With recent cyber security attacks causing such uproar, we turn the spotlight on to the role of a cyber security engineer. What does a cyber security engineer do? And why is the role so crucial to a wider cyber security team?
We did some investigating and spoke to Helen Oswell, a cyber security engineer and woman in tech, about her chosen career path as a cyber security engineer.
What is a cyber security engineer?
As our world becomes more reliant on digital systems, cyber security becomes a more pressing issue. The role of a cyber security engineer isn’t simply to build security systems, it’s to find vulnerabilities and secure IT infrastructure of an organisation.
The three main areas of a cyber security engineer’s role will be engineering and monitoring security measures for the IT systems in a company. They also identify and advise on what systems need to be in place in order for a company to be secure. The final stage is then to design the actual systems and implement them throughout a business. This often requires not only the hard skills to identify risks and then engineer the systems, but the people skills to carry it through to completion.
A cyber security engineer:
- Builds security systems.
- Searches for vulnerabilities in hardware and software.
- Suggests ways for businesses to secure their IT infrastructure.
- Monitors for attacks.
Day in the life of a cyber security engineer
When we spoke to cyber security engineer, Helen Oswell, about her role at 6point6. Her role in the business involves the building security systems and improving vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure of a company. She explained:
“I work on tools and designs and work on structure papers during a normal day. My favourite part of the role is designing tools and implementing them - for example working on a vulnerability management tool in a cloud environment.”
In terms of demand for cyber security engineers, Helen explained that the demand for cyber security professionals is higher than ever. She told us that a normal day would involve an interview due to the demand at the current time.
“Normally there’s an interview thrown in, everyone’s recruiting in cyber security at the moment. Very often I’ll have a phone interview or a face to face… there aren’t enough people to fill the places. There's definitely room for people in the industry.”
How can you get ahead in cyber security?
The demand is high for cyber security professionals, but what’s the best way to secure the interview? Helen explained that it’s people skills combined with the crucial knowledge that will help break into the industry doable. She went on:
“You need hard skills to get ahead in this industry. You need to know what you’re talking about when it comes to cyber security and IT structure because otherwise, you won't be capable of doing the job. Having training is a must! Make sure you have the hard skills you need and you have the tools you need, but also you need people skills.”
Why are businesses taking notice of cyber security?
With so many businesses suddenly taking notice of cyber security and investing in hiring qualified professionals, we asked Helen why it’s so important for businesses to invest in protecting themselves against cyber security attacks. She explained that “there’s always going to be organised crime groups so it’s very much you’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys.”
She confirmed that it’s now more important than ever for businesses to tighten up their cyber security measures. Whilst hiring cyber security professionals can cost businesses she explained that “the real cost is when all your data gets hacked and your business can’t function”.
Are you thinking about enrolling in a cyber security course to kickstart your career as a cyber security engineer? See what past student, Jonathan, says about his experience on a Cyber Security course with us in his recent student testimonial.