Posted June 04, 2014 by

Making a career as Information Security Specialist

Saurabh Tyagi

Saurabh Tyagi

The Heart bleed bug that bit the entire web in April 2014 and the panic in the aftermath made it sure that there is actually a lot to cover when it comes to internet security.  The increasing number of hacker groups and critical data breaches bugging different companies are making a case for the governments to notice. This actually signals to a greater need to keep personal and top-secret information safe from cyber-attacks.  Therefore, making a career as information security specialists is probably the best choice you have right now.

Also, if you need more evidence that the world needs you today more than anytime else, this blog post from ISC2 will serve the right purpose. According to the estimates of (ISC) 2 (International Information System Security Certification Consortium) there are currently 2.25 million information security professionals in the world, however, by the end of 2015 that amount will need to double in order to fill the increasing job demand.

Getting started

Information Security Analysts are ranked fourth in the five best technology jobs in the world right now by a U.S. News report. While this rounds up the reasons for pursuing information security as a career, the conundrum of how to get started in this field also needs a good amount of attention. One can assume a lot of cool job titles the likes of information security crime investigator, forensic analyst, intrusion analyst, ethical hacker and computer crime investigator, however most of them, more or less share the same work responsibilities. The person who starts first in a race is usually the one who wins it, assuming all other parameters remain same.   Thus, if you have made your mind up early about pursuing a career as a security pro, make sure to surround yourself by computers, programming, networks, and similar stuff.

An expert’s advice goes a long way: Another sensible thing to do would be to ask for expert’s opinions and benefit from their experiences. Most IT security pros today will tell you that they didn’t need certifications back when they started out in this field, not that there were many to start with. However, currently there are many vendor-sponsored IT certifications or IT Cyber Security courses that can highly increase your chances of getting hired or promoted at this job.   There are plenty of courses to choose from, the prominent ones being, Certified Ethical Hacker, CompTIA-Security+, and Certified Penetration Testing Consultant amongst others.

Points to consider while choosing a certification: There are various important points to consider while choosing a certification. The first would be about the credibility of the awarding body. If the cyber training institute from where you are pursuing these courses is not reputable enough, employers might see little value in these certifications. Other decisions that you need to make include going vendor-free or staying within a corporation’s umbrella such as CISCO or Juniper.

Things that will help you most: Besides certifications, there are some inherent qualities that will help you out along the way. You should have strong problem-solving and analytical skills. In addition, you should have a solid comprehension of all the latest security regulations and standards, pertaining to the specific industry you are working in. For example, if you are working in the banking industry, you must be aware of all the stringent security measures required in online banking transactions and guidelines for prevention and detection of credit card security frauds.

Top challenges that you will face along the way: The biggest challenge for any information security specialist is to remain up-to-date with the advancing hackers’ methodologies and vulnerabilities in the site’s architecture or internet protocols. The impact of the OpenSSL bug, which is popularly known as Heartbleed reached far and wide since it went public on 7th April 2014. As a security analyst your concern would be an over reliance on OpenSSL as the sole encryption method in the IT security topology and the ways in which you can ensure the benefits of multi-layered encryption in all areas.

Maximizing salaries and benefits:  Information security analysts are one of the most well paid IT professionals. With a little experience and the right certifications, one can expect to earn anywhere between $50,000 to over $100,000. If you want even higher monetary compensations, it is advisable to continuously update your career with recognized cyber security certifications. Nothing works like continual education in the world of information security.

Industries and organizations are progressively opting for secure architectures to protect data and information, which translates to a high demand of information security analysts. As per the data provided by American Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will be 36.5 percent growth in employment opportunities in this profession in the next decade, and this trend is not limited to any particular region or country.

Author Bio

Saurabh Tyagi is a proficient writer having interest in diverse areas like Information technology (IT) Courses, IT security etc. He is also a social media enthusiast and a self-confessed gadget-freak, who loves to follow the latest happenings in the tech world.

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