Armed forces

Cyber Intelligence Officer

Cyber intelligence officers gather information about where threats to information technology (IT) systems come from and how they work.

Annual Salary

£26000 - £84760

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Future employment

There will be 3% more Cyber Intelligence Officer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

In this role you'll often be:

  • identifying common weaknesses in IT structures (threats)
  • using digital resources to gather information and evidence
  • using computer forensics to identify attackers, their motivations and typical techniques
  • analysing threats to major security systems
  • monitoring new and evolving threats and assessing their potential impact
  • keeping databases of threats and actors
  • producing threat assessment reports with recommendations for protective action
  • developing relationships with other organisations to safely share security knowledge
  • updating your skills and knowledge

You will usually need: 

 4/ 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)

  and level 3 qualifications including 2/3 A levels or a BTEC Extended Diploma in a related subject like Computing or IT.

Your options are then:

1. A university degree in:

  • computer science
  • computer or cyber security
  • mathematics
  • network engineering and security

You could take a postgraduate course in computing or cyber security if your first degree is not in a relevant subject.

2. A higher or degree apprenticeship in:

  • cyber security
  • cyber intrusion
  • network engineering

GCHQ also runs a cyber security degree apprenticeship.

The government publishes an up to date vacancy list of large companies offering degree apprenticeships.

Also to see which companies have vacancies in your area at the moment, go to the government find an apprenticeship site.

3. Working towards this role

You could start work with an IT security firm, for example as an IT support technician after doing GCSEs or A levels, then work your way up while studying for further qualifications on the job.

4. A graduate training scheme

If you have a degree or relevant work experience, you could apply for MI5's Intelligence and Data Analyst Development Programme.

£26000 - £84760

Starter salary: £26000

Experienced salary: £84760

Starting salary for level 4 apprentices £15000 - £21000

Average salary for cyber security staff:£72500

You could work in an office or at a client's business.

There are lots of opportunities for working in government and protecting the IT security of large organisations such as the NHS and also banks, finance and large companies.

With experience, you could become a specialised cyber security lead and then head of cyber security.

You could also be a freelance contractor.

There are lots of opportunities in cyber security in the future.

You can find out more about working in digital security from the National Cyber Security Centre and Security Service MI5.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • persistence and determination
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • this job requires a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications.

You'll need to:

  • be a British or Commonwealth citizen, a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, or a foreign national with the right to stay and work in the UK for an indefinite period

For public sector work, you may need to go through UK vetting for a:

  • security check (SC) - for access to information classified as 'secret'
  • developed vetting (DV) - for access to information classified as 'top secret'

For private sector work, you may not need to be vetted unless you're working on government systems.

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