Skills and Training

***NEWS!***

(ISC)2 are offering a free entry-level cyber security qualification for the first 100,000 applicants to sign up.

To find out more about this opportunity, visit their website.


The world of computing and technology is expanding, and fast. Almost every part of life is becoming digitised to some extent and, as a result, the range of skills needed in the industry is growing, as well as the number of job opportunities.

There is a wealth of skills-building, self-learning and formal training available, and much of it is free to use. Developing a passion for and skill in cyber security while still at school can stand you in good stead for finding the right job in the industry, although it’s never too late to start learning!

young teen brunette girl in yellow tshirt sat at desk, writing notes in a notebook in front of an open laptop
image of a laptop on a desk with chalkboard writing Never Stop Learning
late teen male sits working on open laptop

Many companies have started to recognise self-learning and the use of such platforms, so even with no formal qualifications, it is possible to secure a role in the world of cyber. It is important you validate the quality of the online platform for yourself by researching who the provider is and what they offer. Many do not charge until you want to sit an examination, when they may take a referral or examination fee.

At SEROCU, we can only endorse those training platforms provided by or on behalf of UK Government or Law Enforcement – others are mentioned for information only.

Recognising the gap between current skills levels and the number of job openings, the government has also put in place various formal training routes for those aged 17+. It is important you do your own research to find which route is most suitable for you – and tailored to your style of learning. A degree isn’t for everyone and many people like the more vocational style of an apprenticeship; degree apprenticeships combine both worlds.

The three formal training routes into a cyber security career

You will need to develop your own plan for where you want to go. Industry are looking for skills and abilities as well as qualifications and will often pay for you to gain accredited specialisms once employed so you don’t need every certificate going before you get a job. Volunteering in the field is never a bad thing – perhaps consider helping the next generation through extra-curricular clubs.

To learn more about the careers available in cyber security and related fields, take a look at our careers page.

For those people with an interest or ability in computers and/or the digital world, there are lots of opportunities for training, to build on those skills or interests, and many careers available in the industry. Click on the buttons below to be taken to the section you are interested in.


Early Skills

If you are looking to test the water to find out whether or not you might be interested in developing your knowledge and understanding of cyber security, as well as developing some beginner technical skills, these resources are for you! Remember, whatever skills you are learning and practising, make sure you are making the right #CyberChoices – learn about the law and computer misuse first, and make sure to spread the word!

CyberFirst

CyberGamesUK (from Cyber Security Challenge UK and the National Crime Agency)

PBS Nova Labs

InnovateHer

Pre-teen boy sat at a desk typing code into a computer

It is worth taking a look at the resources on our Education Resources pages too, as there may be some other options there that interest you.


Advanced Skills

Feel like you could take on more of a challenge? If you’ve already begun to code, or know more about cyber security basics and want to start building your skills in safe environments, or are looking towards a potential career in this field, then you’re in the right place! As you develop your skills further, it is so important that you know and recognise the legal limits. Make the right #CyberChoices so you can achieve the career path you want, and check out the law around computer misuse offences first.

The UK Cyber Security Council also have a page filled with links that you might also want to check out for further ideas and resources (some are already listed above): UKCSC – Training


Formal Qualifications

If you develop an interest in cyber early on, you may wish to consider computer science as a GCSE and then following similar courses in sixth form and perhaps beyond. That said, a GCSE in this subject is not a pre-requisite for all of the formal qualification routes, and is not required for many career pathways.

As mentioned previously, there are several “formal” routes in to Cyber Security jobs: apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships and degrees. Prospects.ac.uk has a page dedicated to cyber security training on each of these pathways: Cyber security training

  • Available apprenticeships – including some degree apprenticeships – can be found by searching the terms “cyber security” on The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education website: Apprenticeship search
  • CyberFirst is a programme run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Their offerings start with 12-13 year olds, but go on to include a degree apprenticeship for those aged 17+ and bursaries for undergraduates. Read more on this fantastic scheme here.
white circle with ripples on blue background - blue text Cyber First
UK Cyber Security Council logo - white writing on purple background

UK government crest in white on navy blue background with "national cyber security centre" in white writing.

The UK Cyber Security Council has a really informative page about formal qualifications that are useful for entry into cyber security roles from GCSE onwards: click here for more on this.

The NCSC have certified some training courses in addition to offering their own CyberFirst courses, from “awareness” level to more advanced qualifications, placing their guarantee on the quality of the content and delivery; see more on the NCSC site.

The cyber security industry does not just rely on traditional qualifications and, indeed, even if you have a degree there is a need for ongoing continuous professional development. These are qualifications such as CISSP, CEH, etc… There are plenty of fast-track courses which can earn you these in a week or two. They’re not cheap, but you will quickly recoup the cost and be able to self-qualify for many careers.

Research what qualifications are used for the role you are interested in, and then explore online course offerings as well as residential fast track courses from big name providers. The CREST website can help you to identify these providers.

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***NEWS!*** Currently, ISC(2) are offering a free entry-level cyber security qualification for the first 100,000 applicants to sign up. To find out more about this opportunity, visit their website.