With cyber crime on an endless incline, demand for cyber security skills has grown increasingly critical. Australians have reportedly spent an approximate of $5.6 billion on the sector in 2020 – a number expected to reach $7.6 billion by 2024. As we venture further into an ever-digital world, this growth is only set to reach exponential highs, boding plenty of career opportunities for those with the right industry skills and expertise.
Below, we explore the pros and cons of working in the expanding field of cyber security, and how a course with AIICT can help kickstart your skills.
The pros of working in cyber security
A primary benefit to working in cyber security is the vast amount of opportunities currently offered in the field. As an industry of high skills demand and growing skills gaps – aspiring professionals are bound to find a role or specialty suited their specific abilities and interests.
According to statistics by AustCyber, Australia’s cyber security workforce is currently a small one, though is forecasted to triple in revenue over the next few decades due to increasing demand for related products and services. As a result, the industry currently seeks an additional 17,000 security workers by 2026, carving out plenty of employment opportunity for those stepping foot in the field.
Additionally, individuals can choose from a wide range of cyber security specialisations – including security consultancy, security analysis, systems administration, and ethical hacking.
Earn a high salary
According to data by Talent.com, the average cyber security worker in Australia earns a median salary of $114,369 per year (or $58.65 an hour). Pay tends to increase as one grows in professional experience, with entry-level employees typically starting with a salary of $97,761 – and the highest-earners commonly receiving an average salary of $155,448.
Therefore, those with the right skills are not only likely to see vast employment opportunities, but also the potential for generous pay. As cyber crimes show no signs of slowing – with attack methods only growing more sophisticated in time – the IT security field is only set to expand in the coming years. This additionally provides workers with plenty of job security and an even greater range of specialities in the near future.
You can work from anywhere
With cyber security tasks typically taking place online, professionals have the flexibility of working on a remote basis. This highly benefits those with a preference for working at home or looking to balance work with other family, education, or personal commitments. Depending on their company, pursuing a career path in the field can grant them the freedom of telecommuting when they see fit.
Likewise, the industry offers plenty of opportunity to pursue freelance work or self-employment. After all, most cyber security roles simply require a working computer and a reliable internet connection; allowing one to offer their services from anywhere, at any time.
High job satisfaction
Those with a flair for problem-solving and critical thinking activities typically reap high levels of satisfaction from working in cyber security. As you’ll often be tasked with identifying, diagnosing, and pinpointing the source of IT issues, much of the field involves solving complex puzzles – an engaging challenge for anyone with the right skills and drive.
With the industry expecting further growth and innovation in the coming years, new technologies are bound to introduce new risks; posing new, intriguing problems for cyber security professionals to solve. It’s a constant learning experience, with new information emerging each day. This therefore leaves little room for boredom or monotony.
Additionally, working in cyber security grants you the opportunity to make a real impact in the broader business world. Recent statistics show that that cyber crimes cost small Australian businesses an average of $300 million AUD per year, making IT security a high-priority investment. Your skills contribute to improving the safety and protection of these companies and their consumers – keeping sensitive data free from dangerous, prying hands.
Wide range of training options
Finally, pursuing a career in cyber security is made ever-accessible through the growing range of training options now available. Much like the nature of the field, aspiring professionals can now complete their study online, granting them the flexibility of building their skills alongside other work or personal commitments. This rise in training and development opportunities form a core part of the nation’s initiative to close the widening industry skills gap.
The Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT), for example, is an online training provider that offers aspiring professionals with a “Certified Cyber Security Professional” program; an in-depth course that equips its students with certifications in CompTIA (a leading provider in vendor-neutral IT certifications). Individuals can learn the fundamentals of a cyber security career – and all through a highly flexible, online study platform.
The cons of working in cyber security
Though the industry offers plenty of career progression and opportunity, cyber security is (unfortunately) not a field for everyone. Below are a few things to keep in mind before pursuing a career in the sector.
There’s a high risk of burnout
While granting most workers the flexibility to work when and where they choose, high rates of burnout are common among cyber security professionals. This is especially so with the rapid spikes in cyber crime over the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey by ACS, 51% of security workers reported experiencing “extreme stress or burnout” in the past year, with many having to take a “stress leave” as a result.
Many also work on an on-call basis and are thus expected to address unexpected issues at any time, including evenings or weekends.
However, those with the right passion, drive, and grit to persevere through the sector’s many challenges will reap the grand rewards of one of IT’s highest average salaries; working in a fast-paced, innovative industry; and the opportunity to advance to higher-level roles and specialisations.
It requires a complex skillset
Make no mistake: a high-paying role in cyber security involves dedicated training and certification. Technical knowledge in the architecture, management, and administration of operating systems and networks are a must, along with general software development and analytics skills. Most professionals require certifications to stand out in the job market – as such qualifications also verify their skills as up-to-date and in line with industry standards.
As mentioned, there are fortunately plenty of training options now available (such as AIICT’s cyber security course) to get one started in the field; with various qualification levels suited to one’s current abilities.
Rapidly-changing trends and technologies
The endless learning curve of cyber security may be an exciting challenge for many – while a tiresome one for others. The industry requires its workers to constantly stay updated on the latest trends, developments, and skills demands of the sector; and is often quick to leave behind those who fail to keep up.
Workers must thus maintain a habit of keeping up with the newest industry challenges, improving their current skillset as necessary in order to stay competitive.
Less room for mistakes
As you’ll likely be dealing with sensitive data, the cyber security field generally requires a sharp attention to detail. An oversight in security measures can cost your business a great deal, leaving little room for accidents. This is especially so when working as a self-employed security worker, as mistakes will not only damage your client’s business, but your reputation on the market, as well.
Excellent communication and analytical skills are therefore highly critical to the industry, as they help you account for the finer details, examine issues from varying sides, and articulate complex insights in a clear, concise manner.
Some businesses lack the proper support or resources
Finally, some businesses may simply lack investment in the proper cyber security tools and resources. Managers failing to understand the importance of your work can have you constantly advocating for greater support on you and your team’s behalf.
On the upside, Australian companies are now increasingly encouraged to improve their cyber security initiatives, with government resources such as the Small Business Cyber Security Guide (by The Australian Cyber Security Centre) and the Cyber Security Assessment Tool aiding organisations in taking further steps in this area.
Looking to build your IT security skills?
As mentioned, AIICT currently offers online courses in cyber security – helping aspiring experts explore or further develop their skills in the field. Alongside the fundamentals of our Certified Cyber Security Professional course, we also provide an ICT50220 – Diploma of Information Technology (Cyber Security) for those looking to take their basic skills to the next level. Best of all, our online delivery allows you to study at a time, place, and pace that suits you best.
Enter a world of zero unemployment and rewarding opportunities – and enquire with us on a course today.