8 cyber security entry-level jobs (plus duties and tasks)

Updated 24 August 2023

Cyber security is an evolving industry within the world of information technology, offering a wide range of roles and career options. Roles within cyber security generally focus on the protection of data, networks and services from unauthorised access. If you're interested in a career in cyber security, there are a lot of ways to enter and begin your career. In this article, we explain some of the cyber security entry-level jobs available to you that you may want to consider.

8 cyber security entry-level jobs

As the industry continues to grow and evolve you may find a variety of cyber security entry-level jobs that could be right for you as you start your career. Consider your skill levels and what areas interest you in particular during your search. Below are 8 jobs you could consider to start your career in cyber security:

Related: A guide to 10 careers in cyber security (with salaries)

1. Security analyst

National average salary: £43,674 per year

Primary duties: Security analysts are primarily responsible for ensuring the protection of digital assets from unauthorised access. They're responsible for both online and on-site infrastructure, dealing with the digital and physical aspects of cyber security. They're also responsible for looking through their company's security data and metrics, searching for any suspicious activity that could be occurring and mitigating potential risks before they happen. In the event of a security breach, security analysts often lead efforts to combat the attack and are responsible for the company's security response.

A more entry-level role, security analysts often work for smaller-scale companies. Security analysts also produce reports for IT administrators and managers so they can evaluate the efficiency of current security politics. The security analyst is also responsible for implementing any suggested changes to ensure the network is as secure as possible. They may also create security modules and programs to help educate employees on digital security.

Security analysts may also:

  • monitor security access

  • conduct assessments via vulnerability testing

  • perform security audits

  • analyse breaches

  • update incident response plans

  • verify the security of third-party entities

2. Security specialist

National average salary: £45,741 per year

Primary duties: Security specialists are individuals tasked with maintaining a company's automated security systems. They also monitor employee identification databases and as such generally work for larger organisations that have more employees. They're responsible for protecting their organisation's data and information, ensuring the security of end-users and assisting senior management staff in onboarding new employees securely.

They also communicate with upper management and those in leadership roles to create guidelines for company policy and how employees interact with the company's network. They may deal with advanced automated security systems, monitoring data and responding to threats. Security specialists also generate reports based on their findings, recommending changes to the company's security.

As a security specialist you may also:

  • communicate with the police to report possible findings

  • build firewalls

  • stay up to date with the latest cyber security changes

3. Incident manager

National average salary: £40,400 per year

Primary duties: Incident managers, sometimes called incident responders or security responders, are management-level individuals responsible for restoring normal service once a security incident has occurred. These can be large scale incidents or smaller scale incidents within an organisation. Their role is to assess the impact of the incident, make any recommendations they feel are relevant, and work to quickly resolve the issue.

As an incident manager, your responsibilities may include:

  • overseeing the incident management process

  • leading team members as they resolve incidents

  • responding to reported service issues

  • prioritising incidents in terms of urgency and severity

  • producing guidelines to outline incident response protocols

  • logging incidents

4. Cryptographer

National average salary: £46,131 per year

Primary duties: A cryptographer's main duties are to encrypt sensitive data and messages to keep them safe. Cryptography is the act of writing, or breaking, encryption codes that keep information and messages securely hidden. Cryptographers are individuals who write and break these encryption cyphers.

Some of the main responsibilities of a cryptographer are:

  • to ensure personal, financial and other sensitive data remains protected

  • to ensure that authorised personnel can access data

  • to build security systems to guard against potential attacks

  • to ensure that critical data and information is safe from editing or deletion by unauthorised individuals

  • to analyse data to correct any issues

  • to test security systems for vulnerabilities

  • to assist other security departments in their duties as they resolve security issues

5. IT architect

National average salary: £65,837 per year

Primary duties: IT architects, sometimes called network architects or engineers, generally assess their company's industry requirements. They do this to build and maintain the various computer networks their organisation uses daily. They use computer design programs to model and assess plans for a network before they're implemented, helping to spot weaknesses or issues, and generating reports for recommended changes. IT architects can work as managers, responsible for their department and scheduling technician work. They may also assess their budgetary needs, estimating the cost of upgrades or other network services.

Other duties may include:

  • creating and testing new algorithms

  • designating applications and system architectures for development

  • enforcing technical standards and policy

  • taking a lead in researching and developing software applications

  • overseeing the development of component architecture

Related: 13 popular security certifications for cybersecurity roles

6. Security auditor

National average salary: £68,414 per year

Primary duties: Sometimes called information security auditors, a security auditor's role is to conduct an audit over the security of a service, organisation or program. Usually, they're highly qualified individuals who help give their employers the confidence and credibility of a highly secure company. A keen eye for detail and a methodical approach to work are invaluable when auditing the security of a network. Security auditors work with organisations that provide this service to other companies. As the job can cover a wide range of industries and scopes, your daily tasks can vary.

Here are some of the common responsibilities of any security auditor:

  • producing internal or independent security reports

  • providing an overview of the auditing process

  • testing the effectiveness and safety of each cybersecurity component

  • ensuring each company meets their legal requirements

  • evaluating external and internal security systems

  • investigating recent breaches and analysing their response

7. Digital forensic technician

National average salary: £27,258 per year

Primary duties: Sometimes called a digital forensic analyst, a digital forensic technician examines computers and other digital devices for evidence of a crime. They provide support in civil and criminal investigations, working with local law enforcement or national intelligence agencies to detect, preserve and analyse digital evidence. They then present their findings to investigators and lawyers.

Digital forensic work is an important part of all kinds of investigations for a variety of crimes, as the use of technology permeates all parts of illegal activity. You may examine messages, track the location of devices, uncover deleted data and recover stolen data or evidence of other crimes. Some of the key responsibilities of a digital forensic technician include:

  • carrying out examinations of technological devices

  • working closely with investigating officers, providing advice to support ongoing investigations

  • helping to build an investigation strategy

  • providing technical support for investigating officers

  • assisting in the collection, viewing and assessing of evidence

  • working with other standards and procedures required by the role

Related: How to become an ethical hacker: a comprehensive guide

8. Penetration tester

National average salary: £49,188 per year

Primary duties: A penetration tester performs authorised tests on network systems and security frames to expose the weaknesses within their security. Their goal is to discover the vulnerabilities a criminal may use to exploit their network. It's possible to specialise your skills in a particular type of system, but in general, penetration testers provide advice on how a company can minimise their current risks.

You may work from within a company or as part of a consultancy agency, where they provide work to their testers from external clients. It's also possible to work as a freelance penetration tester, though this can take longer to become established. Some of the common responsibilities of a penetration tester include:

  • working with clients to determine the scope and scale of the test

  • planning and creating penetration methods

  • carrying out a remote penetration test of a client's network

  • creating reports and recommendations for how the company could combat these attacks in the future

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.


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