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Cyber security careers: Become a tech defender

Cyber security careers

Become a digital superhero and safeguard our data and online lives!

The 2022 Optus hack, reported to have cost the company a jaw-dropping $140 million and thousands of customers, is an unsettling reminder of the dangers of cyber crime. A constant threat in our digital world, cyber crime is one of the fastest growing forms of crime. It can cause major financial losses and expose personal information like identity documents and medical records – pretty stressful all round! That’s where cyber security careers and experts step in – in this digital battlefield, they’re fighting tirelessly to safeguard our personal information.

On the cyber frontlines

As a cyber security professional, you’ll be protecting computer systems, networks and data from threats like hackers and viruses. Your day might start by investigating security alerts and any suspicious activities on the network. As part of a team, you’ll implement security measures such as firewalls and encryption to keep sensitive information safe. And one of the coolest parts of the job? Trying to outsmart hackers by understanding their tactics and making computer systems more secure. From police and defence forces to airlines, banks and private cyber security consultancies, a wide range of organisations need experts to tackle complex security challenges.

With an ever-increasing reliance on technology, the demand for cyber security experts is on the rise, making it a promising and rewarding career path for those willing to help keep the digital world safe. Are you ready to join the cyber frontlines?

Think like a hacker

Ethical hackers, also known as penetration testers, are cyber security professionals who play the role of a hacker and ‘attack’ a computer system in order to uncover its weaknesses. Understanding hackers’ motivations and skills is a key part of cyber security and helping organisations stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

Did you know?

The University of Queensland is home to AusCERT, the second oldest cyber emergency response team (CERT) in the world after Carnegie Mellon University in the United States.

In demand

In 2020, the Australian cyber security market was valued at a whopping $5.6 billion and experts predict it will grow to $7.6 billion by 2024! Here’s some exciting news: job opportunities are booming with a growth rate of 6% a year. It’s predicted that Australia will need 30,000 more cyber security professionals by 2026. 

Got the skills?

To be successful in cyber security careers, you’ll need a passion for staying up-to-date with the latest tech trends and a mix of skills such as these:

  • Technical knowhow with computers, networks, and programming languages
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills to effectively communicate complex technical concepts to managers, clients or end-users
  • Curiosity and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt 

Battle plan for cyber attacks

Targeted attacks pose serious threats to an organisation’s network system, potentially leading to data breaches or financial losses. To effectively handle such incidents, preparation and response strategies are crucial. 

Preparation: To respond promptly to cyber threats, organisations must have policies and plans in place, along with a team of technical ninjas ready to detect and address potential dangers.

Detection and analysis: Cyber security analysts play a pivotal role in identifying and confirming cyber incidents, assessing how bad they are and prioritising the response.

Containment and eradication: The impact of the incident is minimised using containment strategies to halt the effects of the cyber attack.

Post-incident recovery: After the incident, an assessment is conducted and a report is developed analysing how the situation was handled and how future incidents can be prevented.

Start your career here

Technology + cyber security + study

Cyber security careers

Salaries according to payscale.com 

This story first appeared in Careers with STEM: Technology 2023.

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