Top 10 Cybersecurity Skills Every Professional Should Master

December 21, 2023

As black hat hackers and their algorithms evolve, computer and mobile devices worldwide face a rising frequency of sophisticated cyber-attacks. According to a Forbes report, the number of cyber-attacks in Q1 of 2023 increased by 7%, with businesses facing an average of 1248 attacks every week.

Widespread cyber-attacks have skyrocketed the demand for cybersecurity experts or white hat hackers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies these professionals as information security analysts and projects the growth in their demand at 35% or about 56,500 between 2021 and 2031.

The field of cybersecurity offers substantial financial rewards, yet as threats evolve in complexity, professionals must continually enhance their skills to maintain a competitive edge.

For those pursuing or currently engaged in cybersecurity careers, staying abreast of emerging threats and defense strategies is paramount. This is precisely where the following list of the top 10 cybersecurity skills for 2024 comes into play.

Why is the Demand for Skilled Cybersecurity Professionals Skyrocketing?

Government agencies, businesses, and individuals depend on storing and sharing personal information and financial transactions. Businesses are undergoing massive digital transformation, and isolated systems and departments now share information over the Internet and intranet.

This exposes systems to one or more of the following vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit:

  • Out-of-date software
  • Trojan horse attacks
  • DDoS attacks
  • System misconfigurations
  • Poor data encryption
  • Zero-day vulnerabilities
  • Weak authentication methods and passwords
  • Broken algorithms
  • Unsecured websites
  • Code download without security checks

Modern businesses use many devices besides computers that connect to the internet. For example, drones, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, security cameras, credit card machines, etc. Any of these devices can become an entry point for a black hat hacker. This fuels the demand for cybersecurity professionals in diverse businesses.

Statistics show that the average cost of one ransomware attack is $1.85 million. The combined impact of all cyber crimes will stand at $10.5 trillion by 2025 at a growth rate of 15%. Other than the immediate financial loss, there are several long-tail effects of cyber-attacks:

1. Confidential data breach
2. Business disruption
3. Revenue loss from system downtime
4. Brand reputation loss
5. Cost of individual or public interest litigations (PILs)
6. Loss of revenue from customers lost to competitors

There is a growing concern, both for large and small businesses, to protect their sensitive data. Businesses in e-commerce, online payments, supply chain and logistics, and government agencies are particularly at high risk.

Top 10 Cybersecurity Skills

In this section, we delve into the vital realm of cybersecurity, unveiling the top 10 skills that professionals need to master in 2023. These skills not only empower individuals to protect against emerging threats but also lay the foundation for a resilient and secure digital future.

Networking and System Administration

At the heart of every business lies its network infrastructure and the systems it supports. Those capable of constructing, overseeing, and fortifying these foundations are poised for a prosperous cybersecurity vocation. The role of a network and system administrator necessitates a firm grasp of essential routing protocols like TCP/IP and OSI, coupled with a steadfast commitment to staying abreast of emerging cyber threats.

CertificationsCompTIA Security+, CISCO CCNA
Career OpportunitiesNetwork and Computer Systems Administrator
Expected Salary$80,660 per year

Knowledge of Operating Systems and Virtual Machines

Operating systems and virtual machines are two of the most common areas that a black hat hacker exploits. Strong knowledge and expertise in OS and VM will help the cybersecurity professional create a safe working and testing environment within the company.

CertificationsCompTIA Security+, CISSP
Career OpportunitiesInformation Security Analyst
Expected Salary$102,600 per year

Cloud Security

With the migration of systems and databases onto cloud servers, enterprises are shifting their focus from on-premises servers to embracing SaaS solutions. Herein lies the significance of safeguarding remote data centers and server farms, as these repositories house vast volumes of data sourced from clients worldwide, underscoring the paramount importance of their security.

CertificationsAWS, Microsoft Azure, GCP certifications
Career OpportunitiesCloud Security Engineer
Expected Salary$121,027 per year


Entry-level cybersecurity professionals do not need to understand coding. However, as they progress in their careers and encounter heightened security challenges, deciphering code, recognizing malevolent scripts, and even composing code to preempt future system breaches becomes indispensable. This skill set also proves invaluable for engaging in software development within cybersecurity.

CertificationsC/C++, JavaScript, Python, SQL, HTML, and PHP certifications
Career OpportunitiesInformation Security Analyst
Expected Salary$102,600 per year


Scripting helps make tools that automate repetitive tasks and enables you to become an efficient cybersecurity analyst. With scripting languages like JavaScript, you can avoid cross-site scripting attacks.

CertificationsJavaScript certification
Career OpportunitiesInformation Security Analyst
Expected Salary$102,600 per year

Blockchain Security

Blockchain, a rapidly advancing and exceptionally secure technology, operates through distributed databases or nodes within public or private networks. This innovation is also referred to as distributed ledger technology (DLT). Cybersecurity experts must acquaint themselves with the nuances of blockchain technology and its approach to upholding security measures.

CertificationsCertified Blockchain Security Professional TM (CBSP)
Career OpportunitiesBlockchain Security Analyst
Expected Salary$128,870 per year

The Internet of Things (IoT) Security

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are growing exponentially and will play a significant role in businesses in the future. Estimates show that there will be 30 billion connected IoT by 2030. These devices operate on low code, and each one is exposed to cybercrime attacks. Cybersecurity professionals seeking a career in IoT security have a vast scope in this fast-growing technology.

CertificationsCTIA Cybersecurity Certification
Career OpportunitiesIoT Security Analyst
Expected Salary$140,000 per year

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Cybersecurity with a specialization in artificial intelligence makes for a lucrative career. AI is growing rapidly and is finding a footprint in a wide range of businesses as it takes over repetitive tasks and those where decision-making is necessary. AI in cybersecurity can bring unmatched capabilities in detecting cyber threats and evolves without human intervention.

CertificationsAI Cybersecurity Certification
Career OpportunitiesInformation Security Analyst
Expected Salary$102,600 per year

Digital Forensics

Digital forensics comes into play once a hacker has carried out a cyberattack. Skilled professionals track the attack’s origin, collect digital evidence, restore data, and fortify systems against subsequent breaches. Proficiency in this domain necessitates a robust grasp of cybersecurity protocols and the legal frameworks encompassing them.

CertificationsCertified Computer Examiner (CCE), Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)
Career OpportunitiesDigital Forensics Analyst
Expected Salary$86,000 per year

Penetration Testing

Enterprises enlist ethical hackers, also known as white hat hackers, to proactively assess their systems, identifying vulnerabilities that malicious black hat hackers could exploit. Penetration testers simulate actual attacks on these systems to pinpoint areas requiring rectification. Engaging in this field offers substantial financial rewards and a highly lucrative career path.

CertificationsCertified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT), Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
Career OpportunitiesPenetration Tester
Expected Salary$129,827 per year

Additional Cybersecurity Skills

A successful cybersecurity expert has the technical and analytical skills to understand the systems and potential risks comprehensively. Here are some of the analytical skills you will need to succeed:

Risk Analysis

Risk analysts assume the role of identifying potential hazards, comprehending their detrimental impacts and capacity for harm, and gauging their likelihood of occurrence. Successful risk analysis also demands sharp critical thinking and a grasp of cybersecurity protocols integrated into intrusion detection systems.

By enrolling in specialized courses centered on cybersecurity risk analysis, you can equip yourself to formulate preemptive strategies for risk mitigation and response.

Information Security

Information security encompasses skills in protecting electronic data, authentication, authorization, data recovery, and malware analysis. Cybersecurity experts in a company follow the standard incidence response (IR) protocol to handle and mitigate the effects of an attack in real-time. Such incidents include DDoS attacks, phishing, and ransomware.

Security Incident Handling & Response

Once a cyber-attack occurs, you need a clear protocol for incident response (IR). This involves identifying the type of cyber-attack, overseeing response efforts, restoring systems to their previous state, and creating reports for future reference.

Cybersecurity professionals can learn more about IR by attending internal and external training, reading online material, and attending cybersecurity events.

Security Audit

Cybersecurity professionals need auditing skills to identify if the software and hardware comply with the current security trends and best practices.

Laws and Regulations

State and federal laws and regulations govern cybersecurity in each geography. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy is specifically for businesses within the European Union. These laws provide specific guidelines and prevent businesses from cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity professionals can learn about the laws, regulations, and security protocols by reading journals and government websites, consulting with legal experts, and visiting events on cybersecurity.

Soft Skills

As a cybersecurity expert, you maintain ongoing collaboration with colleagues within your organization and the clients who have engaged your services. Possessing exceptional soft skills and high emotional intelligence enables you to articulate your concerns, grasp security intricacies, and pose questions effectively during client interactions. This proficiency facilitates enhanced communication of requirements within the security team as well.


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Are You Ready to Become a Cybersecurity Professional?

As per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the count of information security professionals employed in 2021 totaled 163,000. Forecasts predict an accelerated expansion at a 35% rate, projecting the addition of 56,500 professionals to this field from 2021 to 2031.

Given the substantial escalation in cyber-attacks, there exists an increasing need for cybersecurity experts in both the private and governmental spheres, rendering this career path exceedingly promising. Among the array of career opportunities that await, some include:

  • Digital forensics specialist
  • Information security analyst
  • FBI – Cybersecurity analyst
  • Network analyst
  • Network or systems administrator
  • Network security specialist
  • Vulnerability assessment specialist

If you aspire to thrive in cybersecurity, consider a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and network engineering, which sets the stage for all the career choices mentioned in this article. Additionally, obtaining certifications such as CompTIA+, CCNA, and MCSA further bolsters your professional journey in this domain.For more information on a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and network engineering, reach out to us at 800-736-7744 or write to us.


Can a non-technical person learn cybersecurity?

Yes, a non-technical person can learn cybersecurity with the right resources, dedication, and willingness to learn. Statistics show that about 23% of cybersecurity professionals start their careers in a non-IT field. This contributes significantly to addressing the industry’s escalating workforce requirements.

Can I learn cybersecurity on my own?

You can start learning cybersecurity through online tutorials and assess your interest. However, to grow as a professional, it is recommended that you pursue a bachelor’s degree followed by certifications such as CompTIA+, CCNA, or MCSA.

Are there any additional cybersecurity skills worth considering?

Yes, you should consider the following skills for cybersecurity:

  • Coding and scripting
  • Controls and frameworks
  • Penetration testing
  • Operating systems
  • Incident response
  • Network security control
  • Cloud security
  • Artificial intelligence
  • DevOps
  • Cybersecurity regulatory guidelines and laws

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