8 Essential Characteristics of a Successful Cybersecurity Professional

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There’s no question that advanced digital technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent, requiring strong cybersecurity measures for all organizations. All industries can benefit from a comprehensive plan, but many face challenges finding quality candidates that fit the bill.

Companies that utilize new computer and information system technologies must find, recruit and hire top talent with a strong understanding of cybersecurity practices and processes. Cybersecurity breaches are rapidly increasing across various sectors of the economy, and now is the time for organizations to protect themselves, their employees and their customers.

Here are eight essential characteristics cybersecurity professionals should possess when looking for open career opportunities.

1. Inquisitive

It’s important to note that the digital landscape and the world of cybersecurity are ever-changing. Consider how some cybersecurity challenges used today could become antiquated tomorrow. When employees get too comfortable or complacent when fighting off existing and emerging threats, their know-how becomes outdated and can open up organizations to potential breaches.

Successful cybersecurity professionals are curious, open-minded and able to seek weaknesses before they turn into threats. Having a willingness to learn, asking critical questions and using problem-solving skills are all necessary when working in IT.

2. Strong Attention to Detail

Most, if not all, cybersecurity roles involve fine-tooth combing and paying attention to the specifics of a project, so having strong attention to detail is another characteristic cybersecurity professionals should possess.

Being patient is necessary, as some projects require thoughtful analysis and may be time-consuming. Overlooking one minor detail can lead to a full-blown cybersecurity attack, which is why attention to detail is a soft skill cybersecurity employees should have.

3. Internal Motivation

Cybersecurity professionals motivated to work for personal enjoyment or satisfaction are likely to sustain that drive. They are more resilient to adjustments in workload, work hours or other challenges in their organizations.

Cybersecurity jobs require a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. Internal motivation allows these workers to reach success in their roles. Additionally, having a growth mindset instead of a fixed one can help IT professionals improve their technical and soft skills over time.

4. Courtesy and Professionalism

It’s crucial for those interested in joining the field of cybersecurity to understand the importance of being courteous and professional. These qualities should be a top priority in client-facing roles. No one wants to work with a rude, unresponsive or unprofessional employee. It can damage the customer relationship, and the respective organization can lose business.

Cybersecurity professionals need to use familiar language when communicating with clients and meeting their needs and expectations. Fostering positive relationships can help increase company efficiency, productivity and revenue.

5. Analytical — With a Side of Skepticism

Being analytical is a good attribute to have as a cybersecurity professional. The ability to critically think about the systems, techniques and processes involved in cybersecurity work is an important quality to have. However, it’s also critical to have a healthy amount of skepticism while working in this industry.

Consider how some of the best police officers think like a criminal — in the same sense, cybersecurity roles require candidates to think like a cybercriminal. Staying ahead of potential threats will serve organizations well and help professionals meet their IT needs. Being slightly skeptical can help keep firms on their toes when holding hackers at bay.

6. Modest

Those that are successful in their cybersecurity roles often try their best to avoid the spotlight. A good agent will focus on their clients’ needs and avoid doing a good job for their ego, out of greed or due to personal interests. Most cybersecurity professionals crave a low-key lifestyle.

Additionally, when a cybersecurity role requires collaboration and teamwork, being a modest team player will bode well for those interested in this field. No employee wants to work with a cocky or overconfident team member, as it can lead to disgruntlement or employee conflict.

7. Ethical

Cybersecurity professionals work with massive amounts of sensitive information daily, so they must have a strong moral compass. Having clear standards can help people remain ethical and only work in their clients’ best interests.

If a company recognizes that a potential candidate uses their hacking skills for illegal purposes or other unethical reasons, the chances of them being hired are low. It can be challenging for organizations to weed out crooked candidates, but it’s vital to operate successfully.

8. Passionate

No employee will succeed if they are not passionate about their work. Many cybersecurity programs from colleges, universities and online resources teach technical skills, but a lack of passion will not guarantee a potential candidate a role at a company.

A candidate with plenty of technical skills and experience may not get hired if another passionate candidate with less experience is willing to learn and expand their skill set. Passion is fuel and will help energize cybersecurity professionals to complete even the most tedious tasks.

Technical Knowledge and Soft Skills Are Necessary for a Cybersecurity Role

Cybersecurity professionals, especially those just entering the field, may feel intimidated when applying for jobs. Besides technical cybersecurity knowledge, having soft skills and desirable personality traits can help entry-level professionals improve their marketability and show companies that hiring them would be beneficial.

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