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Cyber Security Specialists: Skills, Roles & How to Become One

12th Sep, 2023
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    Cyber Security Specialists: Skills, Roles & How to Become One

    Cyber security is rapidly becoming more of a necessity than ever before. With the increased demand for cloud storage and online businesses, the demand for cyber security is at an all-time high. As businesses become more reliant on digital storage, they quickly realize the need to protect that data. Cyber security experts are in high demand as companies look to protect their money, their infrastructure, and their reputation. 

    Who ia  Cyber Security Expert/Specialist? 

    Cyber security is a massive issue in the modern age. With cyber-criminals lurking all over the internet, companies and other organizations must have reliable security measures to prevent a potential data breach. These specialists help keep a company's digital security safe. They analyze the security systems and ensure they are up-to-date and effective at protecting a company's data.  

    Additionally, they work with software and hardware to improve security. They are responsible for protecting clients with network security, cybercrime investigations, and digital forensics. The cyber security specialist salary ranges between $88,325 to $164,861 per annum in US. 

    Skills Required to be a Cyber Security Specialist

    Apart from the basic soft skills like communication, leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, below are the required technical cyber security specialist skills that no one can pass on- 

    1. Networking And System Administration 

    Computer networking is the most required ability to operate in cyber security. Since networking is the foundation of the internet, having a thorough understanding of it is essential if you want to pursue a career in cyber security. 

    Networking is the skill of understanding how data is sent, transported, and received among connected devices which make up a network. You must be familiar with the various OSI and TCP models of routing protocols. 

    2. Knowledge Of Operating Systems And Virtual Machines 

    You need to have an in-depth understanding of operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS to work in the field of cyber security. As a cyber security specialist, you want to feel at ease using any OS. Virtual reality (VMS) enables you to train and conduct a study in a private setting while enhancing your abilities. 

    Linux is widely used by cyber security experts and is equipped with several tools. Set up virtual machines, or VMS, and experiment with them to learn about operating systems.  

    3. Network Security Control 

    Network security control refers to the various methods used to improve, identify, and confidentiality of network security and is another fundamental skill that every cyber security expert should possess. You cannot protect your network unless you know how routers, firewalls, and other devices operate. 

    As a cybersecurity specialist, you must be able to use a firewall to filter and prevent unauthorized traffic from entering the network. In addition, you must be familiar with virtual private networks, remote access, intrusion detection systems, and intrusion prevention systems. 

    4. Coding 

    While it's true that not all cyber security professionals need or have coding abilities, not knowing how to code could limit your career options. Knowing a few programming languages will enable you to spot an attack's strategy and mount a defense against lethal hacking methods. Most operating systems are built on the c programming language, which you should be familiar with as a cyber security professional.  

    On the other hand, Python is a high-level programming language that is gaining popularity with cybersecurity professionals. You can't specialize in just one language in cyber security. You should at least know a few of them. 

    You can also take a crash course to master these languages. So choose the best programming language for your position in cyber security and familiarize yourself with the fundamentals.

    5. Cloud Security 

    In the upcoming years, there will be a rising need for cyber security experts with expertise in cloud security, especially IT security specialists. Companies are searching for someone with security expertise that applies to public and hybrid cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services as more businesses turn to cloud infrastructure for data storage and application hosting.

    This includes implementing policies and technological safeguards to safeguard cloud-based devices and systems. Like application development security, cloud security also includes developing secure systems from the outset. To detect and stop any cloud breaches, businesses need people who can handle the security technologies in the cloud.

    6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    AI - Artificial intelligence (AI) is the next level of technology innovations that developed machines capable of accomplishing tasks that generally require human intelligence. Though AI is considered one of the young innovations, it has been widely used to bring consistency and reliability to various technologies.

    There are four classes of AI: self-awareness, theory of mind, reactive machines, and limited memory.  

    AI has unmatched human capabilities that help detect suspicious activities online in a fraction of second that may otherwise have remained unaddressed. As a result, AI is widely used in cybersecurity sectors as it is equipped to address new emerging threats. 

    7. Familiarity with Operating Systems and Virtual Devices

    Deep knowledge of operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Amiga OS, Linux, and various virtual devices is an essential skill every cybersecurity professional should have. 

    Known as the most popular operating system among hackers, Kali Linux is a popular open-source model based on Linux Debian with over 600 instruments for malware analysis, penetration testing, reverse engineering, computer forensics, security analytics, and many others. Offensive Security has funded and is in charge of the maintenance of Kali Linux. 

    As a professional cybersecurity one should be trained and stay updated with all the operating systems and virtual device updates, as it helps to maximize their skills. 

    8. Blockchain Security

    Blockchain is an advanced technology that stores transactions in a digital ledger distributed across a computer network called blocks. Each block has a specific capacity to store information. When it reaches its maximum capacity, it is closed and linked to the filled block forming a blockchain data chain. Blockchain technologies manage the cryptocurrency’s existence.  

    With a complex process, a high level of security, and a complex algorithm, blockchain is one of the most robust chains of networks. Furthermore, to enter the blockchain system, one needs to eliminate the data saved on every user’s system located in various geographical locations globally. Therefore, it is almost impossible to hack such an extensive data network system; hence, it lowers the risks of getting unauthorized access by cybercriminals. Learn various IT Security Courses online and upgrade your skills. 

    Role of a Cyber Security Expert

    An effective cybersecurity professional must manage risks in order to address them, minimize them, and control them. With the advancement in technology, new security threats may arise at any time of the day. Thus the internet security expert needs to stay alert and updated with the latest hacker tactics In addition, web security experts have some responsibilities to take care of:  

    • Monitor the application performance and network to identify some unusual activities. 
    • Safeguarding organization information systems and implementing comprehensive vulnerability security improvements  
    • Performing regular cyber audits to ensure security techniques are compliant.  
    • Work closely with information security experts and set up a shared disaster recovery continuity plan. 
    • Notify users when the system is under maintenance by communicating system status.  

    One of the famous cybersecurity experts, Kevin Mitnick, the author of the best-selling The Art of Invisibility and owner of Mitnick Security, is a security consultant to Fortune 500 companies and the governments of many countries globally. In addition, Kevin also helps the FBI close cybersecurity cases with his extraordinary talents and intelligence. 

    Cyber Security Specialist: Job Description

    The primary goal of cyber security specialists is to maintain the data and IT infrastructure of a company, which necessitates a broad range of duties and skills. This IT expert will conduct threat and risk analysis and examine the business effect of new and existing systems and technologies to remove risk, performance, and capacity issues.  

    They set up audits of operating systems, web servers, and databases, as well as vulnerability assessments, and they look for patterns, dangerous features, and criminal activity in the infrastructure. Also, conduct investigations into, trials of, assessments of, and deployments of security techniques, and run diagnostics on any data changes to check for undiscovered breaches. Get the upper hand on the same by doing a Cyber Security certification course. 

    Steps to Becoming a Cyber Security Expert   

    The position of a cyber security expert is crucial since internal data breaches frequently occur, either on purpose or unintentionally. With the right guidance, one can easily concur on such issues. Below are simple steps to follow on how to become a cybersecurity expert- 

    Step 1: Get A Minimum Required Education 

    The positions in the cybersecurity specialist category, like the majority of other cybersecurity vocations, call for some kind of academic education. A degree in systems engineering, computer science, or a related subject and two years of professional experience in forensics, incident detection and response, and other cybersecurity-related tasks is required.  

    Knowing how firewalls work, operating them, and maintaining various endpoint security measures is a must.

    Step 2: Specialize In Industry Certifications And Clearances

    Obtaining the appropriate industry certifications and/or clearances is a crucial step in career preparation, as is customary in many other cybersecurity job pathways.

    Step 3: Use Your Theoretical Knowledge For Experience And Work 

    Demonstrating relevant experience is another critical component of landing a job as a cybersecurity professional. This can come in the form of additional, related work experience, a planned internship, or other structured hands-on learning. 

    Step 4: Get Out There- Socialize And Network 

    It's always a good idea to look for chances to expand your professional network. There are several network-focused professional cybersecurity clubs and organizations that are created primarily to inform members about cyber security expert job vacancies and possibilities for professional growth. 

    Educational Requirements

    A graduate degree in computer science, IT security, or a closely connected discipline is required in terms of education. An additional benefit is having a master's program or degree.  

    Typically, a technical bachelor's degree is needed to advance into some of the positions mentioned before. You will have the advantage of advancing your career if you earn a recognized certification or a master's degree with a technical security focus. 

    Cyber Security Certifications

    When you first begin your job, qualifications for security specialists might not be necessary. However, they are worthwhile goals to aim toward while acquiring some job experience and may be useful when it comes to promotions. Options for certification might include: 

    1. EC-Council Network Security Administrator (ENSA) 

    The Network Security Administrator (ENSA) certification from the EC-Council attests to a network specialist's proficiency in defending a network against threats. This person is typically in charge of establishing the security guidelines for a business. Important information is provided in these security policies for protecting the organization's network and avoiding network attacks.

    2. Cisco Certified Network Associate - Routing And Switching (CCNA) 

    Your ability to maneuver through the ever-evolving IT environment is demonstrated by your CCNA certification. The networking, IP services, security, automation, and programmability fundamentals are covered in the CCNA test. Your ability to manage and optimize today's most complex networks is confirmed by the CCNA certification, which was designed for flexibility and agility. 

    3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) 

    The CISM certification, geared at management, supports international security standards and recognizes the individual who plans, maintains, monitors and evaluates an organization's information security.

    The CISM certification is the internationally regarded standard of excellence in this area, and there is an increasing need for knowledgeable information security management professionals.

    4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) 

    The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, generally known as (ISC)2, created the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) information security credential.  

    An IT security professional's technical proficiency and practical expertise in designing and administering a security program are attested to by the vendor-neutral, internationally recognized CISSP qualification. 

    5. CompTIA's Popular Base-Level Security Certification (Security+) 

    Many IT workers begin their cybersecurity education with the CompTIA Security+ certification. Candidates must exhibit fundamental cybersecurity expertise and carry out fundamental security duties, such as configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting networks, to achieve this vendor-neutral, entry-level certification.  

    Anyone just beginning their career as a cybersecurity professional would benefit greatly from earning this Security+ certification. It has a three-year validity period and renewed calls for 50 continuing education (CE) credits. You can equally get a CEH course certification and level up your knowledge and experience.

    Discover the Affordable ITIL Foundation Certification Cost. Boost Your Career with ITIL - the Ultimate Framework for Effective IT Service Management. Enroll Today!

    The Stages of Career Development for a Cyber Security Specialist

    Since a security specialist is essentially an entry-level position in the vast field of cyber security, there are positions you can start in at first. Earning the right certification(s) is also key for a cybersecurity professional who moves from an entry position to an advanced career level. There are many paths to executive-level positions, making it a fantastic field to enter. The stages are as follows- 



    • IT Project Manager 
    • Security Manager 
    • Security Consultant 
    • Security Architect 

    Executive-Level/ Advanced-level

    • Chief Information  
    • Security Officer 
    • Security Director 

    Cyber security Specialists Stages

    Final Thoughts

    As a cyber security specialist, you will contribute to and provide security for networks, software systems, and data centers as a cybersecurity specialist. You will need to look for hazards and vulnerabilities in a company's software and hardware because this is a demanding industry. Prepare yourself for a fabulous career in cyber security with KnowledgeHut’s Cyber Security Certification course and be a step ahead of your peers.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What is the salary of a cybersecurity expert?

    The salary of a cybersecurity expert in India is between INR 300,000 to INR 10,00,000 per annum. While, in the USA, a cyber security expert earned between USD 3093 to USD 93,925 per annum. 

    2What are cyber security experts/specialists?

    Cyber security experts are specialists in charge of monitoring the organization's network to prevent unauthorized access. To safeguard the systems from cyber threats, cyber security experts implement cyber strategies such as robust firewalls, encryption, strong passwords, and solid cyber frameworks. 

    3Is Cyber security difficult?

    Learning cyber security courses can range from easy to moderate to difficult. It depends upon the specific cyber security course you are learning. A cyber security program is more about discipline and challenging yourself, as in the rapidly evolving world one needs to keep upgrading their skills.

    4Can I learn cyber security by myself?

    Yes, you can learn cyber security programs by yourself. Understanding programming languages can help you to build a stable career in the field of cybersecurity. 


    Shweta Lakhwani


    Shweta Lakhwani runs a travel business - "Voyage Planner" based in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), India. In addition, she is a freelance writer and wins her clients with her creative writing skill. She creates content on various topics such as travel, entertainment, self-help, science, education, information technology (IT), cryptocurrency, insurance, medical, real estate, personal growth, business development, health care, and lifestyle. She is also a Brand Ambassador at the Isla Ida Bracelet and a partner at the Eden Reforestation Projects. She advocates free and life-changing travel experiences while positively influencing the planet.

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