What is a Cyberist?

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director Cyber Skills & Growth, at the UK National Cyber Security Centre (a part of GCHQ) said it best in his blog.

Chris wrote the following:

“The term ‘Cyberist’ describes, in a positive light, the role of someone who works in the cyber security profession. Far from being a shadowy figure, a Cyberist is someone with a dynamic career who plays a vital role in the community and wider society, protecting the information and systems we care about and rely on in our daily lives.

That said, it’s been clear from the response that this is quite an emotive subject. One of the immediate lessons we’ve learnt is that you can’t just invent a new word (or re-purpose an existing one) and expect everyone to accept your definition. We asked the target audience what they thought of the term, and received some positive responses, but this was only a small sample. So we’ll use our summer courses to get a much broader view, and maybe discover some alternative suggestions that we can put to a vote – at the risk of course of getting egg all over our ‘Cyber McCyberface’.

In the meantime, if you’ve any thoughts on the term ‘Cyberist’, or what we should use to inspire the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, feel free to comment below.”

Like Chris, I’ve been in this business nearly 30 years, or almost 50 years if I tag my time with Signal Intelligence and Electronic Warfare while in the Canadian Forces (CF) and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), and I still struggle to explain what I do to people in general also. Over the years I’ve been described as an operator, technician, technologist, engineer, a computer and information security geek, an information assurance expert, and now cybersecurity professional. However, none of these terms describe what we do, or what the job is. None of these designations will inspire the next generation to think of cybersecurity as a career. Moreover, when you add to this films, novels, TV programmes, and the Internet portrait of cybersecurity, which is usually a guy in darkened rooms, wearing a hoody, full of malice, you’ll appreciate that we face quite a challenge in naming ourselves.

I for one like Cyberist very much, and from there named my company Cyberistix (as in futuristic).