Research suggests that cyber security is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with cyber crime costing UK businesses an average of 1.4m a year. As a result, safeguarding the security of the internet, wider telecommunications networks and computer systems has become big business and there is a rising demand for cyber security skills and expertise - with much opportunity for people to build a career in this emerging field.
Where do I start?
Within the cyber security sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.
Jobs roles in this sector include:
- Applications developer
- Database administrator
- Information security specialist
- Information systems manager
- Network engineer
- Risk manager
- Systems analyst
- Systems developer
As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews.
- National Cyber Security Centre - NCSC provides advice and support to help the UK public and private sector avoid cyber threats.
- Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - CPNI protects national security and provides up-to-date information on protective security and security measures and protocols.
- Inside Careers - Provides an insight into the rising demand for cyber security expertise in the UK.
- IAAC - The Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC) focuses on advancing Information Assurance (IA) and ensures the UK’s Information Society is robust and resilient.
- The Tech Partnership - A network of employers collaborating to create the skills for the digital economy.
- Inspired Careers - An interactive careers hub for people looking to enter the cyber security industry straight from education. The website also provides information on different roles within this sector.
- Cyber Security Jobsite - Cyber security news, trends and current affairs.
- Security Week - The latest news and headlines from Security Week.
- The Guardian - The latest updates on cybercrime and technology from The Guardian.
- Reuters - Thomson Reuters provides leading information for businesses and professionals.
- BCS Information Security Specialist Group - A sub-group of the British Computer Society and deals in all aspects of information security.
Undertaking work experience is invaluable in developing expertise and the all-important transferable skills to help you stand out to potential employers. Work experience can also help you to choose the right sector or occupational area to work in by gaining an insight into different areas of work.
However finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Purple Door website.
The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations. Finding Experience in the IT/Computing SectorPlease be aware that some of the opportunities overseas may well have a cost involved so it is important that details are checked carefully.
It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience; Purple Door offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Purple Door careers centre.
If you wish to instigate voluntary work experince during the vacation periods please refer to the 'External sites' on the Voluntary Work Experience section of our website.
Tips to build experience:
- Explore the various areas within the cyber security sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills.
- Get involved in relevant university or external groups this is a good way of demonstrating your motivation and interest in this area of work.
- Speak to your tutor or other members of faculty staff researching in the areas that interest you, as students are sometimes recruited to work on research projects over the summer.
- Be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.
- Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers - see our Networking and Social Media section for further guidance.
Finding a job
There are many different areas of work within the cyber security sector and work can be varied. Some areas you could get involved are: cryptography, security administration, security engineering, information assurance, network security and threat management, so some thought as to which area(s) you are particularly interested in will help you to target your job search.
The range of employers who recruit in these areas includes:
- National and local crime agencies
- Government and intelligence organisations
- Telecommunications companies
- Digital and forensic companies/organisations
- IT companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
- Banks and financial organisations
- The RAF, Army and Royal Navy
- Airlines, transport and logistic companies
Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search
- The National Crime Agency - Leads UK law enforcement’s fight against serious and organised crime.
- MI5 - The Security Service MI5 is responsible for protecting the UK against threats to national security.
- Secret Intelligence Service - The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), often known as MI6, collects Britain’s foreign intelligence to promote and defend the UK’s national security and economic well-being.
- GCHQ - UK Intelligence and Security Agency aiming to protect the country’s people, businesses and interests in the cyber age.
- Serious Fraud Office - An independent government department and its purpose is to protect society by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud, bribery and/or corruption.
- Qinetiq - A multinational defence technology company offering national and international job opportunities.
- PwC - The company has a ‘Forensic Technology Solutions’ section which specialises in the forensic capture and analysis of electronic data.
- IntaForensics - UK digital forensic company which provides data support and recovery to the legal sector, local authorities and commercial organisations.
- Portcullis - Provider of information security services and specialises in security testing, digital forensics, cyber defence and security consultancy services.
- Cisco - A company building high quality software and security products to protect businesses worldwide against complex threats, viruses and spam.
- Accenture - Company offering many analytic and technology related jobs.
Tips for finding a job
- Keep up to date with news and trends in the cyber security industry by following companies on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn, this information might help you identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market.
- Keep your on line job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
- If you are keen to focus on a specific area within cyber security, check out specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies.
- Most companies have a Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn account, register with them as this is often a place where new opportunities are posted, and where you can keep in touch with their current activities .
Need more help and information?
How can Purple Door help you?
Purple Door offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:
- Career options
- Further study
- CV and Covering Letters
- Application forms
- Job search
- And more......
Please visit services for you for more details about our support and services.
Purple Door has an online Jobs Board advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Recruitment Consultancy team that delivers a personalised matching job service.
Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or skype booked appointments, please contact us to discuss your needs.
If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.
- NDI UK - NDI is a leading supply chain sourcing and development service representing the interests of businesses in the defence, aerospace, space and security sectors.
- techUK - techUK is the trade association for the technology industry and has a cyber security/crime exchange group which focuses on “high threat” areas (including organised crime, intelligence, defence, national security and the protection of critical national infrastructure).
- Institute of Information Security Profrofessionals - IISP is an independent, non-profit body(governed by its members) with a focus on advancing the professionalism of information security practitioners.
- Cyber Security Associations - A list of cyber security associations & professional organisations.
- Networkers Technology - A technology recruitment consultancy with specialism in cyber security.
- Acumin - A cyber-security and information risk management recruitment specialist with a global reach.