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
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
You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in one of the following subjects:
- computer science
- computer or cyber security
- 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.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a higher or degree apprenticeship in:
- cyber security
- cyber intrusion
- network engineering
GCHQ also runs a cyber security degree apprenticeship.
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
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.
If you have a degree or relevant work experience, you could apply for MI5’s Intelligence and Data Analyst Development Programme.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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.
What you’ll do
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
You could work in an office or at a client’s business.
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.