what is a cyber security expert?

As technologies advance, cybercriminals are becoming more dangerous and pose a threat to information in computer systems. As a cyber security expert, you develop and implement network security measures to prevent cyber attacks and malware. You also regularly conduct security checks to look for threats and update the installed protection measures. When determining vulnerabilities in a computer system, sometimes you have to do white hacking and present your findings to the management.

As a cyber security expert, you need extensive knowledge of potential vulnerabilities and expertise in conducting vulnerability checks. It is necessary to keep up with emerging threats in the cyber world and learn effective strategies for prevention or intervention. In most organisations, a cyber security expert is an entry-level position that requires a broader knowledge base of all aspects of security. Aside from technical expertise, you also perform administrative functions like writing reports.

A career as a cyber security expert improves your experience in cyber jobs and helps you discover your favourite area of specialisation. With a few years of experience, you can narrow your skillset to a particular specialism.

Would working as a cyber security expert suit your computer skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a cyber security expert role.

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average salary of a cyber security expert

According to ONS, the salary of a cyber security expert in the UK is about £52,578 per year. That equates to £26.96 per hour, which is more than other IT sector jobs. An entry-level cyber security expert earns around £42,500 per year, while experienced workers earn about £70,000. The compensation package often includes health insurance benefits, paid vacations and other allowances.

how to increase your salary as a cyber security expert

Your salary often relies on internal and external factors. In many industries, your experience determines your compensation package. In cyber security, hands-on experience is more valuable than educational qualifications. Therefore, as you gain more experience, you will increase your salary due to your transferable skills. 

As a cyber security expert, it is possible to get a job in any industry since many companies rely on technology and the internet to run their businesses. However, some industries pay more to cyber security experts due to the sensitive nature of the company data they handle. For instance, finance and insurance companies are likely to pay more compared to other industries. Your certifications are also relevant during your salary determination, and a cyber security certification boosts your earning potential.

Male standing in front of a screen and pointing at data
Male standing in front of a screen and pointing at data

types of cyber security experts

As a cyber security expert, you can perform general duties or specialise in the following roles:

  • cyber security architect: as a cyber security architect, you design and develop unhackable security systems in a company's IT network. Your job is to assess the vulnerability and beef up system security, and you also regularly maintain the security systems and update the measures.
  • cyber security administrator: as a cyber security administrator, you install security solutions and troubleshoot the security solutions in case of problems.
  • cyber security analyst: your work as a cyber security analyst is to monitor a company's infrastructure for potential threats. You also create contingency plans and review suspicious activities in the system.
  • cyber security auditor: as a cyber security auditor, you evaluate online security systems. You determine whether the security measures are effective against potential breaches.

working as a cyber security expert

Wondering what the day-to-day activities of a cyber security expert are? Read on for details on the duties and work environment of a cyber analyst.


education and skills

Most cyber security experts join the profession through a degree in IT or computer science. Other degrees that can help you join cyber security jobs include forensic computing, mathematics or science, network engineering and any STEM course. When you complete your degree, you become a junior cyber security expert.

You need to develop your skills through certifications to increase your earnings and competitiveness in the market. 

  • at entry-level, start with Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) qualifications for a junior cyber security analyst. 
  • when you have two years of experience, CompTIA Security+ certification is suitable for your career progression. 
  • after five years of experience, complete Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) qualifications and become an auditor. You can complete other certifications relevant to your area of expertise.

skills and competencies

Aside from educational qualifications and certifications, you need transferable skills including:

  • problem-solving skills: as a cyber security expert, your problem-solving abilities play a significant role in your day-to-day duties. You need creative problem-solving skills to tackle complex security issues in computer systems and digital environments.
  • technical aptitude: cyber security relies on technology, and you should have exceptional computing skills to perform complex tasks like updating information security systems. You also need to design and implement security measures to provide real-time protection against data breaches.
  • attention to detail: as a cyber security expert, you need to be vigilant and detail-oriented to notice the slightest changes in a system. Attentiveness to details also helps you detect vulnerabilities in computer systems and monitor networks for breaches.
  • communication skills: as a cyber security expert, you work closely with various employees when solving security issues. You need communication skills to help you explain your findings and concerns in non-technical terms. It also comes in handy when you are developing security procedures for a company.
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close up hand on keyboard


FAQs about working as a cyber security expert

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