The cyber sector needs you! With over 30, 000 new cyber professionals needed by the end of 2026 (CyberCX, Australian Financial Review, September 2022) now is the perfect time to make a career change to cyber.
People from all backgrounds who demonstrate good planning, communication and strategic thinking can contribute significantly to cyber security roles. Whether you’re a lawyer, teacher, nurse, veteran, or other working professional, you might already have the skills and experience needed to thrive in a cyber career.
If you’re considering a cyber career change, this article will introduce the skills needed and the training opportunities available to help you launch your cyber career transition.
Types of careers
If you’re considering a career transition to cyber, don’t be put off by the seemingly complex job titles. With many different career pathways, from technical to governance, there is sure to be a cyber career which is right for you.
Maybe you want to get involved with investigating, analysing, and responding to cyber-attacks as an Incident Responder. Perhaps you would like to guide businesses to understand their cyber risk and apply appropriate controls and mitigations. You could be part of the engineering and administration team, building and enforcing cyber security within IT environments or a technical auditor, identifying vulnerabilities as a penetration tester.
Whatever path you choose to take in cyber, it is essential that you do your research and pick a job role that suits your strengths and aptitudes to provide a solid foundation for an engaging and rewarding career. This homework can also help you to identify what education and training requirements will be needed for you to launch your new career.
Although you may require further training to pursue your dream cyber career, you might already possess the necessary skills and aptitude from your previous work experience to get started. Reflecting on your current skills and experience is invaluable in your career transition, and being able to articulate this is vital in interviews.
Canberra cyber employers value many transferrable skills, but those such as communication, problem solving, critical thinking, an eye for detail, teamwork, curiosity, resilience, project management and a desire to learn are some of the key skills cyber employers look for in potential candidates. Identifying where you’ve exhibited these skills in your current role and articulating them on your resume will help you prepare for your transition to cyber.
Cyber employers are also looking at your interests, commitment and how you articulate your strengths and experience transitioning to a new role. Working collaboratively and a dedication to protecting information and systems including critical national infrastructure, is highly prized in this close-knit community. Advice from many Canberra businesses is that they look for candidates who have a shared sense of mission, purpose, and values and can demonstrate that they have a genuine interest and passion for cyber security. Many organisations will hire for a cultural fit, stating they can ‘teach cyber’ but they cannot teach a cultural fit.
Once you’ve identified the skills you require for your desired cyber career, it is important to identify the knowledge gaps you have, and the training you might require. This can be done by searching for pre-requisites on job listings, researching the job online, seeking a mentor in your desired cyber field or attending networking opportunities.
There are many different training options available to upskill for a cyber career. The Canberra Cyber Hub (CCH) website provides a listing of the various cyber education and training courses available in Canberra https://canberracyberhub.com.au/courses . These education offerings range from short courses and micro credentials to undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications.
For those with a previous undergraduate degree, you might like to pursue a Master of Cyber Security, or a Graduate Certificate in Cyber security. These can provide a baseline understanding of cyber security as well as the technical skills desired by employers.
TAFE also provides certificates III and IV in cyber security which can provide an excellent starting point for those without previous qualifications or those who would like a more hands-on, practical approach for developing cyber skills.
Many employers will look to see if you can demonstrate interest in the cyber field. For technical roles such as penetration testing, they may value participation in cyber skills development challenges such as Capture the Flag events (CTFs) and online learning and simulation platforms. For administration and engineering roles, the ability to show the creation of projects and IT environments in your specific area of focus can be viewed very favourably. Activities such as these can help boost your resume to the top of the pile - so make sure you add any of these extra-curricular activities to your resume.
As you complete each cyber training course or certificate, it is important to update your resume and / or online profile, such as LinkedIn, to reflect your newly acquired skills. You should highlight your key cyber skills in the ‘skills section’ as this is often used by recruiters and employers to identify possible candidates for specific roles. You can easily set your LinkedIn profile to ‘open for work’, which allows recruiters to see your profile as a possible candidate but keeps it hidden from your current network.
When it comes to your resume, potential employers may see hundreds of applicants for a particular role. This means you will need to make an impression on your first page to entice the reader to read the second. Have your desirable skills and attributes clearly articulated up front and use the rest of your resume to go into further detail as required.
As you’re taking proactive steps to identify your skills and training for a transition to cyber, it’s important to also network. Set monthly targets for meeting with people in the cyber industry, and regardless of each outcome, keep reaching out and expanding your community – you never know, you might end up paying for your next job opportunity in coffee.
The Canberra Cyber Hub (CCH) also holds regular networking events which are attended by Canberra cyber employers. Attendance at these events is free and all are welcome to participate. The registration link for these events and other CCH events are promoted in the CCH e-newsletter.
If you haven’t already registered to attend the CCH December networking event, you can do so via the following link Canberra Cyber Hub End-of-Year Networking Event
Taking a proactive mindset is going to make your transition to a cyber career much stronger.
By considering your current skills, aptitudes and getting a head start of technical training, you could be one of the 30,000 new faces of cyber security.