8 skills needed to be a cyber security expert: Critical thinking

In Your Career ByTeam Acumin / 1st November 2015

One of the things that all cyber security experts have in common is excellent critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is the ability to think rationally and with some clarity about the tasks we do and the things we believe. It encompasses a wide range of skills, including:

• the ability to reflect
• independent thinking
• systematic problem solving
• identifying logical connections
• detecting mistakes in reasoning

If you are already studying cyber security, you’ll probably understand exactly why this is so important to the role. In its most basic form, being a cyber security expert is like being a code breaker – you are presented with a problem and you must use all of your brainpower to solve it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

There is no doubt that critical thinking is vital to this process in so much as you will need to take a piece of software or data apart piece by piece, looking at its connections and how all the pieces work together to perform, and finding any inconsistences and weaknesses that will allow criminals to breach security and cause all manner of problems.


In order to be able to think critically as a cyber security expert, you obviously need to know your routing protocols from your TCP packets, so education in the field is the key to being able to think critically about it.

Another thing that’s helpful for building your critical thinking skills is creating your own systems, apps, databases etc. from the bottom up. After all, if you know how to build something, you’ll be in a much better position to identify problems and issues with the systems other people have built, and you will be able to provide accurate analysis on a range of cyber security issues to boot.