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5 Essential Cybersecurity Skill Sets That UK Employers Are Looking For


Cyber-threats aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, they continue to evolve and become more complex with each new advance in technology. 

That’s why cybersecurity professionals can never stop learning on the job. As well as a comprehensive toolbelt of technical skills, and a string of certifications, they must be plugged into the latest developments and potential threats on the horizon, and poised to adapt.

Constant upskilling in the field of cybersecurity is also needed because of the industry’s skills gaps, which aren’t showing signs of improvement. 

According to a 2022 labour market report issued by the UK government, more than 50% of companies were estimated to have a basic skills gap in cybersecurity, while one-third are considered to have a more advanced skills gap in this area. 

These figures have not shifted across four years of reporting, and some skills are growing more scarce than others.

Incident response

The labour market report noted an increase in businesses lacking incident management, rising 10 percentage points from 2020 to 2022. Of the UK firms surveyed, as many as 47% identified incident management, investigation, and digital forensics as a skills gap.

Roles in this area require knowledge of security incident and event monitoring (SIEM) technologies such as Splunk. You need to be proficient in both networking and programming but you’ll also need critical thinking skills. 

For the digital forensics side of things, you’d want to have familiarity with some software such as OpenText’s EnCase, Axiom from Magnet Forensics, and FTK, the Forensic Toolkit from AccessData. Kali Linux is another commonly used platform for digital forensic analysis, as well as our next key skill set.

Penetration testing

Penetration testing sees cybersecurity specialists deploy the tools and techniques of hackers and criminals to try and break into systems and reveal any vulnerabilities. 

By its nature, this role requires candidates who are familiar with the tricks and tools of hacking, as well as industry tools for testing such as the aforementioned Kali Linux, Nessus, Metasploit and SQLMap. 

Those interested in this career path can also test and hone their skills via Hack the Box, a gamified cybersecurity training platform. 

Product development 

As many as 45% of UK firms surveyed identified product development as a skills gap in cybersecurity. The need for cybersecurity to be baked into digital products from the ground up is often preached but not as often practised. Combining cybersecurity expertise with product development skills could help resolve that. 

Product development techniques are user-centred, so cybersecurity specialists in this area need to be able to see things from multiple perspectives – be that a client, end user, or even a hacker. 

Good product leads can also break challenges up into workable tasks and an understanding of concepts such as Agile and Scrum development will benefit professionals in this area. 


Good governance and compliance are essential for teams responsible for securing and managing data, but 43% of UK firms surveyed identified a skills gap in assurance, audits, compliance, and testing. 

Cybersecurity professionals with a good grasp of the law will hold added value to employers. There are different global regulations to consider: GDPR for data processing in the EU, the Payments Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) adhered to globally, the Federal Information Processing Standards of the US and much more. Plus it’s imperative to keep abreast of updates and new regulations coming down the line. 


One of the most-cited skills needed to level up your cybersecurity game isn’t a technical one. 

In the UK, 41% of companies surveyed flagged a complementary skills gap across communication, leadership, management, and sales and marketing skills. The government report also highlighted a lack of skills in technical report writing and the ability to influence the behaviour and culture of staff.

This skillset is vital for cybersecurity to be successful. Practitioners must be able to report to clients, leadership, and colleagues in ways that will be understood. 

The soft skills required here are excellent verbal and written communication as well as emotional intelligence in order to communicate with people on their level, and really effect change in behaviour and decision-making.

Many cybersecurity roles available now via the Tech Funding News jobs board are looking for these skills.

Cyber Security Specialist, BT Group

This Cyber Security Specialist role with BT’s team in Belfast involves arranging penetration testing and ensuring that security controls are in line with standards and regulations such as GDPR and PCI. The ideal candidate will also have a strong track record of influencing stakeholders on security governance best practice. 

Information Security Engineer, Zopa

Digital bank Zopa is looking for an Information Security Engineer to join its London team. This role involves implementing and maintaining the company’s PCI DSS compliance, as well as onboarding new SIEM sources for its security operations centre. This is a cross-functional role working closely with infrastructure, software engineering, and business units, so a solid communicator will stand out as a candidate.

Information Security Liaison Officer, Keywords Studios

This Information Security Liaison Officer job is available with the UK team at Keywords Studios and will involve liaising between the company’s infosec and privacy team and its division for testing and localisation services. Along with more than five years’ of experience in information security, the games development company is looking for someone with excellent written and oral communication skills. 

Search for more in-demand cybersecurity roles on the Tech Funding News jobs board.

This article is part of a partnership with Amply. For partnering opportunities, contact [email protected]m or [email protected].

Picture credits: Depositphotos

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