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Occupation Details

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IT/Cyber Security Specialist

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€32k > 75
IT Security Specialist
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€32 - 75
Related Information:
Typical salary range is:
Graduate/Starting: 42
Senior/Potential: 75+
Data Source(s):
Smart Futures / Payscale.com

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

Employment growth in this occupation is in line with the national average. Demand relates primarily to those with a third level qualification, with experience a key contributory factor in emerging shortages.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category

ICT Specialists & Project Managers

Also included in this category:

Technical directors (computer services); data centre managers; IT managers; IT support managers; programme managers (computing); project leaders (software design).

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 3%
Male / Female: 70 / 30%
Non-Nationals: 18%
With Third Level: 84%
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At a Glance... header image

Implements and monitors security protocols at the development stages of software systems, networks and data centres.

Videos & Interviews header image

The Work header image

IT Security is fast becoming one of the most important roles in the tech sector as cybercriminals and hackers become more and more sophisticated.

Any computer connected to the Internet is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber security is the technique used to protect computers and networks from these types of intrusions and from criminal attack.

Specialists in cybersecurity are among the most sought-after professionals in the tech sector, as business and governments seek to fight off an increasingly daring and ruthless group of global cybercriminals and hackers. With some of the world’s biggest firms and banks as well as governments under constant fire of threats, skilled, clever and dedicated security specialists work in a field that demands a mix of artistry and technical expertise. They need to be one step ahead of the hackers and organised criminals at all times.

Alternative job titles for this role include:

  • Cybersecurity specialist
  • Network security specialist
  • Information security specialist
  • Cybersecurity software engineers

The Work

  • Implements security protocol at the development stages of software systems, networks and data centres
  • Looks for vulnerabilities and risks in hardware and software
  • Finds the best way to secure the IT infrastructure of an organisation
  • Builds firewalls into network infrastructures
  • Constantly monitors for attacks and intrusion
  • When the cybersecurity specialist finds a potential threat or attempted breach, close off the security vulnerability
  • Identifies the perpetrator and liaises with the police if necessary

There is strong demand for skilled, qualified IT security specialists both in Ireland and around the world as the threat from cybercriminals and hackers grows. There is great potential for career progression, especially in larger organisations and financial service providers. There is also scope for experienced security professionals to set up their own business as consultants.

Why it matters

Months after American hackers demonstrated how easily they could disable an electric car while it was in motion, carmakers are under growing pressure to do something about the threat. U.S. senators are asking carmakers to provide updates on what they were doing to protect motorists from unwanted intrusions. The Canadian military are now looking for car hackers to study “the security of automotive vehicles, including understanding their vulnerabilities and assessing the potential mitigation measures”. Similarly, Tesla and General Motors are hiring security researchers to help them secure their vehicles before release.

Typical employers of IT Security Specialists  include:

  • Network providers
  • Government
  • Banks
  • Schools and universities
  • Airlines
  • Any large organisation with a database
  • Security consultancy firms

 Smart Future

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Produce or assemble components of articles, such as store fixtures, office equipment, cabinets, or high-grade furniture.


Verify dimensions or check the quality or fit of pieces to ensure adherence to specifications.


Set up or operate machines, including power saws, jointers, mortisers, tenoners, molders, or shapers, to cut, mold, or shape woodstock or wood substitutes.


Measure and mark dimensions of parts on paper or lumber stock prior to cutting, following blueprints, to ensure a tight fit and quality product.


Reinforce joints with nails or other fasteners to prepare articles for finishing.


Attach parts or subassemblies together to form completed units, using glue, dowels, nails, screws, or clamps.


Establish the specifications of articles to be constructed or repaired or plan the methods or operations for shaping or assembling parts, based on blueprints, drawings, diagrams, or oral or written instructions.


Cut timber to the right size and shape and trim parts of joints to ensure a snug fit, using hand tools, such as planes, chisels, or wood files.


Match materials for color, grain, or texture, giving attention to knots or other features of the wood.


Trim, sand, or scrape surfaces or joints to prepare articles for finishing.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Handling and Moving Objects: Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.


Controlling Machines and Processes: Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Performing General Physical Activities: Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.


Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People: Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.


Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment: Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material: Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.


Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others: Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Design: Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.


Mechanical: Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.


Production and Processing: Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Building and Construction: Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Quality Control Analysis: Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.


Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.


Equipment Selection: Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.


Time Management: Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.


Operations Analysis: Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

Skills and qualities required for this role include:

  • Strong IT skills and knowledge including hardware, software and networks
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of IT systems
  • A forensic approach to challenges
  • A deep understanding on how hackers work and ability to keep up with the fast pace of change in the criminal cyber-underworld
  • Ability to seek out vulnerabilities in IT infrastructures

Entry Routesheader image

Most positions in cyber security require at least a bachelors degree. Employers are seeking to hire employees with proficiency in:

  • Firewalls
  • Network Security
  • UNIX
  • CISA
  • Cryptography
  • Cisco
  • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
  • System and Network Configuration
  • Scanners

 Relevant qualifications for a career in this area include Degrees in:

  • IT security
  • Computer programming
  • Computer science
  • Information science
  • Computer engineering
  • Software engineering.

All are common gateways to a career in IT Security. Alternative routes may apply to students with related courses, general computing certification or diploma level qualifications. Courses in Computer Forensics and Security, or Digital Forensics and Cyber Security can also be found at at the Institutes of Technology countrywide.

Further details on eligibility requirements for third level entry following FET /QQI qualification, see CAO course search.

Last Updated: November, 2015

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Irish Software Association
Address: Confederation House, 84/86 Lower Baggot St. Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 605 1500
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: ICS - The Society for Chartered IT Professionals in Ireland
Address: 87-89 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 644 7820
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Irish Internet Association
Address: The Digital Hub, 157 Thomas Street, Dublin 8
Tel: (01) 542 4154
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Computers & ICT
Security, Defence & Law Enforcement

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