How to get into Cyber Security

5 min
Cybernetic Search

By Cybernetic Search

Knowing how to get into cyber security with no experience can be daunting for ambitious candidates looking to kick-start their careers in this exciting field. We see these pain points from entry-level talent first-hand, so we've created this blog to show you how to get into cyber security and help you realise that getting into the industry is an excellent option for anyone and everyone.

In this blog, we will present you with 5 ways to start a career in cyber security before looking at some of the qualifications, jobs and salaries you can expect to see as you look at how to get into cyber security.

5 ways how to start a career in cyber security

Getting your career underway in the expanding world of cyber security can seem like a challenge too difficult to overcome. But it doesn’t have to be, and that’s why we’ve compiled some of the key things to help you get your career off the ground. From choosing an area to specialise in, completing a degree, seeking out an apprenticeship and gaining industry experience, all the way to applying for jobs, here’s our advice on how to start a career in cyber security.

1. Choose an area of cyber security to specialise in

The first step to knowing how to start a career in cyber security is to choose an area within the field to specialise in. Specialising in an area of cyber security will allow you to better plan the career path you want to go down within the industry instead of becoming a Jack of all trades and master of none. Additionally, the experience and expertise you gain by honing in on a specific area will help you accelerate quicker from entry-level to senior-level positions.

Of course, choosing an area of cyber security to specialise in may be easier for others and not so much for you. It may take some research and some industry experience in several areas before you truly understand what you want to become an expert in.

Ultimately, once you have chosen your specialism, you will be in a better place to choose the courses to help you advance and find the top employees to support your development while also planning for your earning potential and ensuring your job security.

But what are some of the areas you could specialise in to develop your cyber security career? We’ll explore some of the cyber security jobs you could dive into in our section - what cyber security job is right for me? - later in the piece.

2. Complete a bachelor's degree

While you do not need a degree in cyber security to get a job in the field, it will make your job search much more straightforward and open up more opportunities. According to the Ipsos Cyber Security Skills in the UK labour market 2022 report, 90% of employees prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s degree as a minimum entry requirement for core cyber security jobs such as:

  • Cyber Security Consultant
  • Security Architect
  • Cyber Security Engineer
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Operations Centre (SOC) Analyst

Alternatively, the report found that roles within the industry, coined as 'cyber-enabled' jobs, require candidates to have GCSEs and A-Levels or equivalent qualifications with a solid understanding of business and IT skills. These cyber-enables roles include:

  • Project management
  • System Administration
  • Risk management
  • Technical support
  • Network engineering
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)

Cyber security is a competitive market for talent, with 58,005 employed in the UK alone in 2022. Therefore, to not only gain knowledge of the industry but to stand out from other candidates, completing a bachelor’s degree is a viable option for how to get into cyber security.

There is a plethora of cyber security bachelor’s and master's degree courses offered by numerous universities and providers, such as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). You could choose to embark on a cyber security bachelor’s degree in the following areas.

There is a plethora of cyber security bachelor’s and master's degree courses offered by numerous universities and providers, such as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). You could choose to embark on a cyber security bachelor’s degree in the following areas.

  1. Cyber Security
  2. Computer Science
  3. Computer Programming
  4. Database Management
  5. Forensic Computing
  6. IT
  7. Network Engineering
  8. Network Security
  9. Machine Learning
  10. Other STEM-related subjects

3. Seek out cyber security apprenticeships

Your route into cyber security doesn't have to involve going to university. Another path you can take in your mission of how to get into cyber security is by seeking out an apprenticeship.

Cyber security apprenticeships are a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry, combining paid work experience with formal education in the field. It is a great way to learn the skills you need while allowing you to apply them to real-life scenarios.

Here are some of the benefits of seeking out a cyber security apprenticeship:

  • You get paid while you learn
  • You gain valuable work experience
  • You earn an industry-recognised qualification
  • You network with professionals in the field - opening the doors to more knowledge and opportunities
  • You get a foot in the door of the industry and will be prepared for a career in cyber security

During a cyber security apprenticeship, you will typically spend a few days a week working at a company that specialises in cyber security while spending the other days of the week attending in-person or remote classes hosted by the apprenticeship training provider.

Multiple providers offer government-approved and funded cyber security apprenticeship programmes, including the previously mentioned NCSC. Cyber security apprenticeship courses can support your career in areas such as:

  • Network security
  • Cryptography
  • Malware analysis
  • Incident response
  • Ethical hacking

4. Get industry experience

Another step for how to get into cyber security is to go out there and get experience. From internships, and volunteer work, to attending networking events, staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and getting certified, here are some ways to get cyber security experience.


Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door of the cyber security industry and gain valuable experience. You can find internships through your college, university, online job boards, or by contacting local businesses that specialise in cyber security.


Many organisations require help with cyber security and will take you on as a volunteer. By reaching out to various companies, you can offer your services to these businesses to help them achieve their targets while allowing you to gain valuable experience.

Personal projects

You can also gain experience by taking on personal projects. Various online resources help you learn about cyber security and complete projects. Check out the likes of Coursera, Udemy, edX, Pluralsight and Cybrary for a range of flexible and affordable online courses to help you gain valuable industry knowledge.

Attend networking events

latest trends in cyber security and meet professionals and potential employers in the field. These networking events could open the doors to new opportunities, including jobs, internships, volunteer work or apprenticeships, while also giving you career advice on your career paths. You can find networking events online and through various social platforms like LinkedIn.

Stay up-to-date on the latest trends

Cyber security is a constantly changing industry, so staying up-to-date on the latest trends is key. You can keep updated with the industry by reading security blogs, following security experts on social media, and attending security conferences.

Get Certified

Certification is another excellent way to demonstrate your skills and knowledge to potential employers. Many different certifications are available, so you can choose one that's right for you and your career goals. Keep reading to find out what certifications you can gain to bolster your cyber security career in our section: what cyber security qualifications do I need?

Getting experience through one or a combination of the examples listed above is a surefire way of helping you to get your cyber security career off the ground.

5. Apply for cyber security jobs

Our final point on how to start a career in cyber security is to begin applying for cyber security jobs. Of course, before you start applying for roles through various job boards and social platforms, it's essential to do your research and understand the different types of available opportunities. You should also research the companies hiring cybersecurity professionals to help you narrow your search and target your applications to the most relevant positions.

When applying for jobs in cyber security, make sure to update your CV and cover letter. Dedicate time to ensuring your CV and cover letter is well-written and error-free and that they highlight your skills and experience relevant to cyber security. Also, when you upload a CV and cover letter, ensure they are concise, as the average employer scans a CV in less than 10 seconds.

As mentioned, be sure to network with people in the industry to learn about job openings and get your foot in the door. Attend events, and connect with professionals who work in the cyber security industry.

Once you start getting interviews, it's important to be prepared. Practice answering interview questions, and research the companies you're interviewing with. This will help you make a good impression and increase your chances of getting the job. From here, make sure to follow up after the interviews and be sure to send a thank-you note to the interviewer. This is a great way to reiterate your interest in the job and puts you in a strong position for landing your dream cyber security job.

By following our 5 ways how to start a career in cyber security, you'll be well on your way to getting your career up and running. Our advice doesn't stop here. Continue reading to find out some of the qualifications you need to get started in cyber security, the jobs you could progress in and how much you can expect to earn with a career in cyber security.

What cyber security qualifications do I need?

We've mentioned how earning a degree or taking on an apprenticeship are two viable options to attain further knowledge and experience in the cyber security industry. Another common question on the lips of many eager candidates following the topic of how to get into the sector is what cyber security qualifications do I need?

In this section, we'll explore five industry-renowned certifications you could enrol on to kickstart your cyber security career and courses you could sign up for as you progress in the industry.

Certified Information Systems Professional (CISSP)

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a globally recognised certification for anyone who wants to work in the field of cybersecurity, regardless of their role or experience level. This certification validates an individual's knowledge and experience in information security and is a vendor-neutral certification, meaning that it is not specific to any one product or vendor.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a vendor-neutral, entry-level certification that validates an individual's expertise in the niche area of the network security discipline - ethical hacking.

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a more advanced-level certification offered by ISACA that validates the knowledge and skills of an individual in the field of information security management, focussing on areas such as information security governance, risk management, information security incident management, and security programme development and management.

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is another widely recognised entry-level certification that accredits graduates with the knowledge and skills required to perform core security functions. The certification covers the following:

  • Security fundamentals
  • Risk management
  • Asset security
  • Security assessment and testing
  • Security operations
  • Cryptography
  • Compliance and regulations


The (ISC)2 CCSP, or Certified Cloud Security Professional, is a certification that validates an individual's expertise in cloud security. This certification is designed for individuals who have experience in designing, implementing, and managing cloud security solutions and covers topics such as:

  • Cloud concepts, architecture, and design
  • Cloud data security
  • Cloud platform and infrastructure security
  • Cloud application security
  • Cloud compliance and risk

These are just a few of the many cyber security certifications available, and more information for all can be found online. Ultimately, the best certification for you will depend on your career goals and the specific role you want to pursue. Speaking of which, let's look at some of the cyber security jobs you could pursue

What cyber security job is right for me?

We mentioned earlier how choosing an area of cyber security to specialise in is an excellent way to get started in the industry, but the question you may be asking yourself is, what cyber security job is right for me?

There are many different cyber security jobs available for entry-level job seekers looking to kickstart their careers. It's important to consider your skills, interests, and career goals when choosing one, and to help you get started, here are five of the most popular cyber security jobs, along with some of the responsibilities associated with each.

Cyber Security Architect

A cyber security architect is an IT professional who designs, develops, and implements security solutions for organisations. They work with stakeholders to understand the business's security needs and then create solutions that meet those needs.

Some of the specific tasks and responsibilities of a cyber security architect include the following:

  • Designing and implementing security architectures
  • Developing and implementing security policies and procedures
  • Conducting security assessments
  • Providing security consulting
  • Staying up-to-date on security threats and trends

Cyber Security Engineer

The role of a cyber security engineer involves a professional using their knowledge of computer science, engineering, and security principles to identify and mitigate security risks for a business. Cyber security engineers design, implement, and maintain security solutions to help protect an organisation's networks and systems from cyber-attacks.

Some of the specific duties of a cybersecurity engineer include:

  • Designing and implementing security solutions, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption
  • Analysing security logs and data to identify potential threats
  • Responding to security incidents and breaches
  • Conducting security assessments and audits
  • Developing and enforcing security policies and procedures

Penetration Tester

Otherwise known as an ethical hacker, a penetration tester is responsible for simulating cyberattacks on computer systems and networks to identify and assess vulnerabilities within a company. They use the same tools and methods as malicious hackers but do so with the permission of the organisation they're testing.

Here are some of the specific duties of a penetration tester:

  • Conducting vulnerability assessments and penetration tests
  • Identifying vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks
  • Reporting on the findings of penetration tests and recommending remediation steps
  • Staying up-to-date on the latest security threats and trends
  • Developing and maintaining penetration testing tools and techniques

Cyber Security Analyst

Cyber security analysts oversee and analyse networks and systems for organisations to spot signs of malicious activity. They may also investigate security incidents, develop and implement security policies, and train employees on security best practices.

Some of the specific duties of a cybersecurity analyst include:

  • Oversees the network traffic for signs of malicious activity
  • Investigating security incidents and breaches
  • Responding to security threats and vulnerabilities
  • Providing security recommendations to management
  • Stays updated on the latest security threats and trends

Incident response specialist

Incident response analysts are responsible for responding to security incidents. They work with other security team members to investigate incidents, contain the damage, and restore systems for organisations.

Some of the specific duties of an incident response specialist include:

  • Identifying and responding to security incidents
  • Investigating the cause of security incidents
  • Containing the damage caused by security incidents
  • Communicating with affected parties
  • Providing recommendations to prevent future security incidents

Here are some of the other roles you could move into as you progress in your cyber security career:

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): The CISO is an organisation's highest-ranking cyber security official. They are responsible for setting the business's security strategy and ensuring it is implemented effectively.

Vice President of Cyber Security: Vice presidents of cyber security oversee the day-to-day operations of an organisation's cyber security programme.

Director of Cyber Security: Directors of cyber security are responsible for leading a team of cybersecurity professionals in implementing security solutions and mitigating security risks.

Of course, this is just an overview of some of the roles you could start and progress to within your cyber security career. The specific career progression path you go down will depend on your experience and interests; however, this should give you a good idea of the different roles and responsibilities available in cyber security.

How much do cyber security jobs pay?

One of the biggest questions asked by candidates entering the cyber security market is how much cyber security jobs pay. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for cyber security jobs in the UK is roughly £44,000 per year, with entry-level positions starting at an annual salary of £21,000 with more high-level positions earning upwards of £90,000 per year.

For more information on expected salaries in the cyber security sector, download our salary survey here

Is cyber security a good career?

Knowledge of how to get into cyber security is one thing, but considering everything we've covered in this blog, is cyber security a good career?

Of course, the simple and most obvious answer would be yes, but we can't leave you with that. So, in summary, here are the reasons why cyber security is a good career, one you should pursue if you have a passion for protecting global brands and are eager to help fight the war against cybercrime.

Cyber security jobs are in high demand

In recent years there has been a growing demand for cyber security professionals as organisations of all sizes become increasingly reliant on technology and more aware of the potential cyber threats posed on their business. With the sector expected to be with £10.5 billion in 2023, with an estimated 10% rise in cyber security jobs, an increase of 5,300 jobs since 2022 in the UK alone, you can be sure to be making a stable career choice with plenty of job security.

Competitive salaries and a range of roles

As mentioned, there is a wide range of cyber security jobs for you to choose from, and professionals typically earn high salaries, especially those with advanced skills and experience. You could reach the height of a £90k salary and beyond with a career in cyber security.

Various avenues to take

If you were wondering how to get into cyber security, you're not spoilt for choice. There are various avenues to go down when pursuing a cyber security career, from attending university and enrolling on an apprenticeship to networking and signing up for multiple certifications.

A chance to make a difference on a global scale

Finally, cyber security careers are challenging and rewarding, and professionals play an important role in protecting organisations and individuals from cyber threats that could be detrimental to their businesses and their livelihoods. So, if you want to make a difference on a global scale, then a career in cyber security could be perfect for you.

Get in touch with a cyber security recruiter today!

Now that you know how to get into cyber security, from the 5 ways to start a career, the qualifications needed, the roles you can apply for and the salaries you could earn, now's the time to take the next step in your cyber security career. Thankfully, with our support, you won't have to take this step alone.

Our team of cyber security experts have access to the fastest-growing organisations in the world and are ready to connect you with the market's leading cyber security jobs.

So, if you're ready to kickstart your career, sign up for our job alerts or get in touch with our cyber security recruitment specialists and start growing your career with us today.