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19th May 2017

Want to earn twice the average salary?

David Elliott

Did you get hacked?

The recent cyber-attack on the NHS and a host of other organisations around the world has been mooted as the most widespread and effective yet.

But it would appear that title will be short lived because news reports would suggest that WannaCry is the first of many major cyber-attacks we’ll come up against in the months and years ahead.

What has this got to do with my hunt for a job, I hear you cry?

Well, as it turns out, perhaps a lot.

This column has already touched on the fact that jobs in IT are able to wave a couple more spondoolies (a technical term) in front of the right person but within that the cyber security sector seems to be able to add an extra layer of spondoolies.

Perhaps it’s a bit crass to be continually focusing on hard cash, but let’s face it, we don’t go to work for the free tea and coffee.

At a recent cyber security event in Belfast attended by 500 school children and teachers, sector guru Gary Robinson quoted data from MCS Group which pegged the average wage of cyber security professionals in Northern Ireland at £45,000-£50,000 a year.

That’s nearly twice the average salary for all jobs of £26,000 and puts the sector firmly in the “I want to retrain and work for those guys” category.

And there are two good reasons why should seriously consider doing just that.

The first you can’t have avoided over the last couple of weeks: the mega hack of the NHS computers and a host of other organisations around the world.

You don’t need me to tell you that means hackers are getting more sophisticated and the need for effective security is more crucial than ever.

From an industry point of view, demand is off the charts and set to rocket.

The second reason is Northern Ireland is becoming a bit of a hub for the cyber security sector.

San Francisco and Israel are the two main locations for the industry but we’re quietly putting ourselves on the map.

That claim has been bandied about for a while now but a quick chat with a New York cyber security expert last week confirmed that we really are becoming a go-to destination for cyber security.

He was attending the AppSecEU conference at Belfast Waterfront where 700 of the world’s experts gathered to discuss how to keep your pc safe from harm.

Gary reckons there are 30,000 people in Northern Ireland working in the ICT industry and of that, around 1,000 are working in the cyber security sector, but as the wages suggest demand is outstripping supply.

So, if you’re starting out on your career, want to completely change from a different career or are working in IT and want to move into cyber security give Gary a shout.

Cyber security is where it’s at. 

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