Why do people think Cyber Security is a good career?

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username3079870
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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?
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GalGirl101
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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)_/¯
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username3079870
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(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.
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GalGirl101
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(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.
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8472
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Cyber is easy money and well defined on how to go far. Sans, Crest ect GCHQ have a big push in cyber as it's something we need as a country but it also brings cost down and because it's getting cyber people with security clearances- There is a lack of DV/SC cleared people.

I worked cyber. Did the whole SOC thing with day and and night shifts. No degree and was in a £40k role as a 20 year old. Just before leaving I was offered extra salary to keep me there. 5 years and i'd be contracting @ £800+ a day. Nope. Nope nopety nope. Few people in the field really know what they are on about and it's just buzzwords or a tick box exercise for most companies.
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mok2k11
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(Original post by 8472)
Cyber is easy money and well defined on how to go far. Sans, Crest ect GCHQ have a big push in cyber as it's something we need as a country but it also brings cost down and because it's getting cyber people with security clearances- There is a lack of DV/SC cleared people.

I worked cyber. Did the whole SOC thing with day and and night shifts. No degree and was in a £40k role as a 20 year old. Just before leaving I was offered extra salary to keep me there. 5 years and i'd be contracting @ £800+ a day. Nope. Nope nopety nope. Few people in the field really know what they are on about and it's just buzzwords or a tick box exercise for most companies.
So why did you leave? Because of what you said in your last sentence? Thanks.
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8472
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(Original post by mok2k11)
So why did you leave? Because of what you said in your last sentence? Thanks.
A whole mix of reasons. From what I said in the last sentence to actually social life, personal health and stuff such as opinions on privacy. Most of them are personal to me and not what everyone thinks

Is there something you need help with or thinking about a carer?
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Chefflee
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I am thinking of getting into the cyber career path . Any suggestions about education ? I do not have any IT background
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0le
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(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.
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oluch
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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?
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