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March 22, 2023, by Leah Sharpe

The Cyber Security Industry Needs Talent From All Backgrounds With a Range of Skillsets

By Rhianne Short, UoN graduate

Information Security Consultant at Waterstons

Journey into cyber security

In 2018 I graduated from the University of Nottingham with BA Criminology and Sociology before staying on to complete a master’s in International Security and Terrorism. During this time, I changed my mind frequently about the kind of career I wanted, but elements of modules on both courses looked at the use of cyber and technology by threat actors which I found really interesting.

When looking for jobs during my master’s I came across cyber consultancy roles which didn’t require a technical background, just a passion for cyber security and a willingness to learn. I decided to apply for one of these roles on a whim and didn’t really think about the fact that the role was in ‘tech’, as I was more focused on the fact that it was centred around a topic I was really interested in. I was offered the role and have now been working in cyber security for nearly four years.

My current role

I am an Information Security Consultant for Waterstons, a technology consultancy and managed services provider. My role is really varied and I have the opportunity to work on different types of projects and with clients of different sizes across a number of different sectors. In one of my most recent projects I have managed cyber security awareness for a university and I have had to plan and manage awareness campaigns for 5500 members of staff and 30,000 students! Other projects you get to work on as a consultant include writing and implementing new policies for clients, training staff, auditing against cyber frameworks, managing risks and writing threat reports. 

Cyber security sector

A career in cyber security might not be the most obvious choice if you have an academic background in social sciences and politics like I have. However, the fact that it’s within the tech sector should not deter you if you do not have a technical background. Cyber security is not just an IT problem, it is an every-sector problem, and it is only by hiring cyber professionals from all backgrounds that we are equipped to deal with cyber risks holistically.

There are a number of transferable skills I gained from my academic background that I have benefited from in my current role. For example, analytical skills, the ability to summarise information clearly and concisely, and knowledge of socio-economic factors that influence human behaviour.

Cyber security is one of the most in demand industries when it comes to job vacancies, according to a report by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the number of advertised cyber security roles rose by 58% in 2021, while the shortfall of available personnel has more than tripled. There are many different roles in cyber security, which require a diverse range of skillsets as well.

A career in cyber security can offer many development and progression opportunities so it is a great time to start a career.

Explore our dedicated webpage all about careers in cyber security, including the kind of roles available, qualifications needed, and where to find a job or internship.


Posted in Alumni StoriesChoosing Your Career