CYBER SECURITY JOB OUTLOOK 2019 — Part 5: Do You Have The Skills Needed for Cybersecurity?
Each first Thursday of the month is a new installment in Stronger’s Jobs in Cybersecurity Series. The articles in the series have looked at employment from the employer’s perspective, the professional’s, how the obsession with ‘unicorns’ is impacting the skilled employee shortage, and the roll of community colleges and boot camps in bridging the gap. This month, Stronger looks at the skills needed to be successful in cybersecurity.
At the beginning of the year, LinkedIn listed the most in demand soft skills for 2019 to be creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management. They also indicated that affectively there is a “growing skills instability” across technology sectors that will require over 50% of employees to re- or upskill over the year.
It’s now 6 months into the year, and technology still faces the growing and much discussed ‘skills gap’. If someone is thinking of reskilling or moving into the cybersecurity area, what skills are most in demand? And as business leaders start expanding their hiring practices for cyber roles or upskilling current talent, what are they looking for?
These are the top leading soft and hard skills that will set a candidate on a course for success.
- Communication Skills
- Ability to Multi-task, Handle Stress, and Think Like a Black Hat Hacker
- Willingness to Learn and Natural Curiosity
- Good Team Player
- Detail Oriented
- Project Management Skills and Solid Work Habits
- Strong Problem Solving, Analytic, and Diagnostic Skills
High on the list of soft skills is the ability to communicate, be a good team player, and problem solve. “No matter how technical somebody is, if they can’t communicate in a team atmosphere, they won’t be successful long-term,” says Diedre Diamond, a cybersecurity staffing expert.
Specific hard skills vary depending on the exact area of focus. But all cybersecurity professionals should:
- Understand: Network Routers, Firewalls, Switches, Operating Systems and Databases, as well as various Programming Languages.
- Have a Solid Knowledge of: Web Applications and Security Practices, Logging and Naming, and Access Management Protocols
- Know: Current Vulnerabilities, Standards, Practices and Procedures
- Be Able to Demonstrate How an Attack Happens
The Need for Both
In pursuing a career in cybersecurity, both hard skills and soft skills are needed. Companies are beginning to understand that “doing security well, at scale, requires a mix of law, psychology, sociology, technology, and organizational sciences.”
Cybersecurity is a field that offers a wide variety of opportunities to both technical and non-technical people — especially those who posses key soft skills. A certain kind of technical degree is no longer an absolute requirement, nor is a non-technical background necessarily an obstacle. For a good employee with the right soft skills, hard skills and experience can be learned. The trick is to figure out what an individual’s strengths are, what their unique background contributes to a security team, and then maximize the soft and hard skills through training and gaining experience within the industry.
Diversity is a strength and makes cybersecurity teams better at their jobs. So, individuals coming in with different backgrounds can be an advantage. And in order to close the growing skills gap, reskilling talented and dedicated employees as well as embracing non-traditional backgrounds is essential.