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!
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.
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 Code Clubs and CoderDojos.
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.
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!
Cyber Ambassadors (Hampshire & Isle of Wight)
CyberGamesUK (from Cyber Security Challenge UK and the National Crime Agency)
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 testing further skills, then you’re in the right place! As you develop your skills further, it is so important you know the legal limits, so make the right #CyberChoices so you can achieve the career path you want, and check out the laws around computer misuse offences first.
Links to all these resources will be added soon – for now, please open a new tab and search for any of these!
Immersive Labs Digital Cyber Academies – free access for Students with .ac.uk email addresses and some Neurodivergent individuals
The UK Cyber Security Council also have a page filled with links – some the same as below, some different – that you might also want to check out for further ideas and resources: UKCSC – Training
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.
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.
***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.