I.T. security specialists are tech professionals who leverage their in-depth understanding of cyber security technologies, threats, and countermeasures to ensure secure I.T. networks and systems. This includes tasks such as installing and configuring security software to prevent cyber-attacks, responding to cyber-attacks with the right countermeasures, and educating employees on data security, monitoring, and protecting against breaches.
The demand for information security specialists is quite high across various organizational verticals and structures, including government agencies, medical practices, schools, and corporations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for information security specialists will grow by 32% between 2018 and 2028, offering a well above average salary, when compared to other industries. Accredited security specialist education facilities offer training programs, courses, and certificates in I.T. security tools and technologies that can help you land your dream job as an I.T. security specialist.
I.T. Security Specialist Job Description
Information security specialists are highly experienced and trained members of the I.T. department responsible for planning and implementing security measures, securing the I.T. infrastructure, monitoring systems for security breaches, and responding to cyber-attacks. They are vital professionals who help enterprises protect their data assets because maintaining secure information systems has become essential for businesses today. As the number of cyber-attacks continues to grow (while becoming increasingly sophisticated), companies are looking for I.T. security specialists to help them find innovative solutions for preventing cyber-criminals from accessing and stealing their invaluable data.
The responsibilities are placed on I.T. security specialists are continually expanding, becoming increasingly complex. I.T. Security specialists are always looking for ways to stay one step ahead of cyber-attackers, which is why they must keep track of the latest methods criminals are using to infiltrate computer networks and systems. Also, I.T. Security specialists are those who decide on the most effective measures that will protect the enterprise’s information.
On a normal day, I.T. security specialists can be found:
- Installing new security software
- Monitoring I.T. networks for security breaches and violations
- Conducting penetration testing to detect vulnerabilities in the information systems
- Preparing reports on security breaches
- Recommending security changes to the CEO, CIO, or other executives
- Developing I.T. security standards
- Teaching staff about cyber security procedures
I.T. Security Specialist Program
A security specialist is basically an entry-level position in the world of cyber security. It means that there are various positions that you can start out in, and then work your way up into a management role. The career path of an I.T. Security specialist is promising, and there are different paths to take toward an executive role.
When first starting your career, you may not be required to have a certification or a computer sciences technical college degree (depending on your future employer’s job requirements). But they are an excellent idea if you are completely new to the world of I.T., and they will give you something to work towards while gaining some hands-on work experience. Having the right certifications in system security may help you get a promotion.
The Information Technology Security Specialist (ITSS) Program is designed for ITSA (Information Technology Security and Administration) graduates and other I.T. professionals who want to gain additional credentials and expand their skills set in Information Assurance or Networking and Cyber Security.
MyComputerCareer offers an I.T. security specialist certificate program that will prepare you to receive 6 certifications in Network Administration and Security. These certifications include:
- CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker certification)
- CySA+ (Cyber Security Analyst certification)
- Security+ (CompTIA’s base-level security certification)
- CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
- MTA Networking / Network+
After completing this program, you’ll have gained the necessary skills and a thorough understanding of basic hardware installation, maintenance and troubleshooting, topology support, networking, and security configuration and analysis of information systems. Prerequisites for the ITSS program may include completion of our ITSA program, or equivalent training, experience, and certifications, in addition to a GED or High School diploma. All our programs include lifetime Career Services support, including access to a network of IT employers and jobs.
Skills Required for an I.T. Security Specialist
Hard skills needed in order to land a job as an I.T. security professional include:
- Being fluent in programming languages such as C, C#, C++, Java or PHP.
- Understanding computer protection software, such as firewall, anti-virus, and anti-malware.
- Being able to perform vulnerability scans and penetration tests.
- Being knowledgeable in Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).
- Understanding of Packet Shaper, Proxy Server, and Load Balancer.
- Being confident in ethical hacking, coding practices, and threat modeling.
- Being comfortable working with Windows, Linux, and UNIX systems.
I.T. Security specialists generally must have these hard skills because they allow them to work with software to create better cyber security measures.
Additional attributes needed for success in an information security specialist career also include soft skills, such as:
- Focus and self-discipline
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Creative problem-solving
- Excellent communication skills
- Organizational and analytical skills
Having experience in project management also boosts employee-to-leadership positions because senior I.T. security specialists create proposals and lead I.T. teams in implementing plans. By going through a comprehensive training program, future security specialists will also be able to explain complex I.T. problems in laymen’s terms to tutor colleagues in best practices and help managers make decisions. Taking courses in I.T. fundamentals, ethics for I.T. professionals, database security, network security, cryptography, project management, and cloud computing security will help you develop the skills that significantly benefit your portfolio as you enter the job market.
Becoming an information systems security specialist is a great way to jumpstart your career in the I.T. domain. Whether you are making a job transition, or it’s something you’re striving for before college, you should prepare yourself by garnering as much knowledge as possible toward what today’s employers are looking for in potential employees. Job requirements typically vary among employers, and you might miss the opportunity to build up your knowledge and work experience before making a switch towards a management or senior position.
MyComputerCareer is an accredited I.T. career college that provides degree program training, certification preparation, and job placement services for anyone who is looking to enter the I.T. industry. Also, we are there to help security professionals seeking additional knowledge and skill sets to help them advance in the field. If you are interested in enrolling in our ITSS program (either online or on-campus), feel free to reach out to us for more information.