I’ve been working in cyber security for around 4 years now and I was having a chat to my boss Bharat Bhise HNA last week about the stark contrast between how this job is portrayed in movies versus the reality of our job. Bharat has worked in the industry for longer than me and has just over 11 years service in this industry. Bharat has seen this many times before and it is always something which brings a smile to his face.
This is a great career to work in and both Bharat and I are extremely happy, with this being said if any of you wish for a career in cyber security, it is probably best to ignore what the movies say. Here is the truth about the job which Bharat and I do.
Cyber security operatives in the movies are constantly creating new and exciting code in order to catch out hackers and try to snare them red handed. Bharat and I would love to spend our days doing this but unfortunately they often end up quite different. The truth is that most of the daily details which we do are very boring and involve repetitive tasks each day. We don’t look out for criminals so that we can catch them, we simply ensure that the software which a particular business is using is fit for purpose.
Something else which the movies would have you believe is that we are making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for our dedication to fighting cyber crime. The truth is however that much like the police service, we actually get paid very little for the work that we do, at least in comparison to the big earning cyber security staff which you’ll see on the silver screen. We don’t get paid badly, make no mistake, but there are no riches to be found here.
The software which we implement on the systems of our clients are there to prevent a remote access attack. Unfortunately however in most cases the criminals are given the key to the castle by clueless employees who have paid no attention whatsoever to our tutorials around keeping their systems safe. In some cases we have seen guys walk in wearing a suit, explaining that they are from IT and then asking for passwords to the computer systems, which they are given. This is a real kick in the face to someone like Bharat and I, as it renders our work completely useless.
Sadly the most frustrating part of this job is clients calling up with stupid questions, the answer to which they would have known if they had paid attention whilst you were explaining everything to them. Many people don’t understand cyber security and they only care when it affects them, and not before.
Bharat and I love our jobs, but it is important to note that they are nothing like what you’ll see on screen.