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If you’re looking for a career change and like the sound of a job in cybersecurity, this article will guide you through everything you need to know about getting started. The qualifications/training you need for it, how competitive the industry is, how you can start with zero experience and whether or not you should choose to learn things alone. Let’s get started!

What qualifications do you need for cyber security?

The good news is that nowadays, it’s not necessary to have a computer science degree to work in cyber security. Though if you do have a degree in this field, it may be a career path you wish to consider. If you don’t have any formal qualifications though, getting certified can help to give you a competitive edge against others and hopefully secure you an interview for your dream role. 

A great starting point for a cyber security certification is the CompTIA Security+ course as it covers multiple topics including common types of cyber threats and attacks, secure design, ID and access management, risk assessment and more. It even covers Cryptography and Public Key Infrastructure.

two professional IT professionals looking at cyber security


Can I learn cyber security on my own?

As with everything, you can definitely give things a try on your own, but you may find that the whole process is much more long-winded. Also, you won’t have the support network associated with online courses. If you choose to learn cyber security through a training program, you’ll have access to industry experts and instructors and even practical online sessions with practice labs so you can learn the job by actually doing it. Of course, you need to ensure that you choose a reputable provider that has a history of delivering great results. 

How much does a job in cyber security pay?

Cyber security roles can vary greatly in their scope but the potential earnings are high. An IT Technician in the London area can earn around £22,000 to £26,000 a year and a Cyber Security Analyst in the north of England can earn up to £40,000 a year. So, as you can see, there’s a lot of room for growth. If you work your way up to the Head of IT Security, you can expect to earn over £90,000. 

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How long does it take to become an IT security specialist?

Beginning your IT security specialist career really can happen in as little as a few months. Most programmes can be completed in as little as 12-16 weeks and once you’ve completed your course you can start applying for jobs. Once you’ve gained that all-important work experience you can then consider specialising your skills even further and going into a more niche-specific role. This may mean you need to take further certifications along the way but this is completely optional and depends on how you want to progress your career. Some examples of more specialised qualifications are the CompTIA Cyber Security Analyst CySA+ or the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP). 

Is it hard to get a job in cyber security?

There are actually a lot of jobs currently available in the cyber security space. We’re now more connected than ever and businesses need to ensure that their systems are secure to protect the company interests and remain compliant with any privacy laws, especially if they’re storing client data. At the time of writing, a simple job search on Glassdoor shows over 3,000 opportunities available in the cybersecurity space. 

How do I get my first cyber security job?

First of all, you need to perfect your CV so you can stand out from the crowd, here are some great tips to get you started. Once you’ve completed the appropriate cyber security training course, be sure to add it to your CV with any relevant information that you think prospective employers would be keen to know. We also recommend having your CV reviewed by a professional to give you the best chances of success when applying for roles. Also, networking can really help. Connect with people on LinkedIn who you’ve previously worked/trained with and even consider sparking up a conversation by sharing thought-provoking content in the cyber security niche and adding in your comments. 

data protection and cyber security screen


How do I start cyber security with no experience?

Firstly you should start by completing a reputable course like the CompTIA Security+ which will provide you with all the essentials you need to kick start your career in IT. The training course takes around 12-16 weeks to complete at which point you can begin applying for roles. You should also start to network as soon as you begin your course so that people in your space will start to recognize your name. As a complete beginner, you may also want to consider a course package too that includes several accreditations as well as practical online labs to give you real-life experiences. The Cyber Security Practical Experience Programme Complete includes that. 

Where do I start in cybersecurity?

It’s easier than you might think to get started in cyber security as there is a range of courses available. Start off with a more generalised security training package like the Quick Start Cyber Security Package for Beginners to get your foot in the door and then from there you can expand your knowledge and expertise. Whether that’s through further courses and training or through on the job experience in specialist roles. 

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Can I get an IT job with just certification?

Absolutely, but you must make yourself stand out from the crowd. By getting your CV reviewed by an expert in the field, you’ll be able to further increase your chances of landing that dream cyber security role. Additionally, employers tend to favour those who’ve done certifications that include practical labs so that you’re able to demonstrate your ability in a real-world setting so we recommend choosing a course that includes these online sessions. Once you’ve landed your first role, you’ll be able to gain further experience and understanding in more specialist areas. 

Hopefully the above covers all your questions you might have about getting started with a career in cyber security. As you can see there are many options for those of you who have no prior experience in IT and the barriers to entry are lower than you may have initially thought. 

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