How to Become a Cyber Security Leader in 2024

Jon Cosson Cyber Security Expert

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With cyber attacks on the rise and our increasing reliance on technology, there has never been a better time to pursue a career in cyber security. The demand for skilled professionals in this field is skyrocketing, and with the right knowledge cybersecurity education and experience, you can become a sought-after cyber security leader.

In this blog post, we will explore the various roles and responsibilities of cyber security leaders, the essential skills required, education and certification pathways, gaining experience, and the salary prospects and job outlook for this exciting career.

Short Summary

  • Cyber security experts are responsible for designing and deploying secure network solutions to protect organisations from online threats.

  • Essential skills include technical proficiency, analytical & problem-solving abilities, communication & collaboration skills, which can be developed through education and experience.

  • The job outlook is highly promising with salaries ranging from £60k-£200k per year with a projected growth rate of 36% by 2025.

The Role of a Cyber Security Leader

One trainee man working with a Cyber Security Leader on a computer

The world of cyber security is vast and ever-changing, with new threats emerging daily. Cyber security experts play a crucial role in protecting sensitive data and providing highly secured network solutions for organisations across various industries.

These professionals possess a strong background in computer science, network engineering, and computer operating systems.

Protecting Data Integrity

Data integrity is core to any information security specialist or expert’s role. Ensuring the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data, as well as protecting it against unauthorised access or modification, is vital for maintaining trust and reliability within an organisation. Cyber security specialists must stay up-to-date on emerging threats and implement security measures to guarantee data integrity.

As a certified information systems auditor or security certified practitioner, security audits are a key component of this process, with these professionals assisting organizations in conducting thorough and effective audits. The average salary for a cyber security expert with strong data integrity skills is quite competitive, reflecting the importance of this responsibility.

Network and System Security

Beyond data integrity, cyber security experts also focus on network and system security. This includes the implementation of firewalls, encryption, and authentication measures to protect networks, systems, and programs from digital attacks and security breaches. Firewalls, for example, are security systems that monitor and control the flow of incoming and outgoing network traffic according to established security guidelines, with ethical hacking sometimes used to test their effectiveness.

Encryption and authentication are crucial components employed by cyber security professionals to safeguard data and ensure that only authorized users can access computer systems. Ongoing monitoring is critical for cybersecurity experts to identify irregularities and monitor activities in documents and reports, with systems engineering playing a key role in developing effective monitoring solutions.

Working with IT Teams

Collaborating with IT teams is an essential aspect of a cyber security expert’s role. This collaboration ensures that all security policies and protocols are followed and that all systems are correctly set up and safeguarded.

Cyber security experts must be able to effectively communicate with IT teams and convey technical information in a way that is easily understood by non-technical personnel. This collaboration is especially important when dealing with complex security issues and ensuring that the organization’s security measures are robust and effective.

Essential Skills for Cyber Security Experts

Cyber Security Expert Skills

To excel in the field of cyber security, experts must possess a unique combination of skills. These skills include technical proficiency, analytical and problem-solving abilities, and communication and collaboration.

Acquiring these skills is critical for any aspiring cyber security expert, and through appropriate education and practical experience, one can master these essential abilities.

Technical Proficiency

Technical proficiency is the foundation upon which a successful cyber security career is built. This includes a deep understanding of programming languages, operating systems, and networking.

A cyber security expert must be knowledgeable in areas such as networking and system administration, operating systems and virtual machines, network security control, coding, and risk identification and management. Possessing a solid foundation in these areas ensures that a cyber security professional can effectively design and implement the necessary security measures to protect an organization’s digital assets.

Analytical and Problem-Solving Abilities

In addition to technical proficiency, cyber security experts must possess strong analytical and problem-solving abilities. These skills enable them to identify potential threats, evaluate risks, examine data, and discover patterns to detect and address security issues.

Analytical and problem-solving abilities are crucial for cyber security experts to navigate the complex landscape of cyber threats and devise effective strategies to protect an organization’s digital assets.

Communication and Collaboration

Communication and collaboration skills are essential for cyber security experts to work effectively with other professionals and convey technical information to non-technical personnel. Strong written and verbal communication skills are vital for a cyber security expert to articulate technical concepts in an understandable manner and to effectively discuss the topic at various levels within the organization.

Compliance analysts, for instance, must continually communicate with other teams regarding the risks they are facing. Effective communication and collaboration skills are crucial for cyber security experts to work productively with other professionals and ensure the organization’s information security and measures are robust and effective.

Education and Certification Pathways

Cyber Security Accreditations

To become a cyber security expert, one must follow a well-defined educational and certification pathway. This includes obtaining a degree in computer science or a related field, attaining industry certifications, the cyber security expert requirements and participating in continuing education to stay up-to-date on the latest threats and industry advancements.

Pursuing these pathways will provide the necessary foundation for a successful career in cyber security.

Degree Programs

Cyber Security Degrees

Obtaining a full bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in computer science or a related field is a crucial step in becoming a cyber security expert. A variety of degree programs are available, including MSc in Computer Science for Cyber Security, MSc in Cyber Security, BSc in Cyber Security, and numerous Bachelor Degrees in Cyber Security.

These degree programs provide the necessary foundation in computer science, networking, and other technical areas, paving the way for a successful career in cyber security.

Industry Certifications

In addition to formal education, industry certifications play a vital role in validating one’s knowledge and skills in the field of cyber security. Certifications such as CISSP, CEH, CCSP, CISA, and others, and cybersecurity certifications including Certified Cloud Security Professional, are available for cyber security professionals. These certifications are globally recognized and demonstrate a candidate’s expertise in various aspects of cyber security, such as identifying, assessing, and mitigating security risks in an organization’s system.

Obtaining these certifications can be advantageous to one’s career growth and showcase a commitment to professional excellence.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is essential for cyber security experts to remain informed on the most recent technologies and threats. Through webinars, training courses, certifications, and conferences, cyber security professionals can stay current on industry trends and advancements, ensuring that they are always prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Staying up-to-date in this ever-evolving field is crucial for maintaining a successful and rewarding career in cyber security.

Building Experience in Cyber Security

Cyber Security

Gaining practical experience is a critical component of becoming a successful cyber security expert. Internships, entry-level roles, and involvement in professional organizations all provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the field of cyber security.

By pursuing these avenues, aspiring cyber security experts can build a strong foundation in the field and advance their careers.

Internships and Co-ops

Internships and co-ops offer invaluable opportunities for aspiring cyber security experts to gain practical experience in the field. Participating in an internship or co-op provides a unique chance to apply the knowledge and skills acquired through education to real-world situations, hone one’s abilities, and make valuable connections with professionals in the cybersecurity industry.

These experiences can be instrumental in building a solid foundation for a successful career in cyber security.

Read our article on Cyber Security Apprenticeships

Entry-Level Roles

Entry-level roles in cyber security provide a critical stepping stone to gain relevant experience and eventually progress to well-paid managerial roles. Positions such as Cyber Security Trainee, Junior Cyber Security Analyst, Security Analyst/Manager, Security Engineer, Security Consultant, and Penetration Tester offer invaluable opportunities to gain hands-on experience and build a strong foundation in the cyber security field.

By starting in an entry-level role, aspiring cyber security experts can develop the skills and knowledge necessary to advance in their careers and become successful professionals in the field.

Networking and Professional Organisations

Networking and joining professional organizations can provide invaluable opportunities for aspiring cyber security experts to stay informed of industry trends, learn from experienced professionals, and build lasting connections in the field. Professional organizations and conferences such as Secure World, RSA Conference, and Info-security Europe offer excellent platforms to connect with peers in the field and gain insights into the latest developments in cyber security.

By actively participating in these events, aspiring cyber security experts can expand their professional network and stay current on industry trends, further enhancing their career prospects.

Cyber Security Salaries and Job Outlook

Cyber Security Roles

As the demand for skilled cyber security professionals continues to grow, the salaries and job outlook for this field are highly promising. In this section, we will explore the salary ranges for cyber security experts based on their job roles and experience, as well as the top job opportunities and growth predictions for the coming years.

The average salary for a cyber security expert ranges from $60,000 to $150,000 per year, depending on the job role and experience. Entry-level positions typically start at around $60.

Salary Ranges

The salary range for a cyber security expert in the UK typically falls between £50,000 and £80,000 per year, depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. Entry-level positions generally begin at approximately £25,000 to £35,000 per year.

These figures indicate the lucrative nature of a career in cyber security and underscore the importance of acquiring the necessary technical skills, and experience to become a successful expert in the field.

Job Growth Predictions

The job outlook for cyber security experts is highly optimistic, with a projected growth rate of 36% by 2024 due to the heightened demand for online cyber security roles. As cyber threats continue to rise and organizations increasingly rely on technology, the demand for skilled cyber security professionals will only continue to grow.

This presents a tremendous opportunity for aspiring cyber security experts to enter a field with strong job prospects and excellent earning potential.

Factors Driving Demand

Several factors contribute to the growing demand for cyber security experts. The increasing reliance on technology and the need for strategic thinking to protect sensitive data and systems are driving organizations to invest heavily in cyber security professionals.

Furthermore, the rise in cyber attacks and data breaches, coupled with the sophistication of hackers employing increasingly advanced methods and techniques, underscores the importance of having skilled professionals dedicated to these security incidents and developing and advancing security solutions.

As a result, the high demand for for cyber security experts is expected to continue growing in the coming years.


In conclusion, becoming a cyber security or cybersecurity expert, is a rewarding and lucrative career path with significant growth potential. By acquiring the necessary skills, education, and certifications, and gaining hands-on experience through internships, entry-level roles, and professional organizations, aspiring cyber security experts can build a solid foundation for success in this rapidly evolving field.

With the ever-increasing reliance on technology and the growing threats to our digital assets, the demand for skilled cyber security professionals is expected to remain strong for years to come. Seize this opportunity and start your journey towards becoming a sought-after cyber security expert today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cyber security expert?

A Cybersecurity Specialist is an expert in the field of cyber security and data protection. They work to defend networks, systems, and programs from digital attacks by hackers or other malicious actors.

Their job includes identifying threats, researching and analysing data, implementing preventive measures to prevent cyber attacks, and developing countermeasures for when a breach occurs.

How do you become a cyber security expert?

If you’re interested in becoming a Cyber Security Expert, there are many steps you can take. You will need to obtain a degree in Computer Science or a related field, followed by gaining a master’s level in Cyber Protection relevant area, registering for an accredited training course, and gaining experience working on industry-related Cyber Security projects.

With dedication and focus, you too can be an expert in cyber security.

Who is the top cyber crime expert?

Troy Hunt is widely regarded as the top cyber crime expert in the world. He has been working as an independent security researcher since 2012, and his Have I Been Pwned (HIBP) project is extremely popular among cybersecurity experts and users alike.

Through this project, Troy offers individuals the opportunity to monitor potential data breaches and other online threats.

Is cyber security specialist a good job?

Cyber security and cybersecurity specialists can look forward to good job prospects and a competitive salary due to the growing need for such professionals. With the right qualifications and expertise, it can be a rewarding career with great potential.

How long does it take to be an expert in cyber security?

Becoming an expert in cyber security is an achievable goal with dedication and time. It typically takes up to two years to become an expert in the field, and this depends on the individual’s level of experience and educational path.

Those already working in IT or taking a coding bootcamp may be able to transition into this field more quickly.

External references

  1. CompTIA Blog: This blog provides a wealth of information about various aspects of cybersecurity, including career paths and certifications.
  2. CSO Online: This website offers a variety of articles on cybersecurity, including how to become a professional in the field.
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With over three decades of experience in the heart of London’s financial sector, I have dedicated my career to the pursuit of robust cybersecurity practices and IT leadership. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.

My journey in the field of cybersecurity has not only been about personal growth but also about sharing my insights with others. As an international speaker, I have had the privilege of addressing audiences worldwide, discussing the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age. My passion for knowledge sharing extends to my work as an author and blogger, where I delve into the complexities of cybersecurity, offering practical advice and thought leadership.

In my role as a CISO and Head of IT, I have overseen the development and implementation of comprehensive information security and IT strategies. My focus has always been on creating resilient systems capable of withstanding the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

My Master’s degree in Cybersecurity has provided a solid academic foundation, which, when combined with my practical experience, allows me to approach cybersecurity from a holistic perspective.

I am always open to connecting with other professionals in the field, sharing knowledge, and exploring new opportunities. Let’s secure the digital world together.