4 common myths about cyber security careers

Published on: 27 Jul 2021

A career in cyber security offers great opportunities for an exciting and lucrative challenge. Whether you're a recent graduate or looking to make a change later in life, people with these skills are in high demand among employers across all sectors, so there's always likely to be a role that suits you.

However, there remain a lot of misconceptions about the sector that may cause uncertainty for many people. Often these are based on outdated or misguided assumptions of what these jobs involve and who they're for. So what are some of these myths, and why shouldn't you let them dissuade you from a fascinating new career?

1. You need a computer science degree

Cyber security graduate jobs are certainly in high demand, but this is far from the only route into the industry. For instance, training provider QA noted that while 80 per cent of cybersecurity-related job postings want a bachelor’s level degree or above, this doesn't necessarily need to be in a direct field like computer science, and people enter the industry from all walks of life. 

Indeed, it noted the second-most common degree subject for new cybersecurity professionals is English Language, and in many roles, skills such as project management, communication or business knowledge may be far more valuable than coding skills.

2. There are only narrow opportunities available

It's also thought that all cyber security jobs are much the same, and all involve sitting behind a desk. But this is far from the case. There are in fact a wide range of options within the sector - a security engineer may have a very different career path than an ethical hacker, for instance - and there are many opportunities to expand your role, travel and progress. Cyber security skills are needed at all levels of a business and those with the right skills can reach as high as board level.

3. You need to be young and male

The perception of your typical cyber security professional is under 30, male, and with a big interest in 'techy' hobbies. But this is also far from true. For instance, QA notes 90 per cent of cyber pros are over 30. There's also been a big push in recent years to attract more women to the sector - and those who do enter often find there are more opportunities. 

Indeed, research by (ISC)2 found females in cyber are more highly educated than their male counterparts, have more professional certifications and are therefore in a great position to reach leadership roles. Having an interest in 'techy' things isn't a requirement either - a willingness to learn and an interest in human behaviour goes a long way.

4. Getting into cyber security is too hard

It's a commonly held belief that the hardest part of making it in cyber security is getting your foot in the door in the first place, with many thinking it will take too long to gain the qualifications necessary, or that employers will often have experience requirements that are unrealistic for graduates or career changers. But again, this is not so. 

While it's true that you can't get the most asked-for qualifications overnight, there are lots of entry-level certifications that can be achieved relatively quickly, and employers are increasingly recognising the benefits of transferable skills, so are often willing to provide specific training for the right candidate. 

Think a cyber security role sounds like the right path for your next career move? Then check out our latest cyber security jobs today.