The university of tulsa Online Blog

Trending topics in the tu online community

Skills Needed for Cybersecurity

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Mar 1, 2024
Cybersecurity Professionals Sitting Around a Table in an Office Having a Meeting.

Skills Needed for Cybersecurity

From commerce, to workplace collaboration, to day-to-day communication and far beyond, we live in a digital ecosystem. While the interconnectivity of the internet brings many advantages, it also comes with some potential vulnerabilities. Chief among them is the opportunity for computer-based criminals to access unauthorized data or to breach confidential files. The role of the cybersecurity professional is to detect and prevent these types of illegal acts, protecting businesses, government agencies, or even individual consumers.

Those who have a twin passion for computer science and crime prevention may gravitate toward this field, seeking ways to make a positive long-term impact. A number of essential skills are needed for cybersecurity success, encompassing digital and technical expertise, and “soft” skills. The best way to cultivate these skills is by completing an accredited degree program, such as an online M.S. in Cyber Security

What Are Cybersecurity Skills?

The term “cybersecurity skills” simply denotes the competencies and qualifications needed to be a productive, contributing member of this profession. Fundamentally, cybersecurity professionals work in the IT department of a business, agency, or organization. Their job is to keep networks and systems safe from any malfeasance or unauthorized access.

Specifically, the skills needed for cybersecurity success include the ability to perform the following.

  • Monitor networks for both internal and external threats
  • Assess digital and related risk levels
  • Troubleshoot potential problems and vulnerabilities
  • Develop and execute plans to prevent computer-based criminal activity
  • Educate other team members on the best practices for digital security

In short, developing the proper portfolio of skills is a critical step when pursuing cybersecurity career paths.

Technical Skills Needed for Cybersecurity Careers 

The particular skills needed for success in this profession can be divided into technical competencies and more general skills. To begin with, consider some of the technical expertise needed by cybersecurity professionals.

Programming Skills

Every cybersecurity professional needs broad knowledge of programming and script languages, such as JavaScript. These computer languages are necessary for writing internal systems coding that can be used to detect and prevent threats. Also, this knowledge is necessary for understanding some of the tricks hackers might use to breach private systems.

Network Configuration and Management

Cybersecurity professionals are tasked with developing internal networks that allow all employees or members of an organization to connect through approved devices. It’s critical to know how these networks operate so the proper security measures can be put into place and used properly.

Firewall Installation

A firewall is a network security measure that’s used to monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic, and potentially to block unauthorized users. Firewalls are one of the most important tools in the cybersecurity toolbox, and professionals in this field must know how to use them strategically.

Familiarity with Operating Systems

Often, a network will encompass multiple operating systems. For example, some employees of a professional network may use Apple devices or Windows devices, such as phones, desktop computers, tablets, and laptops. To ensure all devices are properly secured, cybersecurity professionals need advanced knowledge of all commonly used operating systems.

Soft Skills Needed for Cybersecurity Careers

Beyond these more technical competencies, cybersecurity professionals also need to demonstrate an aptitude for effective communication, organization, and problem solving. Often, these “soft skills” are highly prized in cybersecurity leadership roles. 


The cybersecurity landscape can change abruptly, whether due to a new technology or a new form of online attack. The most effective professionals are agile — able to pivot and respond strategically to major shifts and new developments.

Communication Skills

Cybersecurity professionals must possess both strong written and oral communication skills. Professionals in this field are often called on to brief leadership about potential vulnerabilities or to provide team training on the most up-to-date cybersecurity protocols. Naturally, communication is key in these instances. 

Collaboration Skills

Success in cybersecurity means knowing how to work closely with other IT team members, as well as with non-technical employees who have positions of leadership or authority. Strong interpersonal skills are essential.

Time Management

One of the most pivotal skills needed for cybersecurity success is time management. Professionals in this field must often juggle several different projects and competing timelines, making it imperative to be organized and self-motivated.

Hone the Skills for Cybersecurity Success

To succeed in cybersecurity, it’s important to develop the proper range and type of competencies. One of the best ways to do so is to earn not only an undergraduate degree but to take the next step and obtain an advanced degree. 

An advanced degree, like The University of Tulsa online M.S. in Cyber Security, is designed to develop foundational technical skills as well as strong leadership competencies. The curriculum is structured to help cybersecurity professionals make a meaningful impact on their organization and position themselves for long-term success. 

Find out more about the program today.

Recommended Readings

Cybersecurity Defense Strategies: The Role of Cybersecurity in National Security

The Benefits of Earning Cybersecurity Certification

How to Become a Penetration Tester


Cisco, What Is a Firewall?

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, What is Cybersecurity?

IBM, “What Is Cybersecurity?”

Indeed, “12 Must-Have Cybersecurity Skills (And How To Improve Them)”

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts

Learn more about the benefits of receiving
your degree from The University of Tulsa