Cyber Security Skills (With Examples And Tips to Improve)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cyber security refers to the protection of computer systems, networks, devices and data from cyber-attacks. Business security requires professionals skilled at mitigating risks and implementing measures that prevent unauthorised attacks. If you are pursuing a career in cyber security, you can benefit from learning about the different technical skills and soft skills necessary in this field. In this article, we discuss various cyber security skills along with their definitions, learn how to improve them and look at some ways you can showcase these skills on your resume or cover letter.

Examples of cyber security skills

Cyber security skills include both technical skills such as networking and system administration, coding, network security control, risk analysis and security audit and soft skills such as problem-solving, adaptability, communication skills and attention to detail. A computer scientist may specialise in a variety of these areas as part of a four-year degree programme in computer science or a similar field. Additional certification courses also allow professionals to learn and develop the skills they need for this career. Here are some examples of hard and soft skills required for cyber security positions:

Technical skills

Here are some technical skills that you can focus on obtaining:

Risk identification and management

A key responsibility of cyber security specialists involves identifying areas that are susceptible to internal or external attacks. Once you have identified the risks, you can develop strategies to counter them. Managing risk is a constant process that requires regular monitoring and analysis. The risk management process involves the following strategies:

  • Identifying the risk: This includes identifying current or potential risks that may affect business operations.

  • Assessing the risk: This step includes assessing the type of risk and its impact on business operations.

  • Controlling the risk: This step requires procedures, technologies and strategies to combat the risk.

  • Reviewing the control measures: This is an ongoing process of assessing the effectiveness of current risk management strategies and adjusting them as necessary.

Network security control

Network security control is a collection of measures used to enhance the network's security. This requires you to understand the working of networks, routers, firewalls and other devices. For example, as a cyber security professional, you can implement firewalls to block unauthorised traffic.

You can also benefit from learning about intrusion detection systems (IDS), virtual private networks and remote access. As an example, you can use the IDS to monitor the network for suspicious activity and flag it for further investigation.

Related: Cyber Security Interview Questions And Answers

Audit and compliance

Security practitioners often conduct a thorough assessment of the organisation's compliance with compliance regulations, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001 and ISO 20000. A thorough understanding of security audit and compliance is crucial since failing to comply with these regulations can cause significant penalties for organisations.

Related: How Much Does Cyber Security Make? (With Skills And Types)

Knowledge of operating systems

All operating systems are vulnerable to security threats, including those on computers and mobile devices. Developing a working knowledge of MacOS, Windows and Linux, along with their command-line interfaces, is beneficial. It can also be useful to research the threats and vulnerabilities associated with mobile operating systems, such as iOS and Android.

Cloud implementation and management

Cyber security experts often need a thorough understanding of cloud computing processes and methods. This includes monitoring access, ensuring that the company's data is secure and making sure that the data uploaded to the cloud complies with the organisation's policies and guidelines. This also requires a good understanding of the various vulnerabilities that may affect the organisation to ensure that the cloud service provider has security measures in place to mitigate these risks.

Related: How To Become A Cybersecurity Engineer (Salary And Skills)

Coding

Entry-level jobs may not require coding abilities, but knowing a few programming languages can be beneficial as you progress in your career. As a cyber security professional, you may require this knowledge to interpret malicious activity and counter them. The following are some languages that you can consider learning:

  • SQL

  • Python

  • JavaScript

  • PHP

  • C and C++

Soft skills

Here are some soft skills required for a job in this field:

Communication skills

Cyber security professionals often work in teams to resolve issues and present findings to individuals with non-technical backgrounds. Having effective communication skills enables you to deliver this information so that the company can make informed decisions. You may also use your written communication skills to file reports, document your findings and publish them in journals or newsletters.

Large projects often require you to work in teams and collaborate with people from other domains to troubleshoot and fix security issues. Being able to communicate effectively helps you build trust with colleagues, improves teamwork and fosters a positive work environment.

Problem-solving

As a professional working in the cyber security field, you may often face challenges, including newer threats, sophisticated cyber-attacks involving cryptocurrencies and data breaches. Detecting these threats and implementing solutions that counter them require effective problem-solving skills. It involves using advanced tools and technical knowledge to mitigate attacks and ensure data privacy and data security.

Adaptability

With constantly changing technology, the possibility of newer and unknown threats also increases. To succeed as a cyber security professional, it is important to learn new tools and technologies quickly, stay up to date on security trends and adapt to changes in the industry. This also increases career opportunities and your credibility in the field.

How to improve your cyber security skills

Follow these steps to improve your skills:

1. Get certified

Most employers expect cyber security professionals to be certified in their area of expertise. You might obtain the following cyber security credentials:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

Related: How To Become An Ethical Hacker In 3 Actionable Steps

2. Stay updated

Update yourself on the latest technological developments, threats and best security practices specific to your industry. Here are some ways you can stay current with the latest developments:

  • reading research papers and journals

  • attending workshops and live events

  • following security professionals and industry experts

  • checking vulnerability alert feeds and advisory sites

  • attending cyber hacking competitions

Related: How To Become A Penetration Tester: A Complete Guide

3. Focus on your soft skills

Apart from technical proficiency, companies also seek candidates who can collaborate and work alongside others and foster a positive work environment. These skills include communication, problem-solving, teamwork and leadership. Here are some ways you can improve your soft skills:

  • practising active listening

  • building positive relationships in the workplace

  • taking additional courses to improve your communication

  • adapting to workplace changes

  • asking for feedback and making improvements

Cyber security skills at the workplace

The ability to show your skills in the workplace is critical to earning the trust of colleagues and managers, particularly when working with a company's sensitive information. Listed below are some ways to present your skills at the workplace:

  • Make security recommendations. You can suggest improvements in hardware, software and other applications to protect IT systems against potential threats. This shows that you are up-to-date with the current technology and security measures.

  • Conduct sessions to stay updated on current threats. You can conduct sessions to share recent developments in the cyber security space, including recent cyber security threats, tips and best practices. This indicates that you are eager to learn new things and share your knowledge with others in the team.

  • Improve systems and processes. Apart from ensuring that the company's systems are up-to-date and running smoothly, you can also suggest newer techniques to improve efficiency. By doing so, you show your company that you are proactive and can prevent problems rather than only responding to them.

Tips to highlight skills relevant to cyber security

When interviewing for a job role in this field, it is essential to highlight your technical and soft skills on your resume, cover letter and during an interview. Use the following tips to showcase your skills:

On a resume

You can start by mentioning your skills in the professional summary section of your resume. This allows the interviewers to get an overview of your past accomplishments, work experience and skills. When you describe your work experience, be sure to show how your skills contributed to achieving your goals in your past jobs.

Also include a distinct section where you mention your technical skills, such as coding, penetration testing, security auditing, risk management and troubleshooting.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, demonstrate how you used your skills to achieve goals in previous roles. For example, you could mention how you detected ransomware activity and implemented security measures which prevented a major attack which could have resulted in a huge financial loss and compromise of sensitive data. Describe your plan for achieving similar results for the company for which you are applying.

Through this, you can clearly demonstrate to potential employers that you understand their mission, challenges and goals and are eager to contribute to the organisation's growth.

During an interview

As part of a job interview, the interviewer may ask about your technical knowledge and prior work experience. You can include examples of collaborating with other teams to overcome challenges, finding innovative solutions and contributing to the company's efficiency and growth. This helps the interviewer assess if you are a suitable candidate for the position.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in the article are associated with Indeed.

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