When you’re pursuing a cyber security career, it’s important to understand the skills you will need to succeed on the job. We’re not just talking about hard skills, like technical knowledge of networks, firewalls, servers, etc. Some of the best skills for cyber security aren’t technical at all, and a lot of professionals forget to include them on resumes and in interviews.
Many employers are looking for professionals who have skills in addition to technical knowledge, such as communication, teamwork, and attention to detail. If you want to set yourself apart, pay close attention to some extra skills needed for cyber security that we list below to help you shine in your next interview or the cyber security job you already have.
Great Oral and Written Communication
As a cyber security expert, you will often be tasked with explaining threats and prevention measures to other technical-minded people and to non-technical professionals throughout your organization, including upper management. It’s important that you have good oral and written communication skills so that whether you are presenting a new corporate security policy, outlining the need for new technology and increased budgets, documenting a vulnerability, or many other daily tasks, you’re sure to help others understand your goal and the important role good security plays in protecting the organization and its assets.
You’ll find yourself working closely with clients, account managers, and other technical teams both within and outside an organization. That means you may need to become a trusted advisor across departments, offices, and locations. If you’re already bilingual, you’ll be able to step into this role where others can’t. Otherwise, you may need to develop your language skills to better communicate with others across backgrounds and disciplines and possibly within an international company.
Ability to Lead and Work with Teams
According to CompTIA’s International Technology Adoption and Workforce Trends study, “49 percent of business and IT executives rank teamwork as the top soft skill any IT professional should possess,” and this includes cyber security professionals. You will need to work and communicate with many different departments, from IT to executive management. Having a patient and open-minded attitude that makes others feel included will do a lot to help you get your job done when managing security projects across teams.
Detail-Oriented and Persistent Personality
You’ve heard the saying, “the devil is in the details,” and in cyber security, this is precisely the case. As a cyber security professional, constant vigilance is your best friend. Cyber attacks can be very difficult to detect, so attention to detail and the ability to notice even the most minor of changes is essential. The problems you’ll face in cyber security are ever-changing and often difficult, so persistence is also key.
The skills you need for a cyber security job include a natural curiosity that will lead to nonstop learning. The threat landscape changes almost daily. You’ll need to be a lifelong student, because today’s issues including advanced persistent threats, phishing and inside vulnerabilities, could look vastly different a few months or years from now. The nature of cyber attacks will evolve as we continue to shift away from traditional hardware and to Internet-enabled devices and the cloud. Employers are looking for proactive cyber security professionals who are connecting with other experts, keeping up with industry best practices, and constantly finding new ways to prevent tomorrow’s challenges.
Military veterans usually have experience learning new skills and concepts in stressful situations, which can make them strong candidates for cyber security jobs. Many veterans have been trained to use some of the most advanced technologies in the world. In addition, veterans have learned the importance of staying with a task until it is completed. And like active military duty, cyber security often has extreme consequences and little room for error.
If you want to nail your job interview , shine a light on more than your traditional cyber security and related skills of a technical nature. Stand out in some of the additional areas we outline above. Even though the industry has a shortage of skilled professionals, companies tend to be very selective when hiring – especially for cyber security leadership and management positions. Excelling in one or more of these 6 skills will set you apart and help you land your dream job.
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