There's no doubt the cyber security job market is buoyant, particularly for those working in the cyber security sector. The potential for data breaches and the wide range of online threats that we now face both in business and our private lives means online protection has become a vital component of all things digital.

More and more companies are putting cyber security at the forefront of their operational processes. With the rising interconnectivity that comes from the internet of things, the challenges we face are not going away any time soon.

If you are interested in working in IT, cyber security offers a broad and challenging career path that could take you all over the world. To succeed you'll need a clear set of skills and, for the higher paid jobs, a degree qualification in an appropriate subject.

There is undoubtedly a lot of analytics involved in cyber security and you'll need a good eye for data, able to spot trends and see beyond the standard patterns. You will certainly have to be good at working under pressure as the world of cyber security is fast moving and complex. You'll also need to be confident enough to make spot decisions and be good at thinking 'outside the box'.

Cyber Security and IT Degrees

With increasing importance now put on online security, many colleges and universities are starting to produce specific courses aimed at improving training and education in this area. The graduate degrees that you should be looking out for are in areas such as IT, Cyber Security, Computer Science, and Forensic Computing to name just a few.

Examples of current courses include Liverpool John Moore's University which offers a three-year BSc in Computer Security and a 12-month work placement where you can get some important on the job experience. The London Metropolitan University runs a Digital Forensics and Cyber Security course accredited by the Chartered IT Professionals organisation and the University of South Wales offers a BSc (Hons) Applied Cyber Security.

Most universities with an IT faculty are now running graduate courses that are focused specifically on the areas of cyber security, many of which are developed by working with local groups such as the police, government and IT security firms.

For those who already have a graduate degree, there are also several Masters qualifications on offer that are currently highly valued in the cyber security jobs market. These degrees allow individuals to focus on a certain area of security and can give them a head start over many applicants with lesser qualifications.

The University of Oxford has an MSc in Software and Systems Security while Cranfield University offers Cyber Defence and Information Assurance. Many of these higher-level degrees have been developed in conjunction with organisations such as GCHQ who are hoping to develop the sector and increase the number of applicants with the right qualifications. And if you are looking for 100% online delivery, there is the MSc Cyber Security Management from Bay Path University.

For those who want to get involved in research and go one step further than an MSc, there are also several opportunities to undertake a PhD. Belfast's Queens University offers a PhD in Cyber Security and Oxford University delivers a DPhil in Cyber Security.

The introduction of these courses over the last decade has been driven by the shortfall in cyber security professionals which has become a worrying problem for the sector. Obtaining the appropriate qualifications to operate in cyber security is going to become increasingly important over the next few years and you can expect more specialist degrees that are designed and developed to cater to the growing threat we face and the individual needs of businesses across the globe.

According to the Telegraph in February, almost half of British businesses feel that the IT security skills shortage we now face is going to have a significant impact on their future operation. Currently the jobs market is buoyant and those with the right qualifications and skills can expect to have plenty of opportunity and attract high salaries into the bargain.

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