Since the start of the 21st century, the internet has played a larger and larger role in the lives of people across the world – so much so that today, most of us spend hours at a time on the web, shopping, gaming, working, watching videos, researching and much more.
But with this increased use, the internet presents newer and potentially more dangerous risks in the shape of cybercrime. Cyber criminals are constantly developing new and more intricate ways of preying on victims in all corners of the digital world, and the more advanced software becomes, the more malicious cybercrime can be.
Acting as the first line of defence against cybercrime are the world’s online security experts, who draw from a vast wealth of knowledge to frustrate, overturn and protect against the efforts of cybercriminals to steal from businesses and individuals alike. A cyber security career can see professionals take on the role of making the internet a safer place for everyone.
In this blog we’re going to find out exactly how someone can get started on a cyber security career path, identifying what roles are available and what you can do to get into those roles.
Why is online security so important? 
Cybersecurity has an enormous role in keeping you, as both a professional and an individual, safe while you browse the web or work online. Online security keeps you protected from a range of potential cyber attacks that can threaten your:
Privacy – With so much of the admin and communications of our personal lives taking place online, an advanced cybercriminal can be gifted a number of opportunities to steal your data and to find deeply personal information about you that you may not wish to be shared, such as medical history, bank details or text messages between your colleagues or your friends and family. This information can then be sold on to malicious parties for it to be used against you.
Electronic devices – Cyber attacks go beyond just your data and your online identity – they can also target your electronic devices and information technology such as phones, laptops and tablets. Particularly nasty examples of malicious software include things like viruses, trojan horses and worms – the worst of these can significantly slow down your computer, lock your files for a ransom, or completely wipe everything. This can be particularly problematic for businesses because it can upend processes and waste invaluable money, time and IT resources.
Online identity – As we saw above, with everything from banking to medical profiles being managed and updated online, a lot of our personal data can end up online, either by our own choosing or through the actions of malicious cybercriminals. One of the problems that can happen when this data gets stolen is where criminals will use your identity to carry out activities against your will and that you more than likely won’t be aware of. These activities can sometimes be illegal, and can be tracked back to you, which can cause very real problems offline.
It is because of threats like these that your online security is exceptionally important – so having the best computer security measures available to protect you, your data and your electronic equipment is paramount.
What jobs are available in online security? 
For those looking to take their first steps into online security, the good news is, there are an array of different roles available. These include:
IT security engineer – An IT security engineer is a computer technician working for an organisation. They are in charge of ensuring the organisation’s IT systems are protected from cyberthreats – this includes things like managing antivirus software, running security checks to identify weaknesses, reviewing database network security, creating data backups in the case of an attack and much more.
Information security analysts – Information security analysts oversee the development of cybersecurity systems within an organisation. Unlike a security engineer who manages the day-to-day running of those systems, a security analyst acts like a developer who organises the security measures, sourcing and installing the right software and creating response plans in the event of a cyberattack.
Security software developer – Security software developers are tasked with programming and developing new and more advanced security software to help businesses and individuals stay protected against viruses and malware. As a programmer, these cyber security professionals are also used by organisations to create specific solutions to specific threats.
Penetration testers – Penetration testing roles are a little different to other cyber security positions in that penetration testers actively seek to breach the cyber security systems used by businesses. They are paid by businesses to do this so that they can identify potential breaches before they happen, and they know where to focus their cyber security efforts from the penetration tester’s report.
Those are just some examples of cyber security career paths you can follow if you intend to get into the internet security field. Find out more about these roles with this guide.
How do you get a job to work in online security?
Cyber security is a very knowledge-heavy field which requires specific training, education and experience. This is because online security professionals need to be able to quickly identify security issues and to know exactly how to deal with them when they do come up. These responsibilities need insights that can only be taught by other security specialists.
As the field of cyber security becomes more established, so too do the opportunities to study become more numerous and more accessible. Many online courses can provide the kind of training you need to embark on a career path in the online security field.
One example of these online courses is the University of Liverpool’s Cyber Security MSc, a full master’s degree in cyber security that provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the online threats that internet users face today, as well as practical education on how to mitigate those threats with robust cyber security measures and strategies.
The University of Liverpool Cyber Security MSc goes beyond just teaching the technical aspects of online security; it also gives students the problem-solving skills, the international perspective and the guidance to create their own eportfolio to make them more employable in the world of cyber-security and beyond.
Find out more about how this degree can help with your cyber security prospects with the Cyber Security MSc course page.