in itself
Getting the necessary skills requires investing time, and money, which doesn’t end when you secure your first cyber security role. Many security professionals spend significant amounts of time working in a home lab environment, testing new software, taking things apart forensically and general hacking. All to ensure they stay ahead of the curve and have the skills and knowledge needed to do their job effectively.
Pro – it’s a high profile role and exciting environment to work in
Security professionals often work with senior business leaders and are well respected in most organisations. There’s never a dull moment either as the field is constantly changing providing plenty of challenges and interesting work to get stuck into.
Cons – high burnout
The job can involve long hours, interrupted weekends and holidays (if the organisation’s systems are attacked) and therefore is often not a great work-life balance. It can also be a stressful and high pressure environment and that can lead to burnout.
Still interested in cyber security jobs? Get in touch if you would like to discuss your career progression or register with Energi People using our 30 second job seeker registration form.