Everyone who spends time online makes themselves vulnerable to attacks from cyber criminals. Governments and online businesses are particularly vulnerable to such attacks -- and masses of people are suddenly coming to this realization. They’re becoming aware of just how unprepared they really are to protect themselves against these types of attacks.

The stakes are high. With both profitability and reputation on the line, cyber crime is a problem that employers will pay handsomely to solve. They're turning to cyber security professionals to secure their information from breach, theft and misuse.

The problem is, there are few people who have the right skills to do this critical job. Demand for cybersecurity talent is surging all over the world, and there is particularly high demand in Australia right now. It's a great time to launch a new career in the field.

If you're thinking of pursuing a career in cyber security, there is no set-in-stone formula to follow to get there. Cyber security professionals come from a broad variety of backgrounds and have varying types of work experience. However, the following are 4 of the most logical steps to consider following if this career path is of interest to you:

1. Obtain Your Bachelor’s Degree

A university degree is not a strict requirement for finding work in the field of information security. This is a field where skills are more important than formal education. However, employers recognize that formal training is one of the fastest and most effective ways to gain the skills you’ll need to do this job. So, many cyber security employers do prefer to hire bachelor’s degree graduates.

The Australian Department of Defence is one prominent employer of cyber security professionals. Hiring managers at the Department of Defence prefer to hire bachelor’s degree graduates whose degree programs included strong analytical components. Examples of relevant degrees include computer science; computer and information security; and information technology.

2. Work With Computers With a Goal of Understanding Network Architecture

As a cyber security professional, you may be tasked with protecting your hiring organisation’s sensitive data from security breaches. This task will be exceptionally challenging for you if you don’t have a thorough understanding of typical best practices for network architecture.

If you made the decision to pursue a cyber security career before having chosen your university major, you can most likely gain these skills from your coursework.

If you’ve already graduated without acquiring these skills, you have several options. One is to pursue a Master of Cyber Security degree, which is likely to give you these skills plus others you'll need. Another option is to teach yourself about network architecture using books and online resources.

3. Cultivate Coding Expertise

Not all cyber security jobs require coding ability. However, coding skills are an asset, because they’ll allow you to more easily identify malicious code and analyse software for vulnerabilities. Experience with any coding language is helpful, but you'll want to prioritize coding in Python, SQL, Javascript, PHP, Ruby, C and C++.

4. Get Comfortable With the Cloud

Many employers have been migrating their business operations to the cloud. If your skill set doesn't yet include cloud computing, it would be beneficial for you to spend some time updating your skills to include this crucial component.

Following these 4 steps can get you up to speed for launching a new career in cyber security. The suggested combination of skills and education could give you the foundation you need for success as an information security professional.

Author's Bio: 

Author, Freelance writer