How to Start a New Career in the Security Industry

13 November 2020
Start a new career in the security industry

If you’re interested in starting a new career in the security industry, you’re in the right place! Security jobs are in high demand right now as businesses adapt during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

With hundreds of thousands of people facing unemployment, pivoting to work in new industries is extremely popular at the moment. There is a high demand for jobs that can be done remotely or from home, so job roles in cyber security (which would receive hundreds of applicants even before the pandemic) are now attracting more applicants than ever before.

However, as digital threats evolve, there’s a constant need for fresh analytical thinking in the industry. Online scammers have been using the global situation as an opportunity to scam more people and cyber security professionals need to stay multiple steps ahead of them.

Away from online world, the threat level across the UK and Europe has increased as terrorists committed attacks in France and Austria. As shops, bars and venues start to re-open, security will be a big concern for many business owners.

If you want to make a real difference, there’s never been a better time to start a new career in the security industry.

Whether you’re interested in cyber security, gathering intelligence, data analysis or becoming a security guard, we’re got some helpful advice for you to help you get started.

Define your Security Career Goals

Before you get started looking for a new career in a different industry, consider your longer-term aspirations.

Changing careers is a big step and it’s not a decision you’ll take lightly. You should also decide which area you want to specialise in, whether that’s being a security guard, management, an information security officer, an ethical hacker, or even a bodyguard protecting VIPs and celebrities.

A new career also brings a new lifestyle, so create a vision for yourself to work towards.

Identify your key transferable skills

People enter the security industry from different professional backgrounds and with different skillsets. Many of the entry-level skills for most security jobs are easily gained from relevant experience in other industries.

Broad key skills that you gain through employment include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Self-management
  • Timekeeping and reliability
  • IT skills

All these skills are an excellent starting point when changing careers. You should spend some time mapping out your existing skills as these are attractive to new employers.

Do your Research

During your job hunt, make sure that you’re thoroughly researching the companies and positions that you’re aiming for.

Most companies have active social media accounts, websites and blogs that you can use, and websites like GlassDoor allow you to get a feel for a company from its current and previous employees before your apply.

Related: How to become an ethical hacker

Network with other Security Professionals

Have a look for local events in your area, which may be held virtually now due to the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions. You can also join online communities such as Facebook Groups for security professionals, or use LinkedIn to reach out to others.

Networking can seem daunting for a lot of people, but it doesn’t need to be. Attend networking events with a learning mindset, not a self-promotional mindset – you’re not under pressure to sell yourself, you’re just there to learn and meet some new contacts.

Obtain your SIA Licence

As a security professional, you are responsible for obtaining a licence from the Security Industry Authority, which is a legal requirement in the UK. It is not up to your employer to do this on your behalf, and you have a legal responsibility to retain a valid licence.

Check the SIA website for the latest application cost information.

Attend Online Courses

Online courses are excellent because you can complete them in your own time, alongside your other commitments.

The following selection of courses have been hand-picked for those who are new to the sector, these all make an excellent introduction into the world of the security industry

Introduction to Security Management

This KickStart Course is designed to give you a basic introduction to the specialist function of security management within a business.

You will learn enough detail to understand the role of security management within the business world and also understand the rewarding nature of a career in the security industry.

There are many security management specialists throughout the business world, from junior to senior positions, with responsibilities and work pressures that are commensurate with rewards. This course will give you a solid foundation and overview of basic security management.

Introduction to Security Management Training Course – from £24

Introduction to Physical Security Management

This programme is designed to provide a basic understanding of what physical security protection is, the basic components of what physical security protection provides and how it adds to a safer world.

You will learn an overview of:

  • Physical Security Protection (barriers, guarding, alarms, access control, CCTV and security furniture)
  • Physical Security Technical Systems
  • Manned Guarding Services
  • Security Furniture and Locks – where we provide information and examples of security furniture, used to store items of value and the most common types of locking systems
  • Security Alarm Reactions
  • Incident management
  • Risk reduction
  • Managing threats

Introduction to physical security management Training Course – from £24

Introduction to Cyber Security

Cyber security is that part of protection within a business, or organisation, that is focused on enabling the authorised use of IT systems, at the same time as preventing unauthorised access.

This course covers:

  • The Role of Cyber Security Specialists
  • The Basic Security Management Organisation Structure
  • Modern Cyber Threat Awareness
  • Key Steps to Cyber Security
  • Cyber Security Risk Assessment and Risk Reduction
  • Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)
  • Information Security Protection
  • Convergent Security
  • Business Resilience
  • Cyber Security Specialist as a Career

Introduction to Cyber Security Training Course – from £24

Gain a qualification to become a certified security professional

In order to be competitive for some of the more senior security positions, you’ll need some formally recognised certifications.  

Level 3 Award in Security Management

This qualification has been developed to provide the necessary knowledge and skills for Security Managers or those aspiring to advance their careers within the security industry.

One you have your SIA Licence, this is the next step to learn the necessary management, supervisory and leadership skills that are required to take ownership of a team and contract effectively.

You will learn staff rotas, employment legislation, risk assessments, planning patrols, handling major and minor incidents, proactive task analysis, appraisals, training needs analysis and many more functions of security management using live simulations and desktop exercises to put new abilities into practice.

Level 3 Award in Security Management – From £399 (running several different dates throughout 2021)

Certified Security Analyst

This self-study EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) course will certainly increase your employability in the cyber security industry. This course will provide you with the skills and knowledge in penetration testing training and will prepare you for your ECSA exam.

You can immerse yourself with hands-on penetration testing experience during this globally accepted hacking and penetration testing course.

Certified Security Analyst Training Course – from £1199

Certified Ethical Hacker

This self-study Certified Ethical Hacker program is globally recognised and provides an interactive learning opportunity for those interested in cyber security.

To master the hacking technologies, you will need to become one, albeit an ethical one! The accredited ethical hacking course provides the advanced hacking tools and techniques used by hackers and information security professionals alike.

This course will immerse you into the ‘Hacker Mindset’ so that you will be able to confidently defend against future attacks.

Certified Ethical Hacker Training Course – From £1199

What else to be aware of

Here are some more things to be aware of if you’re considering a new career in the security industry:

Can you work in the security industry if you have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not exclude you from working within the security industry, but certain offences, or offences committed recently could make you ineligible.

There’s a free online eligibility indicator test provided by the UK Government. It will give you an indication of eligibility before forking out the SIA Application fee.

Do you have a history of Mental Illness?

If you have a mental illness, or have had one in the past, that doesn’t mean that you cannot work in the security industry or gain a valid SIA licence. Be prepared to provide an up-to-date medical report that includes any medication you take.

Do you need academic qualifications?

No. You can become a security professional without a University degree, A Levels or GSCEs. However, you will require certified security training in order to obtain your SIA Licence.

At ASTA Training, we’ve supported thousands of students along their journeys into highly successful careers. Our team comprises of security professionals, instructors, assessors and subject matter experts which provides an unparalleled infrastructure.

We are dedicated to increasing knowledge, skills and progression for security professionals and organisations alike.

If you sign up to attend one of our training courses, you also get access to a mentor to support your continual professional development.

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