Needed cybersecurity skills

Do you have what it takes for a career in cybersecurity? If you are already working in the field, are you unsure about what skills are needed to further boost your career? Have you always wondered what skills to work on to become a penetration tester, network security or cloud specialist? Are you curious whether programming skills are essential in order to succeed? And are you uncertain about where to begin?




Soft versus technical skills

To be considered an expert, variety of skills are needed – a combination of soft and technical skills above all. According to this Cisco analysis, it “requires base knowledge of network and computer operations”. These are essential skills in this field because this knowledge is transferable among many IT jobs. Additionally, these so-called soft skills in demand for a career in cyber security include:

  • Strong analytical skills and a keen eye for spotting trends in data
  • The ability to make decisions with confidence and show initiative
  • The ability to work effectively under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • A keen attention to detail and work in a logical and objective fashion
  • Being well organized and able to manage their own time
  • The ability to work creatively and think outside the box
  • Possessing strong communication skills, as well as the ability to adapt communication styles to suit different audiences
  • Having a clear understanding of confidentiality issues and relating laws
  • An inquisitive nature and a keen interest in the IT secto

Technical Skills

In order to understand the technical side of cybersecurity policy, an entry-level analyst should have developed competencies in these areas:

  • Identifying Security Events
  • Incident Response
  • Data and Traffic Analysis

Highly technical skills needed for detecting intrusion or developing new software are especially in high demand. Professionals in the field should have background in these areas:

  • Network infrastructure knowledge
  • Diverse device configuration ability
  • Security configuration knowledge
  • Data management & teamwork

On top of that, if you are wondering whether programming languages are needed, the answer is yes. It is essential to be proficient in programming in Java, C/C++, and two or more scripting languages (PHP, Python, or Perl). Detailed knowledge of operating systems is also crucial.

It is recommended to be an expert in at least these three areas:

  • Linux Operating Systems
  • Microsoft Technologies
  • Wireless Technologies
  • Database Modeling
  • Web Application Technologies
  • Compiled and Interpreted Development Languages
  • Network Implementation (Operational and Security)
  • Telephony Technologies (Analog and IP)
  • Social Engineering
  • Physical Security

However, experts needed in either government, commercial or private environments should have both technical and soft skills. For instance, if one’s goal is to eventually become an experienced Network and Security Analyst, he/she must posses a complex knowledge and diverse set of skills. That means that an expert should have “not one specific correct process or product solution” in mind but rather being able to come up with more answers. In addition, they should also be able to collaborate, manage a team, and communicate effectively.