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How to get a job as a security engineer: skills, qualifications, responsibilities and salary

Scott Carey | Aug. 26, 2016
The UK has a growing skills gap for security engineers, here's what you need to know about the sector

"Machine learning is a real game changer in the rapidly-evolving cyber threat landscape," he says. "The chance to work with world class mathematicians and intelligence specialists was a very attractive prospect - and I have been kept on my toes ever since!"

For public sector roles, a sample interview with a cyber engineer at GCHQ reads: "Coming here as a graduate, I'd say it's important to have an analytical mind and approach problems scientifically because a lot of your success will be based on the solutions you come up with.

"In terms of being a part of the organisation, you've got be quite a friendly person because it's like a community here. You have to be prepared to engage with people."

Security engineer jobs: Tips for budding security engineers

Martin's top tip for budding security engineers is to start learning new skills straight away.

"Watch YouTube videos, subscribe to security blogs and keep up-to-date on recent hacks in the news," he says.

"Try securing your home network. Remember, you don't need a Masters in Cyber Security or ten years at GCHQ. An enthusiastic attitude and understanding of the main industry challenges can take you a long way."

CGI's Rogoyski adds: "If you want a varied and interesting career in cyber security, you need to join an organisation that specialises in it."

Security engineer jobs: Government perspective

To mitigate the aforementioned skills gap, George Osborne promised £20 million towards a new Institute of Coding, more cyber security apprenticeships, retraining programmes for workers looking to move into cyber and an after school programme for 14 to 17 year olds.

When it comes to retraining programmes, Rogoyski from CGI UK says: "Software developers, engineers, mathematicians and data scientists are very well placed to start a career in cyber security."

Security engineer jobs: Diversity

Diversity is as much an issue in cyber security as it is across the tech sector, with (ISC)2's 2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study (pdf) showing that women in the security profession represent just ten percent of the workforce. Worse still this figure remains fairly static from two years ago, despite growth in the sector as a whole.

Rogoyski from CGI UK says: "We need more gender diversity in cyber security - it's a very male-dominated business. Many of the women we interview are put off by the gender bias, so we have to work hard to persuade them to take up a role. It's a priority for us as balanced teams perform demonstrably better."

 

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