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Why are soft skills so important in cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity threats have grown significantly in recent years, accelerated even further by COVID-19 and the mass shift to remote work.
According to the Michael Page Humans of Cybersecurity report, instances of cybercrime have risen by 600% as a result of the pandemic, with 19 million ransomware and phishing attacks identified in Asia from February to May of last year alone.
Consequently, nearly three-quarters (74%) of organisations say they see cybersecurity as a top priority, while 69% have changed their cybersecurity response plan due to COVID-19.
To manage a growing threat landscape, more organisations are seeking cybersecurity specialists to improve their security posture. While hard skills like technical acumen play an important role in the cybersecurity sector, soft skills are equally in great demand as organisations look for talent with the capability to bring people, processes and technology together.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are non-technical traits that relate to how you interact with other people, solve problems and handle your work. Common types of soft skills include:
- Critical thinking
Soft skills have always been a key driver of career success, but perhaps never as critical as they are today. At a time when artificial intelligence and automation are being increasingly used to tackle complex technical tasks like data analysis, the need for soft skills in the workplace is on the rise.
In fact, a report by Deloitte Access Economics estimates that two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 will rely on soft skills. As technology transforms the nature of work – and the role humans play in the workplace – the need for soft skills will continue to grow.
What soft skills are required for cybersecurity?
In a rapidly changing landscape, not only do cybersecurity professionals need to learn from each other but they will need to be able to educate others on the importance of cybersecurity best practice.
According to the Humans of Cybersecurity report, Faisal Yahya, Country Manager at PT Vantage Point Security Indonesia, says this interpersonal component of cybersecurity makes soft skills like communication and leadership essential.
According to Yahya, a ‘growth mindset’ is another soft skill shared by the best cybersecurity professionals. As the threat landscape evolves, being willing to embrace change and having an adaptive mindset is crucial.
“It’s not about personal growth, but how you open yourself up to feedback, how you accept the feedback and create the right architecture for the company,” Yahya underscored.
How to demonstrate your soft skills in an interview
Although it’s important to have a strong resume showcasing your relevant experience when applying for cybersecurity jobs, hiring managers will absolutely gauge your soft skills during the interview process.
So it pays to be prepared with examples of scenarios when your soft skills have positively influenced business outcomes. For instance, if you trained a SecOps team on a new system in a past role, you could use this example to demonstrate your interpersonal skills needed to coordinate a successful adoption, as well as your technical capabilities.
Also keep in mind that interviewers will be looking for cues demonstrating you are personable and can communicate clearly, so it’s a good idea to practise beforehand and consider the interview questions you might be asked so you’re comfortable answering them on the day.
Whether you’re looking to move into a cybersecurity role at your current workplace, or to a new company, aim to demonstrate a good balance between your technical ability and the most relevant soft skills.