Mere technical knowledge may not be enough for you to cut it as a cyber security worker anymore. Soft skills are just as important.
Analytical thinking, good communication, and troubleshooting are some soft skills that firms are looking for in their cyber security workforce.
Earlier this year, research firm Cybersecurity Ventures estimated that the total number of vacant cyber security jobs will touch 3.5 million worldwide by 2021. A separate study by job site Indeed revealed a mind-numbing cyber security skills shortage in the UK with employer demand exceeded candidate interest by more than three times.
If you're a cyber security expert and feel that your next job interview would be a cake walk because the firm would give anything to enjoy your talents, you're way off the mark. In fact, despite the obvious skills shortage, today's firms are more choosy about hiring cyber security talent than they ever were.
A survey of 315 IT security professionals conducted by Tripwire has revealed that aside from raw cyber security skills, firms are also looking for employees with other 'soft' skills like analytical thinking, good communication, and troubleshooting.
While every single IT professional admitted that soft skills are a must for cyber security workers, 65% of them said analytical thinking has to be the most important trait, 60% prefer good communicators and 59% want to hire cyber security workers who are also good troubleshooters.
At the same time, 72% of respondents said that the need for soft skills among cyber security workers has increased in the past two years and one in every five actually said that soft skills are considered more important than technical skills while hiring new staff!
'The cybersecurity industry should not overlook the soft skills that are needed to build a strong security program. The reality is that today’s security pros need to go beyond technical expertise,' says Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire.
'Security practitioners need to be good communicators who can connect cybersecurity issues to business priorities, rally the rest of the organization to get involved, solve tough problems and handle sensitive issues with integrity,' he adds.
This isn't the first time that IT security professionals have highlighted the need for soft skills in cyber security. A number of security firms have also explained how soft skills in cyber security workers can help change an organisation's approach towards cyber security.
'Security is everyone’s job, so a critical success factor for the cybersecurity leader is what you communicate and how you communicate to various stakeholders to gain support, buy-in and behavior change. The soft skills to partner with various individuals and departments throughout your organization will drive the success of any cybersecurity program,' noted EventTracker, a security intelligence firm.
'Knowing how to navigate projects and difficult conversations with anyone from the CIO to end users, and even vendors, is an essential trait for cybersecurity workers,' said Todd Thibodeaux, President & CEO of the Computing Technology Industry Association.
'More lines of businesses are getting involved in their organizations’ IT decision-making process, and cybersecurity teams must be able to partner with each of them effectively. An inclusive, patient, and open-minded attitude can go a long way when managing major IT security initiatives across teams or office locations,' he added.