How to get a job in cyber security

James Walsh, Head of Cyber Security Solutions, Hays UK&I

There are an estimated 3.5 million cyber security job vacancies worldwide. So how do you get a cyber security job?

Building upon our Global Cyber Security Report, we’ve explored why cyber security jobs are in demand. Our expert technology recruiters have summarised the best routes to a career in cyber security.

What are cyber security employers looking for?

According to Head of Cyber Security Solutions at Hays ANZ, Mathew Cotton, cyber security jobs are in higher demand due to the continued high-profile cyber threats. Many businesses are looking to avoid security breaches by investing in cyber programmes.

Additionally, the global increase in regulatory requirements many of which all have differing local nuances means organisations are continuing to source talent to address these evolving obligations.

With so many jobs available in cyber security, industry-specific experience is becoming less important. Employers in this sector are looking for sources of non-traditional talent.

The most popular sources of future talent are:

  • graduates
  • internal employees
  • university students
  • apprentices

Transferable skills to become a cyber security professional

If you’re looking to land a cyber security job, it’s important to understand your transferable skills. What skills do you already have, and how you can upskill to secure your career in cyber security?

Problem solving

One of the most important skills to have when applying for cyber security jobs is problem-solving. In a cyber security role you will actively identify problems and work out  solutions to avoid attacks.

Whether you know it or not, you will likely problem-solve in everyday life. Whether it be in your current job or in everyday activities, think of occasions where you’ve had to think on your feet and come up with a solution.

Examples of problem-solving:

  • Resolving an issue for an upset customer
  • Overcoming technical issues
  • Solving puzzles/brain games


When applying for a job in cyber security, it’s important to show that you are adaptable. This skill is particularly relevant now that employers are reaching out to broader talent pools.

Adaptability shows that you would be able to switch to a career in cyber security with ease. You should show an employer that you’ll be able to handle the job when it comes to it. Cyber security roles are always evolving and will require you to be confident in handling changes.

Examples of adaptability:

  • A previous role where you’ve had to multitask
  • Willingness to change your approach if it is no longer working
  • Learning a new method or technique when needed

Willingness to learn

Another important finding from our report is a potential employee's willingness to learn.

Switching careers will require determination and grit. You’ll need to show that you are willing to learn the ins and outs of the profession. Professional development will be an ongoing part of your career as the tech industry moves fast. You’ll need to keep track of new technologies that are constantly evolving.

Examples of willingness to learn:

  • Learning you’ve completed in your own time
  • Asking for growth opportunities at work
  • Embracing  new technology at work


In an interview on Hays’ ‘How Did You Get That Job?’ podcast, Neil Khatod, Head of Cyber Security Solutions at Hays Americas, details how he employs learnings from his military background. Neil applies the skill of remaining resilient and not accepting defeat to his daily work. He explains how resilience at work can be the difference between success and loss.

Cyber security jobs can be challenging. You will likely face security breaches, attacks and obstacles throughout. It’s essential to regain your composure after tough situations.

Examples of resilience:

  • A time when you put a positive perspective on a negative situation
  • Managing your emotions in a difficult situation
  • Finding motivation within yourself when facing a difficult situation

How can you upskill or reskill to get a cyber security job?

You may already have skills related to computer systems, development, and IT. To help fill the skills gap in the cyber security industry, you may want to learn more about new technologies. There are plenty of opportunities to upskill or reskill to become a cyber security engineer.

Learn more about AI

The topic of AI is huge across all workplaces at the moment. Our report found that AI is similarly essential for cyber security jobs. Training and upskilling on AI tools could boost your desirability to employers when looking at how to get a cyber security job.

The European Union has already released a draft regulation on the AI Act. This legislation defines the need for companies to ensure adequate AI competence and oversight. As such, knowledge of AI is certainly a desirable skill to add to your skill set.

Find out more about how to upskill in AI and future-proof your career.

Develop your existing IT skills

Previous work experience in IT, particularly in administration and developer roles, is certainly valuable for cyber security employers.

For example, if you have software development skills, then you can show experience of:

  • debugging and troubleshooting - showing that you are capable of collecting and handling evidence.
  • developing reporting software - showing reporting and documenting skills.
  • developing scope for a front-end product - showing skills in developing and documenting the scope and the plan.

Alternatively, if you are proficient in data analytics, then you can demonstrate skills in:

  • analysing and interpreting data. This shows that you can understand complex data sets.
  • programming and scripting languages knowledge. This shows that you are capable of learning the languages needed in cyber security, such as Java and Python.
  • familiarity with machine learning. This skill demonstrates knowledge of algorithms and ability to identify anomalies in data sets.

When applying for a job in cyber security, consider first how your existing skills could support the requirements of the job description.

In the modern job market, you don’t always need a degree in computer science to work in cyber security. Managing information system security requires a lot of valuable, transferable skills. Employers are often looking for the right candidate who can learn more technical skills at a later date.

Find more tips for using your skills to your advantage with Hays

Looking to succeed in a cyber security career? Find more information on cyber security jobs here:


James Walsh
Head of Cyber Security Solutns, Hays UK&I

James has worked in cyber security talent recruitment for over 15 years, finding and placing people at all seniority levels.