cyber security

How to start your career in cyber security

National Careers Week 2024

National Careers Week 2024: How to start your career in cyber security 



With more and more of our lives being spent online, it’s no surprise that cyber security is one of the fastest-growing industries in the UK. Alarmingly, 32% of businesses claimed to have experienced cyber attacks in 2023. As it stands, demand is outstripping supply with more jobs unfilled than cyber security professionals available. 

As businesses continue to invest to protect their digital data and technologies, cyber security analysts have their pick of sectors and organisations to work in - from governmental, police forces, commercial, tech and financial. Cyber security apprenticeships put you on the front line of defence against cyber-attacks – leading to a stimulating and varied career.  

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, take a look at our guide below. You’ll find information on what qualifications you will need, routes into cybersecurity roles, and what you can expect from this career path 

Necessary skills  

Being such a young industry, there is no definitive path to becoming a cyber security expert. Many of the UK’s cyber security workforce are under 40 years old. Whilst specific job entry requirements will vary, some key skills will help your chances of getting a foot on the ladder: 

  • Strong IT skills 

  • Problem-solving skills 

  • Critical thinking 

  • Risk aware  

  • Experience with coding and software languages 

  • Remaining calm under pressure 

Accessing a career in cyber security  

Undergraduate degrees: Most junior roles will require some form of IT qualification. Computer science degrees and dedicated cyber security degrees are a great starting point.  

Whether it’s a dedicated degree or a more generalised IT-based qualification, cyber security also requires hands-on, practical experience with most companies looking for individuals who show genuine enthusiasm for the industry. This can be demonstrated through self-study and volunteering IT skills to help with online projects. 

More advanced roles will require experience or post-graduate training with a host of universities across the UK now offering Master's degrees in Cyber Security, Network and Information Security, and Digital Forensics. 

There are also plenty of roles within the cyber security sphere that would be considered non-technical. These are managerial and training positions that lean more on transferable skills that would be useful in easing communication with customers and individuals and maintaining an up-to-date understanding of current laws, standards, and practices to train others. 


The Apprenticeship Advantage 

Another option for kickstarting a career in cyber is with a cyber security apprenticeship. Unlike university degrees which usually consist of full-time education for 3 or 4 years, with an apprenticeship, you combine practical work experience with studying. The benefits of completing a cyber security apprenticeship include: 

Hands-On Experience: Cyber security apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity to gain practical, real-world experience while earning a wage. Rather than being confined to a classroom, apprentices work alongside seasoned professionals, getting involved in actual projects and scenarios. This hands-on exposure not only accelerates learning but also equips apprentices with the skills and confidence needed to thrive in the field. 

Structured Learning: Apprenticeships follow a structured training programme designed to cover a wide spectrum of cyber security concepts and technologies. From understanding network security protocols to mastering ethical hacking techniques, apprenticeships offer a comprehensive curriculum curated to meet industry standards and demands. 

Mentorship and Networking: One of the most invaluable aspects of apprenticeships is the mentorship provided by experienced professionals. Having a mentor to guide you through challenges, offer insights, and share best practices can significantly accelerate your growth trajectory. Additionally, apprenticeships foster a network of peers and professionals within the cyber security domain, opening doors to future career opportunities and collaborations. 

Earning While Learning: Unlike traditional educational pathways that often incur hefty tuition fees and student debt, apprenticeships offer an "earn while you learn" model. Apprentices receive a salary for their work, making cyber security accessible to individuals from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. 


What kind of job can I get with a Cyber Security Apprenticeship? 

Entry-level: Cyber Security Analyst 

A cyber security analyst is primarily responsible for protecting a company's network and systems from cyber-attacks. This involves researching upcoming IT trends, creating contingency plans, reviewing suspicious activities, reporting security breaches, and educating the rest of the company on security measures. 

Mid-level: Security Engineer 

As a security engineer, it's your job to keep a company's security systems up and running. This might involve implementing and testing new security features, planning computer and network upgrades, troubleshooting, and responding to security incidents. 

Upper-level: Security Architect 

A security architect creates and designs security for a system or service, maintains security documentation and develops architecture patterns and security approaches to new technologies. 

escalla has cyber security apprenticeship cohorts starting throughout 2024. Enquire today to register your interest.

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