Cyber security

Cyber security needs your transferable skills

You solve problems every day. Why not channel your determination, critical thinking, and creativity into a field where they’ll be valued? Tech employers know that transferable skills like yours, from the frontline of retail, hospitality, or just life in general, are exactly what they need to excel in cyber security.

Cyber security laptop and code image

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are those abilities you’ve learned in one job or area of life that you can take across to use in another. And sometimes, that transfer can be to a surprisingly different environment. In a world predicted to lose $9.5 trillion to cyber security attacks this year alone, transferable skills such as attention to detail and communication are just as sought after as hands-on experience in IT.

Even people who’ve already made a career in other tech specialisms aren’t always suited to cyber security work. That’s because there’s no guarantee they’ve got those “soft” but essential skills that you may already have.


Which transferable skills are needed in cyber security?

Our top 15 transferable skills for a switch to cyber security fit under five themes, as follows:

1. Patience
2. Determination
3. Flexibility

4. Attention to detail
5. Analytics
6. Imagination

7. Love of learning
8. Creativity
9. Ethics

Personal and task management
10. Time management
11. Conscientiousness
12. Trustworthiness

13. Diplomacy
14. Listening
15. Verbal and written communication

You’ll notice that a lot of the skills needed in cyber security depend on a certain mindset and approach to life. These are arguably more difficult to teach someone than technical terms and techniques are, so recruiters are on the lookout for candidates who already have them. They’re already on their journey to success.

Which skills do I have that I could transfer?

Reflect on the challenges you've encountered in your professional life. It could have been a moment when the sales software didn't provide the options you needed, a customer made a request that was completely new to you, or a time when a colleague was in distress and turned to you for support.

In these moments, your approach likely involved a combination of attentive listening, methodical testing, and leveraging insights gained from previous experiences. You kept colleagues informed of your progress, demonstrating perseverance and determination until a resolution was reached. After addressing the immediate issue, you didn't stop there. You delved deeper to understand the root cause, implemented measures to prevent future instances, and shared your learnings with your team. This proactive approach not only demonstrates your problem-solving skills but also highlights your commitment to continuous improvement.

If you see aspects of your own professional conduct reflected in this scenario, you possess a set of highly valuable and transferable skills—skills that are particularly relevant and sought after in cyber security.
Take some time to reflect on the diverse tasks and responsibilities you handle in your current role. Analyse them to identify the transferable skills where you excel. 

How do I transfer my skills to cyber security?

The good news is that there are an estimated 3.5 million cyber security vacancies worldwide, and the opportunities are growing. For example, more than half of the 1,000-plus organisations surveyed by Hays for their “Global Cyber Security Report 2024” had expanded their teams the previous year, with respondents in Australia leading the way at 65% increasing numbers.

Here’s how to make the transfer and benefit from that growth yourself:
1. Research and identify which kind of roles within cyber security you’re most attracted to – they’re not all the same.
2. Compare job descriptions and person specifications for those roles against your list of existing transferable skills.
3. Identify any gaps in your skills that you could fill while you’re in your current role.
4. Create your upskilling plan.

Of course, you’ll also see mention of a range of tech-specific qualifications and skills that you don’t have.
If your transferable skills are strong enough, some employers will be willing to train and mentor you in the non-transferable ones. They see this as a worthwhile investment in the battle against hackers, and a way to engage and retain their staff for longer.

Matthew Cotton, Head of Cyber Security Solutions at Hays ANZ, says: "Businesses need to consider alternative ways to build their human capital capability in cyber. Utilising and upskilling from different areas of technology, and even outside ICT, should be part of the focus for many."

You can get ahead of the game by gaining the required knowledge and certification at your own pace, through one of our cyber security courses.

Am I ready to transfer?

You might be feeling excited about breaking out of your current employment and starting afresh in a new and rewarding career. 
The benefits will be real once you’ve made the switch. But change of any kind can be daunting. So, it’s important to be ready for the emotional challenges as well as any practical skills gaps.

Connect with our expert Career Consultants to discuss our comprehensive training and career support. With us, you can step into your career journey with confidence.

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