Specops Software analysed 843 cyber security job listings on Indeed to identify the most desired skills for cyber security roles in the current job market. Specops Software found that having a technical aptitude and mindset is the most coveted skill for cyber security roles with an astonishing 99% of job listings (831/843) looking for this necessary skill. In second position, employers appreciate a cyber security applicant who can take responsibility for their actions, decisions and work with 663 out of 843 listings searching for a candidate that fits the bill (79%). Good written communication (51%) is in third place as 427 of the listed positions analysed, value this is an employee.

Specops Software found that Python (12%) is the most in-demand programming language for cyber security roles. C++ (9%) and C (6%) respectively rank second and third. Contrastingly, PHP (3%), JavaScript (3%), Ruby (3%) and Java (3%) are the programming languages employers are less interested in for cyber security roles. Specops Software found that ‘Information System Security Professional (CISSP)’ is the most desired professional certification for cyber security positions with 33% of listings looking for this credential (279/843).

Being CISSP certified is a strong indication that an individual can engineer and run an information security program. Job listings which request the qualification pay handsomely for such capabilities, at an average annual salary of €64,852.‘Information Security Manager (CISM – 21%)’ is the next most wanted cyber security professional certification in second place with 174 out of 843 jobs analysed listing it as a key qualification, and those employers who request it pay an average annual salary of €65,972.

How beginners can build skills

1) DIY Testing Site
Set-up two or more computers, connected by a router, at home and perform security tests on your own hardware, software, firewall, and server. This will allow you to find weak spots in your own network and come up with solutions to secure them. Be sure to record and document your work to show potential employers how you came up with your own cyber security strategies.

2) Beginner-Level Certifications
If you are keen to learn the fundamentals of cyber security, you might want to consider beginner-level certifications, such as Network+, Certified Ethical Hacker, and Security +.

3) Network
Build a rapport with influential individuals and companies within the cyber security industry via social networking platforms, like LinkedIn. Many “influencers” appreciate the time taken to reach out to them and most are happy to provide advice and guidance. To get your foot firmly in the door, it might be worthwhile joining professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec). By doing this, you might find yourself landing a job, internship, or voluntary role to gain some hands-on experience.

4) Utilise Online Learning Resources
With an array of online courses available at the touch of a few buttons to complete when and wherever you want, get studying! There is so much you can focus on. Try mastering networking console commands such as Cisco IOS and NX-OS. Additionally, gain vast knowledge on essential operating systems (e.g. Linux, Android etc.) and scripting languages (e.g. Python, C++).