How to Become a Cyber Security Specialist: Career Guide

In order to enjoy a successful career, you must be smart and careful when choosing a profession. It’s imperative that you look into several aspects of the job first. After that, you decide whether it’s going to be suitable for you or not. In this blog post, we explore how to become a cyber security specialist, cyber security specialist salary and what cyber security specialists do. Your career choice would depend on different factors, so we’ll help you opt for a career that you feel passionate about.


What is a cyber security specialist?

Cyber security jobs are in high demand. There is a massive demand for cyber security specialists in nearly all sectors. It’s no secret that organizations of all sizes are fighting cyber criminals. So, they need cyber security specialists to remain constantly one step ahead of ‘bad actors’. The specialists must build new defensive systems and protocols as well as report incidents. Giving permissions and rights to authorized users is also their job. The sectors that cyber security specialists may work for range from universities, banks to airlines, government.


Cyber security specialist job description

The cyber security specialists are usually responsible for discovering the best way to secure the internet technology infrastructure of an organisation. In other words, they safeguard information system assets by identifying and working on potential or actual security problems. The following sections illustrate key skills of cyber security specialists and other relevant information.


Key responsibilities include but not limited to:

  • Securing networks through firewalls, password protection and other systems;
  • Detecting vulnerabilities and risks in hardware and software;
  • Researching new and existing threat actors and associated tactics and techniques and their impact on the business;
  • Continuously monitoring for attacks and intrusions, and determining security violations;
  • Running counteractive protocols, and testing security strategies and defences;
  • Taking immediate action on privacy breaches and malware threats.


Main skills:

  • Strong IT knowledge including hardware, software and networks;
  • Ability to use logic to distinguish the strengths and weaknesses of IT systems;
  • An extensive understanding of how intruders work and ability to keep up with the fast pace of change in both the IT and cyber security world;
  • A broad understanding across key security domains including IT audit processes, security incident response
  • Ability to communicate effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience;
  • Ability to work effectively in a team;
  • Having a deep understanding of network safety protocols;
  • Understanding the important procedures to resolve problems and performing the proper protocols.


Are you excited to learn more about the skills you need in cyber security? Check our cyber security infographic on TOP Cyber Security Skills.

How to Become a Cyber Security Specialist: Career Guide


Daily tasks:

  • Protecting information from illegal access, duplication, modification, or destruction;
  • Hunting for malicious and anomalous activity across the organization;
  • Investigating security measures taken to protect information;
  • Performing vulnerability tests and reviewing potential weaknesses;
  • Granting access to authorized users, monitoring all access to the data;
  • Writing regular reports on systems status.


Main requirements:

  • Familiarity with security frameworks, such as the NIST Cybersecurity framework, and risk management methodologies;
  • Familiarity with public key infrastructure and cryptographic protocols;
  • Prior work experience in information security or a related field is preferred;
  • Familiarity with security information and event management technologies is preferred;
  • Experience communicating with multiple levels of stakeholders;
  • Having excellent communication and organization skills;
  • Experience and understanding of big data technologies and frameworks may be seen as an asset.


Cyber security specialist salary

Have you checked our recent blog post on Cyber Security Jobs Salary 2020? A cyber security specialist with 1-3 years of experience earns an average salary of CHF 84.000 in Switzerland. In the United States, the salary of cyber security specialists may vary between cities.

According to Indeed, the average salary is nearly $116.000 per year. As per ZipRecruiter, as of July of 2020, the average annual salary for a Cyber Security Specialist in the US is $111.000 a year (a little above $9.000 per month).


How to become a cyber security specialist?

In fact, cyber security specialist is acknowledged as an attractive job for entry-level IT and also security candidates. Here is the step-by-step approach by Swiss Cyber Forum on how to become a cyber security specialist.


1. Plan on getting a degree

If there was ever a perfect time to enter the cyber security field, it is now. Do you know that Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions globally by 2021? The job market is on fire. So, obtaining a degree in cyber security would bring you the job security in the long-run. The shortage of cyber security professionals in the private and public sector translates into many opportunities. For that reason, a cyber security degree will help you transform your professional trajectory.


2. Learn the hard skills

Having a foundation in Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems, making yourself familiar with NIST, PCI, HIPAA, and SOX compliance assessments, understanding security information and event management (SIEM) technologies can help you excel in your cybersecurity career. In addition to these, knowing the fundamentals of data loss prevention, anti-virus, and anti-malware will make you stand out from the most. After all, everything relies on the fundamentals, so don’t neglect the fundamentals, instead, perfect them.

How to become a cyber security specialist


3. Obtain relevant certifications

There are numerous certifications pertaining to cyber security to consider. Of course, it’s crucial to really understand which certification to choose before diving into it. We believe that obtaining relevant certifications make you more attractive to employers as they’ll see you as a committed and goal-oriented individual. Without any doubt, you are going to face many obstacles along the way and you must overcome these. If you’re dedicated enough towards obtaining a cyber security certificate, you’ll definitely make progress which will lead you to ultimate success.


Ready to obtain the skills that will set you apart?

Now you know how to become a cyber security specialist. Through our Cyber Security Specialist training with Swiss Federal Diploma, we offer the most intensive training course. This training will equip you with a thorough understanding of how to protect systems, applications, and data from misuse. The structure of our course is designed by globally recognized cybersecurity experts, with practice-oriented case studies as well as cyber incident challenges. Swiss Cyber Forum is here to support your learning journey. So, make sure to download brochure for more information. We strive to create value for society and we’re constantly growing. Join our community now!

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