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What is cyber security?

What is Cyber Security

We answer all your burning cyber security career questions here!

No doubt you’ve heard the words ‘cyber security’ being used everywhere from school to in the news lately. But what is it, why is it relevant and what does it have to do with you and your future career? We explore all this and more (think hackathons, up-skilling, your future employers, school electives etc!) so you can become an expert on this in-demand area of STEM.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security is the practice of protecting systems, networks and programs from cyber crime. Cyber crime includes everything from identity fraud from stolen information, to hacking bank accounts and stealing money. It’s a big issue, as we’ve seen recently with the Optus and Medibank data breaches, and one that costs the Australian $3.5 billion a year.

How in demand are cyber security skills?

With advancing tech and continued threats, demand for cyber security pros will remain high with at least 17,000 more jobs by 2026, according to Your Career. But not only are their plenty or roles to go around, the areas in which you can work are broad, technical and non-technical, and relevant to people with a range of interests and passions, from advanced computer science to human psychology and behaviour, to global politics, education and communication.

Even if you aren’t keen on completing a cyber security degree or major, choosing cyber electives at uni can equip you with the skills STEM employers are looking for.

What jobs are there in cyber security?

One of the best ways to fight cyber crime is to work in cyber security! You could be a:


FREE DOWNLOAD: Information Security Analyst Job Kit


What cyber security companies could I work for?

You could work at places like Palo Alto Networks (a cyber security platform that provides network and cloud security), as well as consultancies like Darktrace and CyberCX. Big companies like Google, Commonwealth Bank, Atlassian and EY also employ cyber pros, as do small and medium-sized businesses. Everyone needs to keep their data secure!

Where else could I work?

So many industries need cyber experts on their team. You could work in Defence, finance, tech, healthcare, space, energy, insurance and more.


RELATED: 5 surprising sectors that need cyber security grads


What soft skills do I need for these careers?

Being a team player and a good communicator are super important. If you have sharp problem solving skills, an eye for detail and you’re an analytical thinker, you’ll stand out from the crowd too.

What can I do while still at school to help me in this career area?

Choose your electives wisely! Subjects like maths and digital technologies are handy, as well as English – it helps with things like analytical thinking and attention to detail (as do other creative electives).

You should also jump on any opportunities to participate in student cyber security challenges and hackathons (ANSTO runs a fun one during National Science Week!).

Oh, and reading the latest issue of Careers with STEM: Cyber Security will keep you ahead of the game too.

How do I up-skill in this field?

One option is to get yourself a graduate certificate or diploma. They’re fast, low-cost and highly regarded by employers. Read more about this here. Cyber bootcamps can also be a great way to get up-to-date skills quickly. These are offered by unis like the University of Sydney, UNSW, Monash, and the University of Western Australia.

Where can I hear from people already working in this industry?

So glad you asked! We’ve profiled stacks of cyber professionals and you can read their career stories (and spy their CVs!) on our role models hub.

You can also meet a cyber TAFE grad and digital forensics expert in our live webinar recording below.

Stay across all the latest in STEM careers by signing up to our e-newsletter and subscribing to our YouTube channel!

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