Cyber attacks are considered one of the biggest threats to national security. The rise in digital strikes has become so severe that the government set aside almost £2bn to defend the UK from foreign states and rogue individuals. 

With further risks facing data, computer networks and the Internet, the role of web security specialists, which is a specific type of computer support specialist, has become increasingly important.

What is a security specialist and what do they do?

Web security specialists are employed in just about any organisation; from private companies to not-for-profits, educational institutions to government agencies.

IT workers in the area of IT security will implement policies and systems that help protect computer networks from malware, spyware, hackers and other security risks including cyber terrorism.

Common tasks of web security specialists:

  • Formulating security policies
  • Meeting stakeholders
  • Auditing computers
  • Installing computer software
  • Analysing network traffic

Skill sets for web security specialists:

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Problem solving
  • Logic and objectivity
  • Creativity and patience

Recent data from a global study shows the number of cyber security roles advertised in the UK was the third highest in the world, but employer demand exceeds candidate interest by more than three times. It means IT workers and graduates looking to enter this area could quickly fill the skills gap and become an IT specialist.

Chris Sheard, Sales Manager for Randstad technologies, explained: “UK companies are crying out for people with cyber security expertise, so gaining these skills will make you very employable in 2017 and beyond. Needless to say, earning potential in these niche areas is great, too!”

Most cyber security job roles are located in the South East of England; however, consultants can be based anywhere and travel across the UK and abroad.

Education and background

Like most roles within the IT sector today, educational requirements vary by position and place of employment. Many employers look for candidates with at least an undergraduate degree in either computer science or IT. Modules covered in these degrees are likely to include networks, distributed computing, network security, database administration, operating systems, and computer ethics. Certificates in specific types of hardware or software, such as Cisco products, Windows or Linux operating systems are often held in high regard.

Employers will also look to recruit IT workers who have built up on the job experience. Experience gained working with different types of computer networks is vital and could include those networks associated with the government, defense or the banking sector. They could include, but are not limited to, cloud computing mobile technologies and the Payment Card Industry (PCI).

Could you keep your job secret?

Things to consider:

  • Disclosure restrictions – you might not be able to discuss your job especially if you work for the government, Ministry of Defence or police departments
  • Some of the information you may encounter could be of a sensitive nature
  • Those in information and cyber forensics roles could be asked be expert witness at court cases
  • Individuals with criminal records may be excluded from applying
  • Women are being encouraged to enter the sector trough initiatives like WISE, Cyber Security Challenge and women in security

Other roles to consider

Information Security Analyst, Computer Systems Analyst