What’s a day in the life of a cyber security professional like?
Happy Cyber Security Awareness Month! Now in its 18th year, this month in October highlights the importance of cyber security throughout the country. The Arizona Technology Council has collaborated with Pipeline AZ and the Partnership for Economic Innovation to help address Arizona’s tech-talent shortage.
- In 2020, the number of records exposed in data breaches hit a 15-year high, reaching 37 billion records, a 141% year-over-year increase, according to TechRepublic. There were 3,932 total publicly disclosed data breaches, at companies including Microsoft, Estee Lauder, Facebook, Nintendo and Zoom.
- By 2025, global cybercrime costs are expected to reach $10.5 trillion, up from $6 trillion in 2021, reports “Cybercrime Magazine.”
- As technology evolves, so does cybercrime risk. The Internet of Things, cloud computing, remote work and increasingly sophisticated hacking tools put more users at risk.
Cyber security professionals protect the sensitive data of businesses, governments, financial institutions, healthcare providers, individuals and energy systems. Information security analysts are in such high demand, their job outlook is expected to grow 33% between 2020 and 2030, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports is much faster than average. In Arizona, there are more than 20,000 cyber security positions, but 14,000 of those jobs are unfilled.
What exactly do you do as a cyber security professional if you pursue this career?
Types of Cyber Security Career Titles
Cyber security professionals might work in-house for an organization, as a consultant or freelancer with a variety of organizations, or for a cyber security firm that provides services to various businesses. Cyber security professionals may have job titles like:
- Cyber security analyst
- Cybercrime analyst
- Cyber security consultant
- Cyber security manager
- Systems engineer
- Network engineer
- Penetration and vulnerability tester
- Cyber security specialist
- Incident and intrusion analyst
What exactly a cyber security professional does will depend on a variety of factors, including the industry the cyber security professional works in, the company and the professional’s title. Cyber security professionals may specialize in certain areas of cyber security, carrying out actions like:
- Analysis: These cyber security professionals analyze, evaluate and review incoming cyber security information to determine its usefulness for intelligence.
- Collect and operate: Cyber security professionals in this specialty area carry out operations to collect cyber security information that may be used to develop intelligence.
- Investigate: Cyber security professionals may specialize in investigating cybercrimes and data breaches.
- Operate and maintain: These cyber security professionals provide administration, maintenance and support for IT system security and performance.
- Oversee and govern: Cyber security professionals in leadership positions provide advocacy, direction and management for an organization’s cyber security work.
- Protect and defend: Cyber security professionals may specialize in analyzing, identifying and mitigating cyber security threats.
- Securely provision: Cyber security professionals may be tasked with creating, designing and building secure IT systems.
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of specialties you can pursue as a cyber security professional. Any organization that relies on a computer network may benefit from a cyber security professional’s services.
You have the opportunity to work for a variety of diverse businesses and organizations. Whether you’re passionate about nonprofits or you want to work in government, there are open cyber security positions in all types of industries.
Typical Cyber Security Job Duties
Cyber security professionals analyze threats, plan security measures and execute security protocols to keep data safe and protect an organization’s computer systems and networks. Some cyber security professionals are in management or leadership positions. They typically manage and train teams and collaborate with executives to demonstrate the business case for cyber security.
Some typical cyber security job duties may include:
- Developing cyber security standards and training other cyber security professionals on cyber security procedures and products
- Building a secure computer system that fulfills an organization’s needs and protects against attacks
- Training users on how to protect the system and use its software
- Creating an organization’s disaster recovery plan to prevent against and to follow in case of cyber security emergencies, including to restore proper IT functioning after disasters
- Recommending security enhancements to organization stakeholders
- Monitoring an organization’s networks for security breaches, including viruses and malware
- Analyzing cybercrimes to determine how crimes occurred, identify patterns and prevent future cybercrimes
- Auditing cyber systems and cyber operations to provide independent reviews and recommendations for improving cyber systems
- Investigating cyber security violations
- Developing, selecting, installing or using software including data encryption programs and firewalls to protect sensitive information
- Preparing reports on security breaches and damage caused
- Conducting penetration testing to look for system vulnerabilities and mitigate network system threats, by using similar methods to a cybercriminal in simulated testing environments
- Researching cyber security trends and making recommendations
- Managing cyber security teams for large organizations
- Collaborating with third-party vendors, like cloud storage facilities
- Ensuring security practices are both cost-efficient and effective
Cyber security roles offer both autonomy and collaboration. While a cyber security professional may work independently on tasks like research, testing, threat detection and cyber security implementation, cyber security professionals may also be tasked with presenting reports and findings to key organization stakeholders. As a cyber security professional, you may have to explain the value of a cyber security technology you’re proposing. You may have to write and present reports on the business impact a data breach had on a company.
That’s why, in addition to technology skills and understanding the latest developments in cyber security, other in-demand cyber security skills managers are looking for include soft skills like leadership, problem-solving, analytical skills and relationship-building skills.
Find a Cyber Security Job in Arizona
The Arizona Technology Council and Pipeline AZ have created the IT and Cyber Career Network to match cyber security job seekers with their desired career. The hub can assist job seekers browse open cyber security jobs, research education and training resources and find scholarships available in the industry to further their career. There are several cyber security jobs in Arizona open right now. Visit www.ITCyberCareers.com to get started today!
Visit www.aztechcouncil.org/tech-events to view all of the Council’s upcoming virtual tech networking opportunities, engaging virtual tech events and in-person tech events.