We are living in a world of unprecedented connectedness. More and more people and devices are getting connected to the internet, and companies are storing staggering amounts of data in databases. On the other hand, security threats are on the rise and growing more sophisticated by the day.
Keeping software, hardware, and data secure is now more important than ever before. It’s no surprise that the demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals is at an all time high and poised to go up.
Are you considering a career in cybersecurity? Wondering what cybersecurity roles entail and whether it’s something you’re up to? Here is an overview of the work cybersecurity professionals do.
What Do Cybersecurity Professionals Do?
Cybersecurity professionals protect digital assets against unauthorized access and cyber attacks. These digital assets include:
- Hardware and software systems
- Computer networks
- Data and intelligence
- Personal information
Cybersecurity specialists design, implement, evaluate, and improve security systems to prevent breaches and ensure that a company’s digital assets are safe and secure.
The Duties and Responsibilities of Cybersecurity Specialists
Cybersecurity professionals are responsible for keeping data breaches and cyber attacks at bay. Their top priority is to prevent attacks. They are tasked with building a robust security system. A task they accomplish in the following ways:
- Designing, implementing, maintaining, overseeing, and upgrading security measures to protect an organizations’ data, systems, and networks
- Evaluating the organization’s security needs and establishing best practices and standards
- Educating other employees in the organization on security policies and best practices
- Monitoring the effectiveness of security measures and making improvements
- Ethical hacking – simulating attacks in order to identify vulnerabilities and then fortify the security defenses
- Monitoring traffic networks and systems for threats, breach attempts and false alerts
- Staying on top of IT security trends and emerging threats
- Conducting tests and scans to identify any vulnerabilities in the network and systems.
- Creating contingency plans to resort to in the event of a successful attack.
Ideally, all the above measures would fend off threats and result in zero security threats. But in the highly dynamic world of technology, this isn’t the case.
In the event of an attempted breach or full blown attack, cybersecurity professionals carry out the following tasks to respond to the event and mitigate the damage.
- Investigating all security threats, breaches, and cyber attacks. Figuring out the cause behind them and how they happened
- Writing detailed reports about both attempted and successful attacks
The above are the general responsibilities you will find in most cybersecurity job descriptions. The exact roles and responsibilities will depend on your level of experience, where you work, and your job title and responsibilities.
The Different Types of Cybersecurity Job Titles
As you can see, the field of cybersecurity is quite broad with a variety of roles and responsibilities. In a small organization, one cybersecurity professional wears many hats. In a large company, the cybersecurity team will have multiple cybersecurity specialists sharing the duties. Here are examples of cybersecurity job titles and what they entail:
- Security Architect: Designs, builds, and manages the implementation of network and computer security systems to combat attacks.
- Cybersecurity Engineer: Designs, develops, and implements computer security solutions.
- Security Trainer: Educates other members of the organization on security best practices.
- Penetration Tester: Legally hacks into software and systems in order to identify vulnerabilities
- Security Auditor: Evaluates security systems and suggests ways to improve them.
- Incident Response Analyst: Responds to threats to investigate the cause and limit the damage
- Network Security Engineer: Manages the security of the company’s network systems including firewalls, routers, and VPNs.
- Cryptographer: Encrypts sensitive information to maintain privacy.
- Cloud Security Engineer: Secures cloud-based platforms against cyber crime.
- Application Security Specialist: Specializes in protecting applications from threats.
- Security Consultant: Evaluates cybersecurity risks for different organizations and guides them in executing security measures.
Where Do Cybersecurity Professionals Work?
Any organization that relies on technology is under threat of cyber attacks and therefore in need of cybersecurity personnel. The most vulnerable sectors include government, technology, finance, insurance, healthcare, hospitality, transportation, and manufacturing.
What are the Working Conditions for Cybersecurity Specialists?
Cyber security professionals work in an office setting. They carry out individual tasks but also work as a team. On a typical day, they maintain a standard 9 to 5 schedule.
Since threats can happen at any time, someone has to be on-call during odd hours including nights, weekends, and holidays. The on-call schedule is assigned on a shift basis.
This normalcy is disrupted in the event of a security breach. In such a situation, cybersecurity specialists work under high pressure to identify the threat and stop it.
It’s A Wrap!
Do you have a passion for technology coupled with a passion for fighting cyber crime? Then you have what it takes to become a cybersecurity professional.
The field demands a mix of technical, coding, analytical, and soft skills. Passion is crucial because this is a fast paced field that will keep you constantly on your toes.
But the efforts are worth it. It’s a challenging job that will engage your mind and even have your heart beating fast at times. The salary is above average and the career prospects are definitely looking up.
Mike is the creator of Go With Code and a coder at heart 🙂