Cyber intelligence officer

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Cyber intelligence officers gather information about where threats to information technology (IT) systems come from and how they work.

Salary Range: £31,500 to £50,000

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How to become a cyber intelligence officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • a graduate training scheme
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University

You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in one of the following subjects:

  • computer science
  • computer or cyber security
  • mathematics
  • network engineering and security

You could take a postgraduate course in computing or cyber security if your first degree is not in a related subject, or if you have a lot of industry experience.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

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Apprenticeship

You could do a higher or degree apprenticeship in:

  • cyber security
  • cyber intrusion
  • network engineering

GCHQ also runs a cyber security degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More information

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Work

You could start work with an IT security firm, for example as a support technician after doing GCSEs or A levels, then work your way up while studying for further qualifications on the job.

Other routes

If you have a degree or relevant work experience, you could apply for MI5’s Intelligence and Data Analyst Development Programme.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about working in digital security from the National Cyber Security Centre and Security Service MI5.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • telecommunications knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • persistence and determination
  • maths skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

Restrictions and requirements

For public sector work, you may need to go through UK Security Vetting. This includes:

  • a counter terrorist check
  • a security check (SC) – for access to information classified as ‘secret’
  • developed vetting (DV) – for access to information classified as ‘top secret’

For private sector work, you may not need to be vetted unless you’re working on government systems.

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you’ll often be:

  • identifying common weaknesses in IT networks
  • using digital resources to gather information and evidence
  • using computer forensics to identify attackers, their motivations and techniques
  • analysing threats to major security systems
  • monitoring new and evolving threats and assessing their potential impact
  • keeping databases of threats and hackers
  • producing threat assessment reports with recommendations for protective action
  • developing relationships with other organisations to safely share security knowledge
  • updating your skills and knowledge

Working environment

You could work in an office or at a client’s business.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a specialised cyber security lead and then head of cyber security.

You could also work as a freelance security contractor.