Cyber Security has become a highly attractive field in recent years – and for good reason. With digital crimes reaching increasing annual highs (costing the Australian economy a rough $1 billion each year), our country alone is predicted to need at least 17,600 additional professionals in the sector by 2026.
And since demands are high, while available talent low (with Australia currently short of 2300 cyber security workers), the industry is ripe with employment opportunity, high salary potential, and job security.
As of 2016, the government has rolled out the Cyber Security Strategy, a plan aiming to address this skills shortage through varying themes of action – one being further encouragement to undertake cyber security studies. A wide array of higher and vocational courses in the sector are now available – including options to study online.
If you’re looking to kickstart your cyber security career through online training, we’ve outlined your requirements to succeed in this field of study.
Do you have a strong interest in computers?
A typical pre-requisite to succeeding in a cyber security course is a foundational interest in IT and computers. As a field concentrated on these technical areas, a natural passion and curiosity for these subjects are a must.
Other than security-focused skills and concepts, these courses commonly explore broader areas of IT – including networking, administration, management of operating systems (i.e. Linux, Windows, etc.) and basic IT infrastructure. Depending on the specific cyber security discipline you choose to pursue, you may have a specialised focus on one particular area of computer technology.
For example, those training to become network security specialists may concentrate their studies computer network systems and infrastructure; while those looking to specialise in cloud security will learn more about the architecture, frameworks, and service delivery models of cloud software.
Job Outlook statistics further rank “Computers and electronics” as the top knowledge area required to succeed in the field of ICT security.
Are you willing to continuously update your skills and knowledge?
An interest in the tech field isn’t enough, however. To pass your course with flying colours (and achieve a successful career in the field), one must demonstrate the diligence and willingness to continuously upgrade their bank of knowledge.
In the rapidly-evolving field of cyberspace, an alarming 350,000 new pieces of malware are detected each day. Research further shows that every minute, four companies fall victim to ransomware attacks. As most know – there unfortunately isn’t a be-all, end-all solution for these rising statistics. New methods, tools, and tactics of cybercrime are continuously formed, growing ever-more sophisticated in their attempts.
It is therefore critical maintain awareness of the latest standards, procedures, practices, and security methods – updating your skills as necessary. Simply absorbing the information provided in a course isn’t enough; to truly succeed in cyber security, one must have the drive to commit to continual learning. A strong interest in technology goes and hand-in-hand with this, making it all the more enjoyable (and rewarding) to continuously educate yourself.
Does your personality match the industry’s demands?
Like any industry, employers often seek a specific set of characteristics when hunting down a “successful” cyber security hire.
Before pursuing your online course, it can help to reflect on your unique personality traits and the security specialities they may be best suited for. Generally, the cyber security field favours the highly analytical, the agile, the impeccably organised, and those who have an eagle-eye for detail.
You must also make peace with the reality of your directives often going ignored in a professional setting. Your impressive bank of skills and knowledge may contribute to a far stronger security system for your future company; though you can’t escape careless employees, or those who simply want to circumvent protocols for convenience. One needs the right temperament to accept this inevitable issue.
Additionally, one must be able to work well under pressure. The security sector is an often tumultuous one, with the constant emergence of new threats and attack methods. As mentioned, criminal tactics are continuously improving and evolving – changing by the week, day, or even hour. As such, succeeding in a cyber security course (and eventually, career) requires you to be extremely perceptive, adaptive, and quick-thinking to rapidly – and effectively – respond to threats as they arise.
other common soft skills valued by companies are modesty, altruism, curiosity, scepticism, responsiveness, composure, and diligence.
Qualification requirements to enter an online cyber security course
Depending on your course’s qualification level, prerequisite study units or experience may be required.
Most entry-level courses, however, have no prerequisites for enrolment. The Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT), for example, offers a Certified Cyber Security Professional course for all beginner security specialists – no prior experience or qualifications necessary.
What you will need for all entry-level online security courses, however, is the necessary equipment. All online training (including AIICT’s) will require students to have a stable, reliable internet connection; and access to a laptop or desktop computer. Since these programs provide students with the flexibility and freedom to create their own study schedules – a strong self-driven and motivated attitude is also critical to succeed in this educational pathway.
Online cyber security students will typically communicate with trainers and one another through online messaging platforms and an exclusive online learning management system. Familiarity with social media can help in building your network of new industry connections – as well as collaborating with other students.
Choosing the right security course/career path for you
As mentioned, cyber security offers a wide variety of sub-disciplines which may influence your course choices. As such, the necessary interests and prior experience to succeed in specific security courses will vary.
To determine the right cyber security career for you, it can help to (once again) assess your unique personality traits. You may have all the general characteristics required for general security tasks – but are you more of a problem-solver, a teacher, or a learner? Perhaps you’re more of a “creative” type, constantly looking for ways to innovate and break the norm?
Understanding your strongest traits can help you map your personality to the best-fitting cyber security roles available. Creative types may opt for penetration testing, ethical hacking, or security engineering roles; those who enjoy teaching may pursue a security career in consulting; and problem-solvers may for more “incident-response” roles.
Once you’ve decided your path, you can then explore the appropriate security courses – and the necessary steps to take for success.
Your preparedness for a cyber security course ultimately depends on your personal goals, interests, and character. Programs are currently available at all levels of skill and experience; even if you’ve got none, all you need is the right drive and attitude to get started.
Ready to study cyber security?
Join the ever-growing, lucrative world of cyber security today with AIICT’s Certified Cyber Security Professional program. As mentioned, the course welcomes any and all individuals with an interest in the field of networking and IT – and aims to provide foundational training in penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, forensics, cryptography, and more. Graduates are qualified in three certifications under global IT leader CompTIA, as well as AIICT’s Certified Cyber Security Professional certification.
The course is delivered completely online, helping you tailor your studies according to personal needs and schedule.
Get your start in one of the world’s most exciting industries today, and get in touch to learn more.