Career paths and opportunities

A career in cyber security can take you anywhere!

Cyber security is one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide. US$131 billion was spent on the industry in 2017, and this is expected to increase to almost US$250 billion by 2026. More cyber security professionals are needed to meet demand from both the government and private sectors in Australia and abroad.

Roles in cyber security are diverse and rewarding. They span technical, policy, risk management, marketing, engagement and more. A technical (IT) background is not a pre-requisite for a career in cyber security.

Some of the qualities that employers look for in cyber security workers include:

  • A continuous learner: The cyber security landscape is evolving continuously and rapidly, so employers need people who can do the same – people with natural curiosity and who enjoy learning throughout their lives.
  • Persistent: In the cyber security sector, the problems people face are ever-changing and complex, so persistence and an ability to problem solve are key.
  • Perceptive: A good cyber security professional needs to see problems from all sides. They need to be in the mindset of the employer, thinking of what they want to protect. They also have to see things through the lens of an external threat and perceive weaknesses or places to attack. The ability to think like a 'bad guy' enables security professionals to anticipate what hackers might try and to identify weak points in system defences. Being perceptive will make it easier to build a strategy to defend against external threats.
  • Inquisitive: People who work in cyber security often like to understand how things work and how they were designed.
  • Communication: The ability to communicate issues in non-technical terms is very important. This skill is particularly important if you want to become a leader in the field, but is increasingly valued by employers at all levels.

Pathways into cyber security careers are varied. They might include traditional tertiary or vocational education, but may also come from self-learning and demonstrating your practical skills in cyber security challenges. You can find out more about the courses on offer around Australia through our interactive dashboard.

A good way to plan your pathway into cyber security is to start by considering the types of activities you like to do and your natural skills base, then match that with the jobs on offer. For technical cyber security roles, we are advocating for the use of a standard national workforce framework to help people identify, work roles, skills requirements and career opportunities.

Want to know more?

  • If you are a university or TAFE student, you can get involved in our speednetworking for jobs events that we run in partnership with Data61's Ribit.
  • We recently partnered with PwC Australia on an event to help students 'Hack a career in cyber security'. The webinar provides practical tips on how to get into cyber security and is definitely worth checking out!
  • We are building more career profile case studies to make it easier for people who want to work in cyber security to see how they can make it happen. So please check back again, sign up to be a Friend of the Network or follow us on social media to find out when new information is available.