Cybersecurity Europe

Specops Software Reveals the Most Desirable Skills for Cybersecurity Roles

Every year cyber-attacks become more sophisticated and severe. A recent study by Specops Software found that 54% of business owners from a range of sectors have experienced an increase in cyber threats this year. 

To neutralise risk and protect key functions from being compromised by cyber attacks, more and more business leaders are realising the importance of cybersecurity positions (cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity specialist etc.) within their organisations.

Specops Software has analysed 843 cybersecurity job listings on Indeed to identify the most desired skills for cybersecurity roles in the current job market.

The Most Desired Skills

Specops Software found that having a technical aptitude and mindset is the most coveted skill for cybersecurity roles with an astonishing 99% of job listings (831/843) looking for this necessary skill.

In second position, employers appreciate a cybersecurity applicant who can take responsibility for their actions, decisions and work with 663 out of 843 listings searching for a candidate with this attribute (79%).

Good written communication (51%) is in third place as 427 of the listed positions analysed, value this is an employee.

Whilst a candidate with passion (37%) for cybersecurity ranks fourth, seemingly considered an important characteristic by a significant number of firms.

Interestingly, 14% of organisations would like prospective applicants to have knowledge of and experience with penetration testing, meaning they are able to use the same tools and techniques as cybercriminals to expose and rectify security vulnerabilities within a network or system.

The Most Desired Programming Languages

Specops Software found that Python (12%) is the most in-demand programming language for cybersecurity roles. C++ (9%) and C (6%) respectively rank second and third.

Contrastingly, PHP (3%), JavaScript (3%), Ruby (3%) and Java (3%) are the programming languages employers are less interested in for cybersecurity roles.

 The Most Desired Professional Certifications

Specops Software found that ‘Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)’ is the most desired professional certification for cybersecurity positions with 33% of listings looking for this credential (279/843).

Being CISSP certified is a strong indication that an individual can engineer and run information security programs. Job listings which request the qualification pay handsomely for such capabilities, at an average annual salary of £58,675.

‘Information Security Manager (CISM – 21%)’ is the next most wanted cybersecurity professional certification in second place with 174 out of 843 jobs analysed listing it as a key qualification, and those employers who request it pay an average annual salary of £59,689.

In third place is ‘Information Systems Auditor (CISA – 14%)’, followed by ‘Ethical Hacker (CEH – 5%)’ in fourth place.

With all this in mind, Specops Software have given their top three tips on how beginners can build skills and experience for cybersecurity jobs:

  • DIY Testing Site

Set-up two or more computers, connected by a router, at home and perform security tests on your own hardware, software, firewall, and server. This will allow you to find weak spots in your own network and come up with solutions to secure them. Be sure to record and document your work to show potential employers how you came up with your own cybersecurity strategies.

  • Network

Build a rapport with influential individuals and companies within the cybersecurity industry via social networking platforms, like LinkedIn. Many “influencers” appreciate the time taken to reach out to them and most are happy to provide advice and guidance.

To get your foot firmly in the door, it might be worthwhile joining professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec). By doing this, you might find yourself landing a job, internship, or voluntary role to gain some hands-on experience.

  • Utilise Online Learning Resources

With an array of online courses available at the touch of a few buttons to complete when and wherever you want, get studying! There is so much you can focus on. Try mastering networking console commands such as Cisco IOS and NX-OS. Additionally, gain vast knowledge on essential operating systems (e.g. Linux, Android etc.) and scripting languages (e.g. Python, C++).


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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