Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important as businesses and organizations are increasingly threatened by cyberattacks. In this context, the profession of cybersecurity expert, also known as IT security expert, is becoming increasingly important. In this article you will learn everything about the profession of expert for cybersecurity.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity refers to the measures taken to protect IT systems from cyber attacks. Cyberattacks can take various forms, including hacking, phishing, denial-of-service attacks, and malware. The aim of cybersecurity is to protect IT systems and networks from unauthorized access, data loss, theft or manipulation.
An expert in cybersecurity deals accordingly with the analysis, evaluation and protection of IT systems and networks against cyber attacks. He or she is responsible for the implementation of security measures and policies, carries out vulnerability analyses and develops concepts for the implementation of security measures. A cybersecurity expert monitors the systems and networks for possible attacks and reacts immediately in an emergency to minimize the damage.
Where do you cybersecurity experts work?
Cybersecurity experts work across a diverse range of sectors and organizations, as the need for robust security measures transcends industries in today’s increasingly interconnected and digital world. These professionals are responsible for protecting sensitive data, ensuring network and system integrity, and preventing unauthorized access to information assets. Below is an overview of some of the primary areas where cybersecurity experts find employment:
Cybersecurity experts are in high demand in various industries within the private sector, ranging from finance, healthcare, and telecommunications to retail, manufacturing, and technology. Companies in these industries require cybersecurity professionals to protect their networks, applications, and infrastructure from cyber threats, as well as to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
Government organizations at various levels, including local, regional, and national, rely on cybersecurity experts to safeguard critical infrastructure and sensitive information. These professionals help secure government networks, prevent cyber espionage, and protect against cyber attacks that could disrupt essential services or compromise national security.
Military and intelligence agencies
Cybersecurity plays a crucial role in the defense and intelligence sectors, with experts working to protect military networks and systems from cyber attacks, gather intelligence on cyber threats, and develop offensive cyber capabilities to counter adversaries. Additionally, cybersecurity professionals within this realm may be involved in securing communication channels and ensuring the confidentiality of classified information.
Many cybersecurity experts work for specialized firms that provide a range of services, including security consulting, managed security services, incident response, and vulnerability assessments. These firms cater to organizations that need expert guidance on implementing and maintaining effective security measures, as well as assistance in responding to and recovering from security incidents.
Research and academia
Cybersecurity researchers and educators work in universities, think tanks, and research institutions, focusing on advancing the knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity threats, technologies, and best practices. These experts contribute to the development of new security tools and methodologies, as well as educate the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.
Non-profit organizations and NGOs
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit entities also require cybersecurity expertise to protect their data, digital assets, and online presence. Cybersecurity professionals working in this sector may help secure donor information, safeguard communication channels, and ensure the integrity of digital systems that support the organization’s mission.
Freelance and consulting
Some cybersecurity professionals choose to work as independent consultants or freelancers, offering their expertise on a project or contract basis. This allows them to work with a diverse range of clients and industries, as well as maintain greater flexibility and control over their workload and career trajectory.
Start-ups and technology incubators
Innovative start-ups and technology incubators often seek cybersecurity expertise to help develop new security products, services, or solutions. Working in this environment allows cybersecurity experts to be at the forefront of emerging technologies and trends, as well as contribute to shaping the future of the cybersecurity landscape.
In summary, cybersecurity experts can find employment opportunities in a wide array of sectors and organizations, reflecting the universal need for robust security measures in today’s digital age. The growing threat of cyber attacks and the increasing reliance on digital technologies have contributed to a heightened demand for skilled professionals who can effectively safeguard against cyber threats and ensure the security and resilience of networks, systems, and data.
Why is cybersecurity a growing field of business?
Cybersecurity is a growing field of business globally, and in Germany specifically, due to the increasing reliance on digital technologies, expanding connectivity, and the rapid rise in cyber threats. As more businesses and organizations undergo digital transformation, they become more vulnerable to cyber attacks, data breaches, and other security risks. This growing concern drives the demand for effective cybersecurity solutions to protect sensitive data, maintain business continuity, and safeguard their reputation.
In Germany, the importance of cybersecurity is further emphasized by the country’s strong economy, advanced technological infrastructure, and the presence of numerous high-profile industries such as automotive, finance, and manufacturing. These industries are often targeted by cyber criminals, making it crucial for German businesses to invest in robust cybersecurity measures.
Additionally, Germany has taken a proactive approach to combating cyber threats by implementing stringent data protection regulations and promoting public-private partnerships to enhance the nation’s overall cybersecurity posture. This combination of factors has led to a heightened demand for cybersecurity professionals and solutions in Germany, driving growth in this field of business.
Which companies in Germany employ a particularly large number of cybersecurity experts?
Here is a list of some prominent companies in Germany that are known to employ a significant number of cybersecurity experts:
- Deutsche Telekom AG: As one of the largest telecommunications companies in Europe, Deutsche Telekom places a strong emphasis on cybersecurity to protect its vast network infrastructure and customer data.
- Siemens AG: This multinational conglomerate is involved in numerous industries, including energy, healthcare, and transportation, requiring advanced cybersecurity measures to secure its diverse operations and critical infrastructure.
- SAP SE: As a leading provider of enterprise software solutions, SAP employs cybersecurity experts to ensure the security and reliability of its products and services, as well as to safeguard its own internal networks and systems.
- Allianz SE: One of the world’s largest insurance and financial services providers, Allianz requires robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive financial information and comply with stringent data protection regulations.
- BMW Group: The automotive industry is becoming increasingly connected and reliant on digital technologies, leading companies like BMW to employ cybersecurity experts to protect their vehicles, networks, and infrastructure from potential cyber threats.
- BASF SE: As the world’s largest chemical producer, BASF needs cybersecurity professionals to secure its industrial control systems, networks, and sensitive information assets.
Please note that this list is not ehaustive of course and that there are many other companies active.
What exactly do you do as a cybersecurity expert?
As an expert in cybersecurity, you are responsible for the security of IT systems and networks. This includes identifying potential threats, implementing security measures, monitoring systems and networks, creating security policies, and training employees. In an emergency, you react quickly and effectively to minimize the damage.
A typical task for a cybersecurity expert might be to perform a vulnerability assessment. The IT system or network is checked for possible weak points. Subsequently, suitable measures for hedging are recommended and implemented. This includes, for example, the installation of updates and patches or the implementation of firewalls and antivirus software.
First, an inventory of the IT system or network is usually carried out. All components and their functions are recorded. Subsequently, a risk analysis is carried out to identify potential weak points. Based on the results of the risk analysis, appropriate measures are then taken to secure the IT system or network.
How much do you earn as a cybersecurity expert?
The salary of a cybersecurity expert depends on various factors, such as industry, place of work, experience and qualifications. As a rule, however, you can expect a starting salary of about 3,500 to 4,000 euros gross per month. With increasing experience and responsibility, the salary can rise to up to 10,000 euros gross per month.
How do you become an expert in cybersecurity?
There are several ways to become an expert in cybersecurity. One possibility is to study computer science or a related discipline. But career changers can also become active in this area through further training or professional experience. Good knowledge in the field of IT security and experience in the implementation of security measures are important.
Is it possible to become an expert in cybersecurity with dual vocational training?
Yes, dual vocational training can also be an opportunity to become an expert in cybersecurity. In this case, you will complete an apprenticeship as an IT specialist for system integration or application development and then specialize in becoming an IT security expert.
Do you have to have studied for this activity?
A degree is not absolutely necessary to work as an expert in cybersecurity. However, there are numerous courses of study that specialize in this area, for example IT security or information technology. These courses usually last six to eight semesters.
Is there also a dual course of study that prepares you specifically for working as a cybersecurity expert?
Yes, there are numerous dual study programs that prepare you specifically for working as a cybersecurity expert. You will combine practical training in the company with studies at a university or vocational academy.
Is working as a cybersecurity expert suitable for a lateral entry?
Yes, lateral entry is also possible. Experience in the field of IT security as well as sound knowledge of network technology and programming are an advantage. Professional experience in other IT areas can also be helpful for a lateral entry.
What personal requirements do you need to become an expert in cybersecurity?
As an expert in cybersecurity, you should have a high degree of analytical thinking skills and be able to quickly understand complex relationships. In addition, a high IT affinity and a quick comprehension are important prerequisites. Since you often work in a team, you should also be communicative and able to work in a team.
As a cybersecurity expert, you should have in-depth knowledge of network technology, IT security, programming and databases. In addition, you should have experience in implementing security measures and applying analytical tools and procedures.
Questions and answers
Fragen und Antworten
What role do cybersecurity certifications play in career advancement?
Cybersecurity certifications demonstrate a professional’s expertise and commitment to staying current with industry best practices, often leading to better job opportunities and higher salaries. Some popular certifications include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and CompTIA Security+.
How can I get started in a cybersecurity career with no prior experience?
Entry-level positions, such as security analysts or junior penetration testers, can serve as stepping stones for aspiring cybersecurity professionals; participating in internships, earning relevant certifications, and joining industry networking groups can also help build the necessary skills and connections.
Are there any cybersecurity competitions or challenges to test and improve my skills?
Yes, there are numerous cybersecurity competitions and challenges, such as Capture the Flag (CTF) events, which offer a fun and engaging way to test and enhance your skills, network with other professionals, and learn from experts in the field.
How does the role of artificial intelligence (AI) impact the field of cybersecurity?
AI can significantly enhance cybersecurity by automating threat detection and response, as well as by analyzing vast amounts of data to identify patterns and anomalies; however, AI can also be used by cyber criminals to launch more sophisticated attacks, emphasizing the need for skilled cybersecurity experts.
What are some common cybersecurity threats that organizations face today?
Common cybersecurity threats include phishing attacks, ransomware, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, insider threats, and advanced persistent threats (APTs) targeting an organization’s systems and networks.
How important is a strong cybersecurity posture for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)?
A strong cybersecurity posture is critical for SMBs, as they often lack the resources to recover from a cyber attack; moreover, they increasingly face the same threats as larger enterprises and must comply with data protection regulations.
Can a career in cybersecurity provide opportunities for remote work?
Yes, a career in cybersecurity can offer remote work opportunities, as many tasks can be performed online and organizations increasingly recognize the benefits of remote work, such as increased productivity and employee satisfaction.
How do cybersecurity experts collaborate with other IT professionals in an organization?
Cybersecurity experts work closely with other IT professionals, such as network administrators and software developers, to design, implement, and maintain secure systems, share threat intelligence, and create a culture of security awareness within the organization.
Are there any specific programming languages that are particularly useful for cybersecurity professionals?
What is the role of human factors in cybersecurity?
Human factors play a significant role in cybersecurity, as user behavior, such as poor password management or falling for phishing scams, can introduce vulnerabilities; effective cybersecurity strategies must include employee training and awareness programs to mitigate these risks.
What are the career prospects?
The career prospects for cybersecurity professionals are very good and are expected to improve even further. Due to the advancing digitization and the increasing networking of companies and organizations, the demand for specialists who can protect IT systems and networks against attacks from outside and inside is increasing. Especially in Germany, there is a high demand for IT security experts, as many companies and authorities are based here. Particularly good career prospects therefore exist in the IT industry as well as in public administration and in the field of critical infrastructure.
There are also excellent career prospects for cybersecurity experts worldwide. Advancing globalization and networking mean that the demand for IT security experts is also increasing in other countries. Especially in the USA and Asia, there is a high demand for specialists in the field of cybersecurity.
In addition, there are also good career prospects for cybersecurity experts in Europe. There are numerous companies and organizations that need to secure their IT systems and networks against attacks. Particularly good career prospects exist in sectors such as finance and insurance, healthcare, energy and water management.
What are the opportunities for foreigners?
The chances for foreigners to work as cybersecurity experts in Germany are generally very good. The demand for IT specialists is high overall in Germany and there is also a high demand for qualified employees in the field of cybersecurity. However, the prerequisite is that you have sufficient knowledge of German and have the qualifications for the profession.
Particularly in demand are cybersecurity experts who already have professional experience in this field and specialize in certain fields. These include, for example, specialists in network security, data protection or risk management. Knowledge of certain programs and systems is also often required.
In order to work as a foreigner as an expert in cybersecurity in Germany, you usually have to take care of a work or residence permit. The exact requirements and formalities depend on the nationality and the individual situation. If you come from a non-EU country, you usually need a work permit and have to apply for a visa.
Which professions are similar to being an expert in cybersecurity?
Several professions share similarities with being an expert in cybersecurity, often involving the broader realm of information technology and security. Some of these related professions include:
- Network Administrator: Network administrators are responsible for managing an organization’s computer networks, ensuring their optimal performance, reliability, and security.
- Security Analyst: Security analysts monitor and analyze an organization’s security systems and measures, identifying potential vulnerabilities and recommending improvements to strengthen overall security posture.
- Ethical Hacker/Penetration Tester: Ethical hackers, also known as penetration testers, simulate cyber attacks on a company’s systems and networks to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses, helping the organization to proactively address potential security issues.
- Information Security Manager: Information security managers oversee an organization’s security policies, procedures, and practices, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and maintaining a secure IT environment.
- Security Consultant: Security consultants provide expert advice and guidance to organizations on how to enhance their security measures, protect sensitive data, and minimize risks associated with cyber threats.