Over 800 cyber security jobs analysed: MOST desired skills revealed

Every year cyber attacks become more sophisticated and severe. So much so, that a recent study by Specops Software found that 54% of business owners from a range of sectors have experienced an increase in cyber threats this year.

To neutralise risk and protect key functions from being compromised by cyber attacks, more and more business leaders are realising the importance of cyber security positions (cyber security analyst, cyber security specialist etc.) within their organisations.

Interested in this, Specops Software analysed data from job search specialists GlassDoor and Indeed to discover who the highest paid cyber security specialists are in Europe and what the most desired technical skills/professional qualifications are for cyber security roles in the current job market.

Cyber Security Jobs: The Most Desired Professional Certifications

Specops Software found that ‘Information Systems 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 information security programs. 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.

In third place is ‘Information Systems Auditor (CISA – 14%)’, followed by ‘Ethical Hacker (CEH – 5%)’ in fourth place.

Notably, holders of the ‘Cloud Security Professional (CCSP – 4%)’ certification have the highest earning potential at an average annual salary of €66,316. On the other end, the ‘Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)’ is the cyber security qualification least in demand, appearing in a mere 1% (5/843) of cyber security job listings.

Cyber Security Jobs: The Most Desired Programming Languages

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.

Cyber Security Specialists: The Highest Paid in Europe

Specops Software found that cyber security specialists in Switzerland can get paid the highest in Europe at an astonishing average annual salary of €85,761.

In second position, cyber security professionals in Germany can receive a handsome average income of €65,012 per year.

In third position is Norway. Cyber security experts in the country could net an average of €59,139 a year for their insights and experience.

Ireland (€56,932), Belgium (€56,400) and Luxembourg (€55,572) are among the other countries where cyber security professionals can on average earn more than €50,000 per year - respectively ranking fourth, fifth and sixth.

Interestingly, the United Kingdom is in tenth place as cyber security specialists in the country can make an average yearly salary of €44,982. Notable €40,779 less than those working in Switzerland.

On the other end, cyber security personnel in Poland (€15,765), Turkey (€12,468) and Greece (€11,355) can expect to bank less than €16,000 a year and therefore, are the worst paid cyber security professionals in Europe.

Overall, in the current job market, a cyber security professional in Europe can generate an average annual salary of €39,372.

How beginners can build skills and experience for cyber security jobs:

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 +. Security +, in particular, is considered a great certification to obtain when wanting to explore the basics of cyber 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++).

October 28, 2020
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