Behind the job title: Joining the IT security and defence force
As the murky underworld of cybercrime and IT attacks grows darker and more dangerous, the call for IT security and defence heroes becomes louder and more pressing. Yet, in an industry that’s growing and paying, the number of candidates isn’t matching the volume of IT security and defence vacancies out there.
This week, we’re looking at why you’d want to join the IT defence force in the battle against cyber-crime, and the different places this interesting and varied career can take you.
Why join the IT security and defence industry
Cybersecurity is a pressing issue for businesses around the world. Technology and systems are becoming increasingly complex, while cyber criminals are becoming increasingly skilled, leading to a challenging situation for companies holding any kind of data. IT professionals tasked with protecting this data and preventing attacks are rewarded with a career full of:
This industry never stands still. As technology advances and criminals find new and different ways to attack businesses, so must your knowledge and skills. If you like being kept on your toes, challenged continuously, and responsible for staying ahead of the game, this is the ideal IT sector to enter.
IT defence positions exist in a wide range of industries and projects, allowing you to take your career in almost any direction you choose. You could be working for a financial institution in the big smoke or taking your IT career to Europe working with the latest tech startups.
It almost goes without saying that working in IT defence and security is an incredibly rewarding career path to take. Not only are your protecting businesses and safeguarding people’s data, but you could also literally be saving lives by taking your security career into the IT healthcare sector.
This is also a lucrative industry to enter. With a growing skills gap and lengthy vacancy list, companies are paying for and rewarding promising talent – IT security salaries are some of the best in all tech careers.
Career opportunities in IT security and defence
Working in IT defence and security isn’t just wearing a cape and putting out fires. There are a diverse range of roles in this industry, meaning that you can find a position to suit you, whatever your skills, interests and goals. For example, you could take your career in the direction of one of the following positions:
Security software developer
As a security software developer, you’ll be building the software and perfecting the integrations that protect systems and applications. This could involve running a team of developers, creating software tools, developing systems, or deploying support to customers. To be successful, you’ll need outstanding programming skills, problem-solving capabilities and the ability to work under pressure.
Security systems administrator
A security systems administrator is responsible for the daily operations of a company’s security systems and network. This includes monitoring systems, running backups, developing procedures and administrating user accounts. Importantly, you’ll have a deep understanding of firewall technologies and network protocols, alongside excellent communication skills.
Security architects create, build and deploy computer and network security for different organisations. You could be redesigning complex security frameworks or developing systems that prevent DDoS attacks - either way, you’ll be an avid problem solver and a big-picture thinker.
Information security analyst
If you see yourself as a front-line hero, then you should consider a career in information security analysis. These IT professionals work with firewalls and encryption to protect systems and then monitor for suspect activities. Aside from experience with firewall and intrusion detection protocols, you’ll also be curious about the latest security developments and tools.
Chief information security officer
A CISO manages a company’s overall IT defence department, often from an executive position. This includes bringing security onto the agenda of the board, implementing strategies, coordinating work and running teams. The high-level nature of this role necessitates strong skills in security architecture, alongside communication and management experience.
Forensic analysts work with law enforcement following a cyber-attack to investigate the attack, find vital clues, recover data and, if necessary, give evidence in court. Forensic analyst roles call for technical aptitude, attention to detail, analytical skills and the ability to work with challenging material.
This might sound like a role only in the movies, but ethical hackers are used by organisations across the country. Employed to attack a business’ IT security, you’ll be using the same techniques as criminals to expose flaws and then implement solutions - making up-to-date knowledge crucial.
Not all IT defence and security work is full time, permanent employment. If you’re interested in flexible working arrangements, then IT security contracting could be the position for you. You’ll be working with different businesses to help them protect their systems and data, using your broad knowledge of IT security to evaluate risks, solve problems and develop solutions.