- Help find and resolve potential threats to the security of computer systems
- Highly specialised, in-demand work with good future prospects
- You'll need excellent analytical skills, problems solving skills, and attention to detail
As a cyber intelligence or cyber security officer you'll work to find potential threats to the security of a computer or software system and to resolve them.
- Identify common weaknesses in IT structures (threats)
- Use digital resources to gather information and evidence
- Use computer forensics to identify attackers, their motivations, and typical techniques
- Analyse threats to major security systems
- Monitor new and evolving threats and assess their potential impact
- Keep databases of threats and actors
- Produce threat assessment reports with recommendations for protective action
- Develop relationships with other organisations to safely share security knowledge
- Update your skills and knowledge
You could work for a single organisation or as part of an agency that works for multiple clients.
You'll need great analytical skills, ability in maths, an interest in investigating and solving problems, and strong attention to detail. You can get into this role through, a university course, an apprenticeship, working your way up in an organisation or joining a graduate training scheme.
If you choose to do a degree, useful subjects include computer science, computer or cyber security, mathematics, or network engineering and security. If you already have a degree in an unrelated area you could take a postgraduate course in computing or cyber security.
Apprenticeships in, cyber security, cyber intrusion, or network engineering are also an option. GCHQ (the UK Government's intelligence agency) also runs a cyber security degree apprenticeship.
Alternatively you could start work with an IT security firm, for example as a support technician after doing GCSEs or A levels, then work your way up while studying for further qualifications on the job.
Or, if you have a degree or relevant work experience, you could apply for MI5's Intelligence and Data Analyst Development Programme.
For some roles there may be additional checks and requirements. For example, you may need to be a British or Commonwealth citizen, a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, or a foreign national with the right to stay and work in the UK for an indefinite period. For public sector work, you may need to go through UK vetting for a: security check (SC) - for access to information classified as 'secret' developed vetting (DV) - for access to information classified as 'top secret'
For private sector work, you may not need to be vetted unless you're working on government systems.
With experience, you could become a specialised cyber security lead and then progress to a head of cyber security role, or you could become a freelance consultant.