On 31st March 2021, the UK’s cybersecurity sector is set to see a welcome boost to career opportunities with the launch of the UK Cyber Security Council – an independent governing body aiming to set standards and carve out defined career paths which will attract fresh talent and improve diversity within the workforce.

Funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the newly formed Council will work closely with trusted training providers to accredit existing courses and qualifications, as well as create new ones. Like other governing bodies for the legal, medical and engineering sectors, the UK Cyber Security Council will also provide helpful resources to boost employer confidence and equip them with the knowledge needed to successfully build their cyber capabilities.

But what impact will this have on the sector as a whole?

Promoting professional development

Without awareness of the potential career paths within the cybersecurity sector, those who will soon be leaving education or are choosing their path within technology are unlikely to seek out avenues to break into cybersecurity. In addition, research conducted by the DCMS revealed that two-thirds of cybersecurity firms have faced technical cybersecurity skills gaps.

The Council will signpost individuals – at all levels – to appropriate information, resources and opportunities for professional development, distilling niche jargon and mapping out the necessary criteria to obtain relevant qualifications. One of the Council’s core aims is to establish a professional qualification framework, which will recognise individuals’ dedication to the profession and provide clear stepping stones for career progression.

Setting standards for cybersecurity

At the heart of the Council’s operations is a Code of Ethics for both participating organisations and individual professionals, laying out a number of core principals. This will ensure that the Council demonstrates best practice, paving the way for others to do the same while working towards the Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy to make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

These standards are not only for safeguarding, but for accurate and fair representation too. An inclusive national network of industry, government and education partners will open up dialogues surrounding diversity within cybersecurity, which in turn will enable the Council to break down some of the barriers diverse candidates are facing.

Recognising the importance of growth and expansion

Over the past year, the number of active cybersecurity companies in the UK has grown by 21 per cent, contributing £4 billion to the economy and providing employment opportunities for almost 50,000 people. Despite its clear economic value and contribution to safeguarding our infrastructure and online spaces, the sector rarely receives the recognition it deserves.

A key function of the UK Cyber Security Council is to provide accessible, technical expertise to ensure that the country’s future cybersecurity professionals have the skills and support needed to thrive. Thought leadership pieces, penned by some of the key players within the industry, will highlight opportunities for drawing upon the UK’s international links and recognise the sector’s limitless potential, all the while inspiring individuals and organisations to do the same.