Market update: Cyber Security Expert demand and salaries in Australia 2022
Considering a career change and keen to know if cyber security could be the right direction to take? You’re in the right place. We’ve rounded up the latest industry insights to give you an overview of the skills, trends and salaries when it comes to cyber security employment in Australia.
What is Cyber Security?
Tech giant, Cisco Systems, defines cyber security as “…the practice of protecting systems, networks and programs from digital attacks. These cyberattacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes.”
One of the many challenges in implementing effective protection measures is the fact that there’s a higher number of tech devices than there are people. Attackers are becoming smooth cyber criminals and their data breaching ways are becoming increasingly innovative.
What does a Cyber Security Expert do?
Generally speaking, Cyber Security Experts work within IT teams with a primary focus on protecting the integrity of organisational systems and data. In today’s age, the success of a business often depends on how capable its networks are, which has resulted in Cyber Security Experts becoming a must have in many business settings.
What’s involved in the day-to-day Cybersecurity role?
The specifics of a position will be largely guided by the organisational and industry needs, as well as your level of experience. This is by no means an exhaustive list of tasks within the remit of all Cyber Security Expert gigs, but the following is a decent overview:
- Develop security systems
- Scan network devices
- Assess system vulnerability and devise management plans
- Respond promptly to security threats and attacks with solid solutions
- Devise and implement threat prevention strategies
- Formulate protocols, policies and guidelines for system security
- Provide training to other members of in-house IT teams
- Create regular reports for senior management to provide updates/overview
Looking at job descriptions for specific roles will give you further insight into daily tasks required.
Is becoming a Cyber Security Expert a good career in Australia?
The high demand for these vital services is tipped to result in the Australian cyber market tripling in size over the next decade.
Future job growth
Outpacing the national average, cyber security jobs grew by 6% per year during 2017-2020, whereas the overall workforce growth was hovering at only two percent per annum. Continued job growth in this sector is highly likely to continue, with 7000 more positions forecast to be added in Australia by 2024.
Your earning potential as a Cyber Security Expert
A cyber security salary in Australia will be determined by the size and budgets of each individual organisation, but as a guideline, the average annual salary for a cyber security position is $120,477 or $61.78 per hour.
For those new to the industry, you’re looking at a starting salary of around $100,000 and for those who’ve got more senior experience under their belts, $162,500 and up.
Some take the path of freelancing in cyber security, either as a side hustle while they work in other I.T positions to build their experience, or as full time freelance cyber security consultants. In these instances, hourly or day rates could be more lucrative. Yet, as with any freelance position, you need to factor in that you’re accounting for your own superannuation, leave and sick pay and taxes.
Which industries most commonly hire Cyber Security Experts?
Not surprisingly, government and defence are the areas doing the most hiring of cyber security provisions (25-30% estimated total share of customers across the sector).
Industries which frequently hire cyber security professionals include:
- Health and social care
- Financial and insurance services
- Real estate and property
- Energy and utilities companies
- Wholesale and retail trade
What are the skills a Cyber Security Expert needs?
While Cyber Security Experts are in high demand, it’s essential that you have the key skills in your toolkit to be successful.
Foundational tech skills
Your tech knowledge needs to include the basics as a starting point if you want to be a cyber security specialist. We’re talking O.S architectures, Linux, Windows and a solid working understanding of networking concepts, software and firewalls and network load balancers.
Having experience and working knowledge of software development, programming and analytics is also vital and if you have your head around programming languages including C, C++, Java and C#, plus scripting languages such as Python and PHP, you’ll be well primed to take on the cybersecurity career path in Australia.
In addition to the baseline technical skills, the following are also critical:
- An eye for detail and the ability to conduct thorough analysis
- Solid understanding of industry tools, software and methodologies
- Knowledge to perform complex assessments
- Understanding to make strategic recommendations
- Data expertise
- A comprehension of the mindset of a cyber criminal
Don’t forget the ‘soft skills’
It’s not all about the tech know-how to be a successful Cyber Security Expert. Your soft skills also need to be in check. Consider the following in particular: collaboration, communication and adaptability.
The latest trends in Cyber Security
Unsurprisingly, the financial services sector is the hardest hit by cyberattack, with ICT and manufacturing following.
Of the many trends in the industry, we’ve rounded up a few to explore.
Mobile malware threats
Everyone’s handheld devices are becoming more of a target for hackers. Considering the average individual uses their mobiles for everything from emails and messaging to banking and storing photos, increases in smartphone viruses and malware are looking to be on the rise.
Increasingly more businesses are migrating their data to the cloud, which presents more opportunity for hackers to unlawfully access information if it isn’t adequately protected. With the mass migration to the cloud, there isn’t necessarily the best security measures being implemented, making it a prime target for hackers. Cloud applications are built with security in mind, but users need more support and education as this is where the bulk of errors occur, exposing individuals and organisations to malware and phishing activity.
5G and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Along with the uptake of 5G networks across the globe is the increase in interconnectivity of devices via the Internet of Things. Multiple devices being able to communicate is an impressive advancement in tech, but also opens further loopholes and vulnerabilities from attacks. The fact is, 5G architecture is still very new. System security is of paramount concern and a great deal of industry research is required, on an ongoing basis, to build adequate hardware and software to prevent data breaches.
How to become a Cyber Security Expert in Australia
Whether you are already working in IT, or wanting to begin your career, there are fantastic training options available that will prepare you to take on one of the many existing roles in cyber security.
At Academy Xi we are proud to offer industry leading cyber security training with curriculum created by Flatiron School – a leading New York based tech education provider – developed in consultation with and instructed by experts in the field.
For those starting out, Introduction to Cyber Security: Elevate Introduction to Cyber Security: Elevate provides a comprehensive overview and will empower you with the essentials.
This course is delivered by Australian-based educators with years of cyber security experience and you’ll graduate with confidence and a competitive edge, ready to kickstart your career in cyber security.