How transferable skills unlock new cyber security careers
Cyber security specialists Fortinet recently revealed the skills shortage is widening across Asia Pacific (APAC) markets. In addition, the research also revealed that 95% of decision-makers believe technology-focused certifications positively impact their role and team. This comes at a time when recent headlines suggest that Australia might not be able to fill Coalition’s 1,900 proposed cyber jobs.
As the cyber security unemployment rate continues to hover around 0% with an increasing number of unfilled job positions, it’s easy to see why so many people are seizing this opportunity to explore a new career in tech. One of the most exciting aspects of a career in cyber security is the 24-hour global requirement for work. So even if you’re based in Australia or New Zealand, you could still work as a cyber professional for a European firm throughout the night.
However, imposter syndrome often kicks in, and many talk themselves out of pursuing the career of their dreams because they don’t believe they can do it.
But the reality is that many people from non-technical backgrounds already possess many of the transferable skills that employers desperately need.
Why transferable skills will help you land a career in tech
Regardless of your current occupation, a variety of transferable skills hold the keys to your career progression as they will help you thrive in any job or industry in a corporate environment. We all naturally develop and enhance various soft skills without thinking about it. For example, the most in-demand abilities from every employer are communication, collaboration, adaptability, problem-solving, initiative, and leadership.
Did you know that 64% of UK and 79% of US tech leaders revealed that most candidates applying for positions lack the necessary soft skills to secure a role?
Technical abilities can be taught but finding people with suitable social and psychological characteristics is much more challenging. These are just a few examples of why your existing transferable skills are crucial when embarking on a career change into cyber security.
Employers are looking for a long list of transferable interpersonal skills to ensure candidates have the adaptability and flexibility required to slot into a team seamlessly. If you find the prospect of learning new technical skills overwhelming, maybe it’s time to give yourself a confidence boost by focussing on some of the transferable skills you already possess that have become critical in cyber security recruitment.
But what are the top transferable skills required for cyber security jobs?
A passion for problem-solving is one of the most obvious transferable skills for anyone wanting to work in cyber security. When challenged with finding creative ways to tackle security challenges across various technologies and environments, you will need to possess a desire to keep up to speed with emerging industry trends and think differently to find the unique solution to solve a problem.
However, if you look at your current non-technical role, you will probably have many experiences solving complex problems when working in your team or with multiple stakeholders. In most cases, you will naturally lean towards critical thinking and research to overcome any obstacle in your way.
Cyber security is no different, and this transferable skill will be invaluable to your new career in tech.
For your résumé and future job interviews, try to document something you’ve successfully solved in your current or previous role. How did you find a solution? And how did it benefit the business?
How you answer these questions will allow an employer to understand your talent for solving problems in any scenario.
Communication and Collaboration
Forget the media’s obsession with cyber attackers wearing hoodies in dark rooms staring at a screen of ones and zeroes scrolling across the screen. Instead, as a cyber security professional, you will communicate and collaborate with stakeholders across multiple departments daily. As a result, you will need to be comfortable adjusting your language to suit your audience and explain your findings and solutions while understanding the viewpoints of others too.
In a corporate world where not everyone will understand the value of cyber security, you will also need to have the ability to convince others why it’s so important to them. In addition, future employers will be looking for examples of how well you work with others across multiple departments within a business.
The problems you will face in your cyber security career might differ from your current role, but how you communicate and collaborate with others will be the same.
Logical reasoning, humility, and the ability to present complex concepts in layman’s terms will showcase your resiliency and ability to work with others when switching to a career in tech.
Organisation and planning
Anyone working in a corporate environment will know the mantra, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” How you manage your time and prioritise your tasks will determine your success in any role during your career.
Predictably, you can expect every job interview to feature questions asking for examples of how you approach your workload and deal with the stressful curve balls that come your way at the most inconvenient time.
It’s also important to remember that even the smallest of mistakes in cyber security could lead to a catastrophic data breach. Technical skills can be taught, and will take you so far. But attention to detail, organisation, and planning will help you continuously evaluate your work and prevent attacks. These three transferable skills are difficult to teach and are what will make you stand out from other candidates.
Motivation and enthusiasm
Ultimately, your motivation and enthusiasm will ensure that you play a crucial role in reducing the cyber security talent deficit. In addition, we help boost candidates’ confidence and help them see their current skills are marketable in tech. With these foundations already in place, teaching the technical skills needed to become job-ready and gaining international certification to validate the skills globally becomes much easier.
The technical skills shortage is expected to hit over 90% of Australian and New Zealand businesses. Changes to the working landscape as automation gathers pace also recently highlighted that 66% of employees would benefit financially from changing jobs due to lucrative six-figure salaries. So, it’s easy to see why so many people are beginning to take their transferable skills to the tech industry, where they are in short supply, and pursue a new career in cyber security.
Employers are looking for people who are both interested, passionate and have a curious mind about all things related to cyber security. If you like to understand how things work and are more comfortable thinking outside the box, you already have the critical elements of what every business is looking for. But where do you go from here?
Where do you go from here?
According to a report by the Australian Institute of Criminology, the cost of cyber-crime to Australian businesses is estimated to be around $1 billion a year. In addition, 85% of tech professionals believe the increasing cyber security talent shortage impacts daily operations. With cyber security unemployment rates dropping to zero percent and 3.5 million openings expected by 2025, the time to consider seizing opportunities is already here.
The average cyber security salary in Australia is $121,326 per year or $62.22 per hour.
With entry-level positions starting on a six-figure salary, it’s easy to see why switching careers is becoming increasingly attractive to people from all backgrounds.
There are many different career paths to take in cyber security. So before considering what certifications you need, it’s much better to learn where you want to take your new career and what interests you.
If your existing strengths are around planning and building, you might feel more at home in security engineering, architecture, or project management.
By contrast, you might prefer the excitement of incident response or ethical hacking to stay one step ahead of attackers. You could begin pivoting into cyber security as a junior analyst and work towards specialising in niche areas such as penetration testing, intrusion detection, digital forensics, ethical hacking, project management, or security architecture.
With so many options, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, which is why we strongly advise anyone interested in exploring a new career in cyber security to speak to our team of expert career consultants who will help you create and plan the path you need to take to realise your career goals.
If you have already gained these transferable skills in your current non-technical role, you already have most of what employers are looking for. All that remains is the need to invest your time in achieving an internationally recognised certification in everything from ethical hacking and PenTest+ to project management. Alternatively, you might choose to explore the vast range of courses from CompTIA and Cisco.
With so many unique paths, each person’s experience, goals, and aspirations will be completely different. These are just a few reasons we are passionate about working with people to identify their personalised flight plans to get them where they want to be.
Successful career changes require continuous support, which is why our StudentCare™ and Career Services teams are passionate about arming students of all ages with the self-belief to reach their goals.
So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with Learning People today and let us help you realise your potential.