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Why do people think Cyber Security is a good career?

So over on the CS & IT degree forum there seems to be a lot of people applying for new(ish) degrees in things like Cyber Security.

I'm a mature student who recently finished their second masters, and I've worked in tech for over a decade, and the latter half of which has been in the Cyber Security area (security engineer, pen testing, then consulting).

I see a lot of A-level students expressing an interest in Cyber Security careers but I'm curious as to why? I know there are figures from Cisco et al kicking around screaming about the shortages in security roles we face, but there are also big shortages of software engineers and cloud engineers and data engineers/scientists.

So here's a few things about working in Cyber Security for anyone interested:

1) Most Cyber Security jobs are boring: Think you'll be hacking in to some Russian Satellite? Sorry kids, not happening. You won't be hacking anything most of the time, and if you are a pen tester, you'll be hacking what you are told and nothing more (if even that).

Chances are what you'll be doing on a day-to-day is checking packets, making sure you have the right rules on your firewalls, and spending hours upon hours reading log files (which often look like gibberish), or installing patches. Or maybe you might be in a fun cyber security job, and you get to do security code reviews on 10,000 lines of C code that has limited options for automated security testing... bored yet? You will be.

2) Businesses don't like paying for Cyber Security: For most companies, (including tech companies!), Cyber Security is like Health and Safety Officers: they have to have some in place, but the companies know that the H&S officers are an expense. They aren't going to bring in any money. So while everyone agrees we need more Cyber Security, not so many people are happy to pay for it... I have seen it in more than one organisation. People don't want to pay for security, which is why we normally read about things like WannaCry on the news.

3) Cyber Security might not be the most lifestyle friendly career: Depending on your role, Cyber Security can require you to be 24/7 on call, or require you to work at unsociable hours or times of the week. While any decent company will compensate you for this, it's something not most people are aware of when they think about Cyber Security careers.

Having said that, there are certain times when it's a cool career. You can come across some pretty interesting problems now and then, and there is definitely a lot of work out there, so job security isn't much of a worry at the moment.

The best jobs in tech are still, IME, software engineering/programming posts. The reason being is that software can make companies money (e.g. by building an app then selling it, or by automating processes that previously required many human employees to work). Manufacturing Hardware & Software is incredibly lucrative. Those are the best paid jobs in tech normally. Some companies want their products to be as secure as possible, but trust me, when there is a deadline or a performance issue or a cost issue in producing hardware or software, the first thing to always go is security.

That's my opinion (that nobody asked for lol)! So why are people so interested in Cyber Security careers?
Who doesn't want to learn how to hack? lol. But for real, the reason why some people chose Cyber Security at my school was that some ex-student came in and told everyone how he's earning 80k or something per year by being working in Cyber Security. I have no idea how accurate that figure is so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Original post by GalGirl101
Who doesn't want to learn how to hack? lol. But for real, the reason why some people chose Cyber Security at my school was that some ex-student came in and told everyone how he's earning 80k or something per year by being working in Cyber Security. I have no idea how accurate that figure is so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I think that is the biggest misnomer about doing a Cyber Security courses. You don't really learn any offensive hacking tools or skills. You simply learn what the threats are. Many courses are endorsed by GCHQ, and the last thing they want is a bunch of hackers running around. So many uni courses shy away from this.

As for the 80k thing, that's entirely, entirely possible. It's not uncommon for security architects (or indeed cloud/system or software architects) to be on that money, especially in London. It's also normal enough for self employed pen testers or security contractors to be on 80k or more. There's definitely money to be made there.
Original post by jestersnow
I think that is the biggest misnomer about doing a Cyber Security courses. You don't really learn any offensive hacking tools or skills. You simply learn what the threats are. Many courses are endorsed by GCHQ, and the last thing they want is a bunch of hackers running around. So many uni courses shy away from this.

As for the 80k thing, that's entirely, entirely possible. It's not uncommon for security architects (or indeed cloud/system or software architects) to be on that money, especially in London. It's also normal enough for self employed pen testers or security contractors to be on 80k or more. There's definitely money to be made there.


I do agree with you. Bear in mind, Computer Science isn't what I applied for so I can't say I've done my research but you are in the field so I'll take your word for it. I mean a lot of them already know simple hacking, how to install viruses etc etc they probably just wanna beef up their skills/do it on a grander scale?

He does work in London (Canary Wharf to be exact) so it's probably right like you said. But a lot of people apply for the reason I've said above. And the chance to earn lots of money.

And others might take it and then branch into programming later on? Probably a way to cover their bases.
Reply 4
I am thinking of getting into the cyber career path . Any suggestions about education ? I do not have any IT background
Reply 5
Original post by Chefflee
I am thinking of getting into the cyber career path . Any suggestions about education ? I do not have any IT background

Try and get a degree in Computer science or IT. Pick modules related to encryption/algorithms or software deployment etc.

Set up a website or a github profile and start doing miniprojects to showcase your programming ability.
Reply 6
Sounds interesting.... I’ve done a bit of Software Development & largely IT Support and I’m looking to make a permanent switch into Security( SOC Ops) to be specific.

What area of learning would you recommend I focus on?

Also, how feasible is getting a clearance for an International student?
Original post by username3079870
So over on the CS & IT degree forum there seems to be a lot of people applying for new(ish) degrees in things like Cyber Security.

I'm a mature student who recently finished their second masters, and I've worked in tech for over a decade, and the latter half of which has been in the Cyber Security area (security engineer, pen testing, then consulting).

I see a lot of A-level students expressing an interest in Cyber Security careers but I'm curious as to why? I know there are figures from Cisco et al kicking around screaming about the shortages in security roles we face, but there are also big shortages of software engineers and cloud engineers and data engineers/scientists.

So here's a few things about working in Cyber Security for anyone interested:

1) Most Cyber Security jobs are boring: Think you'll be hacking in to some Russian Satellite? Sorry kids, not happening. You won't be hacking anything most of the time, and if you are a pen tester, you'll be hacking what you are told and nothing more (if even that).

Chances are what you'll be doing on a day-to-day is checking packets, making sure you have the right rules on your firewalls, and spending hours upon hours reading log files (which often look like gibberish), or installing patches. Or maybe you might be in a fun cyber security job, and you get to do security code reviews on 10,000 lines of C code that has limited options for automated security testing... bored yet? You will be.

2) Businesses don't like paying for Cyber Security: For most companies, (including tech companies!), Cyber Security is like Health and Safety Officers: they have to have some in place, but the companies know that the H&S officers are an expense. They aren't going to bring in any money. So while everyone agrees we need more Cyber Security, not so many people are happy to pay for it... I have seen it in more than one organisation. People don't want to pay for security, which is why we normally read about things like WannaCry on the news.

3) Cyber Security might not be the most lifestyle friendly career: Depending on your role, Cyber Security can require you to be 24/7 on call, or require you to work at unsociable hours or times of the week. While any decent company will compensate you for this, it's something not most people are aware of when they think about Cyber Security careers.

Having said that, there are certain times when it's a cool career. You can come across some pretty interesting problems now and then, and there is definitely a lot of work out there, so job security isn't much of a worry at the moment.

The best jobs in tech are still, IME, software engineering/programming posts. The reason being is that software can make companies money (e.g. by building an app then selling it, or by automating processes that previously required many human employees to work). Manufacturing Hardware & Software is incredibly lucrative. Those are the best paid jobs in tech normally. Some companies want their products to be as secure as possible, but trust me, when there is a deadline or a performance issue or a cost issue in producing hardware or software, the first thing to always go is security.

That's my opinion (that nobody asked for lol)! So why are people so interested in Cyber Security careers?


Cybersecurity has a 0% unemployment rate. You will always have room to grow and upskill yourself. You will continuously be challenging yourself. You will continually be learning new skills and working to understand new technologies. It offers above average pay rate, growth opportunities, high in-demand job openings. It is rewarding and satisfying knowing that you making the technological world a safer place.
Original post by stuart11
Cybersecurity has a 0% unemployment rate. You will always have room to grow and upskill yourself. You will continuously be challenging yourself. You will continually be learning new skills and working to understand new technologies. It offers above average pay rate, growth opportunities, high in-demand job openings. It is rewarding and satisfying knowing that you making the technological world a safer place.

Could you possibly tell me about the workplace satisfaction of a cybersecurity job? It's definitely a target career of mine but the OP from 4 years ago seems to advise against it (but again things have changed).

Also, is the tech stack needed for cybersecurity exhaustive? Because I'd definitely like to apply a lot of different level languages to the job plus it just seems like such a dynamic career path. I don't think you could ever get bored of it.
I came across this interesting forum discussion on the importance of a cybersecurity degree. Aspirants voice out their opinions. Some aspirants are convinced that this is a high-paying professional field that gives one a thorough knowledge of digital threats.
Reply 10
Original post by username3079870
So over on the CS & IT degree forum there seems to be a lot of people applying for new(ish) degrees in things like Cyber Security.

I'm a mature student who recently finished their second masters, and I've worked in tech for over a decade, and the latter half of which has been in the Cyber Security area (security engineer, pen testing, then consulting).

I see a lot of A-level students expressing an interest in Cyber Security careers but I'm curious as to why? I know there are figures from Cisco et al kicking around screaming about the shortages in security roles we face, but there are also big shortages of software engineers and cloud engineers and data engineers/scientists.

So here's a few things about working in Cyber Security for anyone interested:

1) Most Cyber Security jobs are boring: Think you'll be hacking in to some Russian Satellite? Sorry kids, not happening. You won't be hacking anything most of the time, and if you are a pen tester, you'll be hacking what you are told and nothing more (if even that).

Chances are what you'll be doing on a day-to-day is checking packets, making sure you have the right rules on your firewalls, and spending hours upon hours reading log files (which often look like gibberish), or installing patches. Or maybe you might be in a fun cyber security job, and you get to do security code reviews on 10,000 lines of C code that has limited options for automated security testing... bored yet? You will be.

2) Businesses don't like paying for Cyber Security: For most companies, (including tech companies!), Cyber Security is like Health and Safety Officers: they have to have some in place, but the companies know that the H&S officers are an expense. They aren't going to bring in any money. So while everyone agrees we need more Cyber Security, not so many people are happy to pay for it... I have seen it in more than one organisation. People don't want to pay for security, which is why we normally read about things like WannaCry on the news.

3) Cyber Security might not be the most lifestyle friendly career: Depending on your role, Cyber Security can require you to be 24/7 on call, or require you to work at unsociable hours or times of the week. While any decent company will compensate you for this, it's something not most people are aware of when they think about Cyber Security careers.

Having said that, there are certain times when it's a cool career. You can come across some pretty interesting problems now and then, and there is definitely a lot of work out there, so job security isn't much of a worry at the moment.

The best jobs in tech are still, IME, software engineering/programming posts. The reason being is that software can make companies money (e.g. by building an app then selling it, or by automating processes that previously required many human employees to work). Manufacturing Hardware & Software is incredibly lucrative. Those are the best paid jobs in tech normally. Some companies want their products to be as secure as possible, but trust me, when there is a deadline or a performance issue or a cost issue in producing hardware or software, the first thing to always go is security.

That's my opinion (that nobody asked for lol)! So why are people so interested in Cyber Security careers?

What does IME mean?
Thanks
The main reason a lot of people are going into cyber security is because most jobs are being replaced by technology, cyber security isn't something you can replace with that technology, as that technology also needs to be secured by cyber security professionals. So in theory, going into cyber security, you will never not be able to find a job. More and more companies are being attacked as we start to depend on tech more so business are actually willing to pay more to keep their sensitive data protected. Not to mention, the obvious reason of everyone using social media, mobile phones, even self driving cars, these are all things that need an infosec team to protect from attackers.
Original post by salosalo
Could you possibly tell me about the workplace satisfaction of a cybersecurity job? It's definitely a target career of mine but the OP from 4 years ago seems to advise against it (but again things have changed).

Also, is the tech stack needed for cybersecurity exhaustive? Because I'd definitely like to apply a lot of different level languages to the job plus it just seems like such a dynamic career path. I don't think you could ever get bored of it.


You actually don't really need to know how to code to get a cyber security job, although it is handy to have. There are so many paths to go down in cyber security, I think a lot of people tend to dabble a little bit in lots of things within cyber security. Most people start off as a security analyst and work their way from there. I just got a job as a security analyst, and I am learning A LOT lol I'm someone who really enjoys learning new things so I think if you are like that too, the job would be great for you. One thing I've done as a security analyst is create a bunch of phishing emails and sent it out to the company to track who clicks on it who doesn't and who reports it which I have found quite fun as I get to see the names of the people who actually clicked the link :h: We then send them to a course to complete on phishing so they don't do it again. My company uses a third party to do their penetration tests, but some companies actually have you do their penetration tests which I can see being super fun! There's so many different interesting things you get to do in a cyber security job, you never really get bored!
A thing that many I've spoken to like about Cyber Security is all the different pathways too, but there's loads of leeway, so you can switch around quite easily - e.g. start as a red teamer, go to SOC analyst, etc. There's also loads of room to develop (and earn) outside of your job, for example I saw someone the other day that earnt 1 million US dollars just from completing bug bounties. I mean, if you had the skills and found a bounty worth 30K that's gotta be pretty nice haha
Original post by stuart11
Cybersecurity has a 0% unemployment rate. You will always have room to grow and upskill yourself. You will continuously be challenging yourself. You will continually be learning new skills and working to understand new technologies. It offers above average pay rate, growth opportunities, high in-demand job openings. It is rewarding and satisfying knowing that you making the technological world a safer place. You can try your skills on Standoff365, by the way, to see how good your skills are :smile:

Yeap, 0% unemployment rate is a huge and unique feature no other profession can boast to have!
(edited 1 year ago)

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