Top 8 Cyber Security Skills Employers Are Looking For [2021]

The demand for cybersecurity professionals is on the rise. According to a report by Indeed, the searches for cybersecurity-related roles grew by 30% from February to May 2020. During the pandemic, the number of cyberattacks on organizations and individuals increased substantially due to which, the demand for skilled professionals in this field has increased considerably.

To become a cybersecurity professional, you’ll need to develop several skills. Figuring out which skills you should learn can be confusing so we have prepared the following article which covers the necessary skills for cybersecurity professionals. 

Top Cyber Security Skills

1. Programming Skills

First, you should be familiar with multiple programming languages. Some of the prominent programming languages include Python, Java, PHP, and .NET. Every programming language has its specific applications and advantages. For example, PHP will help you work with servers and analyze their security requirements. On the other hand, Python has many libraries for numerous applications due to which it’s a must-have for any cybersecurity professional. 

By learning multiple programming languages, you’d get to develop coding skills at the same time. Good coders focus on reducing the lines of code they write for performing an action to reduce the potential errors. 

2. Operating Systems

An operating system (OS) is a software solution that communicates with the hardware. It also allows other software programs to run on the device. Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux are some of the most prominent operating systems. An operating system would allow the user to manage input and output, manage the memory, process, and files of the device. 

You should know how to work with operating systems and their ins and outs. Understanding the basic components of an operating system helps you understand the weaknesses and potential exploits of the solution. Many hackers and malware focus on identifying the weaknesses of these operating systems so you should be familiar with them. It’s among the most important cybersecurity skills. 

3. Networking and Virtualization

A network allows multiple computer devices to share information and data through digital interconnections. Networking is a vital skill for cybersecurity because like the operating systems, malicious elements try to find weaknesses in a network to breach the same. 

Understanding how a network works and what are its components will help you learn about network security, a prominent branch of cybersecurity. Network security refers to the specific configurations and rules which safeguard a computer network and its data through hardware and software solutions.

Another related skill is virtualization which is the process of creating a virtual software machine within a device. A virtual machine has its particular RAM, CPU, and memory capabilities and is separate from the software of the physical device it resides on. By learning virtualization, you can create multiple virtual machines within one computer. 

Virtualization is one of the most important skills for cybersecurity professionals because it allows them to run tests without requiring additional hardware or resources. 

4. Analytics and Intelligence

Analytics is the process of analyzing data and generating insights from it. You should know how to perform analytics and find out the areas you need to work the most on. Being familiar with the basic concept of analytics and intelligence will help you in learning cybersecurity analytics, which focuses on using data attribution, analysis, and aggregation to get the required information to plan out future implementations. 

To understand the basics of analytics, you can brush up on your knowledge of statistics. Learning statistics will provide you with a solid foundation to study the advanced concepts of cybersecurity analytics. 

5. Intrusion Detection

Cybersecurity professionals must know how to detect an intrusion event and act accordingly. You should be familiar with IDS (Intrusion Detection System) and know how to use them. 

An IDS is a software solution or a device that monitors a system for policy violations or malicious activity. There are multiple types of intrusion detection systems: 

  • Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS)
  • Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS)
  • Host-based Intrusion Detection System (HIDS)

An IDS would identify the malicious event and report it to the network or system administrator. It might also record the event and store it in the Security Information and Event Management System. 

Companies expect you to be familiar with the functions of an IDS and all kinds of this technology. You would be using it all the time as a cybersecurity professional that’s why it’s among the most important cybersecurity skills. 

6. Digital Forensics

Digital forensics refers to the processes which help you analyze a cyber attack or security breach and identify the probable culprit. You should be familiar with the various digital forensics tools used in the industry and how to use them. They will help you find anomalies, data, malicious activities on the network and act accordingly. 

7. Application Security Development

Apart from working with existing systems and devices, you might also have to work with in-development solutions. In application security development, a cybersecurity professional has to test the application and identify the potential weaknesses which might get exploited. They find, fix, and prevent vulnerabilities. 

As more and more companies are focused on released applications, the demand for application security development is also increasing. That’s why you should add this skill to your arsenal. You should know how to test an application and analyze its performance to find its weaknesses. 

8. SIEM Management

SIEM stands for Security Incident and Event Management. It’s a security management method where you combine a Security Information Management System with a Security Event Management System. A SIEM solution would collect data in real-time and analyze the security threats and identify the related events. The solution would also identify patterns of suspicious behaviour to help you identify probable threats and sources of danger for your system.

It’s one of the strongest tools in a cybersecurity professional arsenal. You’d know how to generate insights from its analytics, that’s why we added it as one of the most important cybersecurity skills. 

With a SIEM, you can expose potential unknown and known threats, get reports, back up the incident response, and monitor the regulated activity. 

How to Learn The Necessary Skills for Cyber Security

As you must have seen by now, there are multiple skills you must learn to become a cybersecurity professional. We know it can be pretty challenging to learn all of these skills at once without a proper structure or guidance. That’s why we recommend taking a cybersecurity course. 

upGrad’s PG Certification in Cybersecurity and PG Diploma in Cybersecurity will teach you all the necessary skills and subjects you need to become a professional. You’ll get to learn directly from industry experts through live video sessions. The course gives you IIIT Bangalore alumni status and access to work class faculty members. 

Some of the prominent skills our course covers include:

  • Cryptography,
  • Data secrecy
  • Network security
  • Application security

You only need to have a bachelor’s degree with 50% or more marks to be eligible for this program. It doesn’t require you to have any coding experience. By the end of this course, you’d be familiar with many cybersecurity technologies including Git, Python, Java, and Amazon Web Service (AWS). 


Cybersecurity professionals are like the security force of an organization. They stave off all unwanted and malicious parties through their implemented technologies. By learning the cybersecurity skills we discussed in this article, you can easily become an in-demand professional. 

If you have any questions or suggestions about this article, please let us know by dropping a comment below.  

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