How to Become an Information Security Specialist

Oct 9, 2021

6 Min Read

The primary responsibility of an information security expert is to look out for network security. Companies are storing an increasing amount of data, so the need for professionals in this field is also rising.

Most information security experts are tasked with monitoring the security of their networks. Their responsibilities also include communicating with their supervisors to alert them about potential vulnerabilities and threats to security. 

What do information security professionals do?

Information security experts have the skills to fill many different roles. The exact job duties depend on the company and seniority level. Most of the time, their job entails having the expertise of the standards and common practices of the security field. To work as a security consultant, an individual must keep up with the latest trends as well.

In some cases, information security professionals have specialized knowledge of working with hardware made by specific brands. CISCO is the most famous example of a network hardware manufacturer. On the other hand, some consultants have a broad experience of working with servers and applications.

After getting hired, information security professionals will keep an eye on potential vulnerabilities in the system. The awareness of the field allows them to find gaps in the security system and report their findings.

The experience of the last few years has confirmed that any company can be vulnerable to hacker attacks. However, it’s possible to prevent these attacks by implementing the necessary security measures. 

Starting a career as an information security professional

1.    Learning – To get a job as an information security expert, it is necessary at least to have an undergraduate degree in a technical field. In some cases, you can get hired without a formal education, but you must prove your expertise by showing a track record of successful work experience in this role. 

However, you can increase your chances of landing a job by getting a degree. Getting a master’s or higher degree will increase your salary and open up more opportunities. Your degree might not be focused on network security, but any technical education will positively affect your career. 

2. Accreditations: Security professionals must be precise when doing their job. That’s why it is essential to have external certifications and approvals to have a successful career. 

When you decide on your career path, research organizations offer certificates that can improve your career potential. Look over job descriptions as well to determine which certifications are preferred by the employers. 

We researched for you. Here’s the summary of in-demand IT security certificates:

Security+ is the most foundational CompTIA certificate. It is also one of the most essential for cybersecurity professionals. The certificate is awarded based on the candidate’s ability to detect vulnerabilities and oversee the risks.  

The same organization can issue a Network+ certificate as well. To receive this certificate, candidates must prove their ability to work with tools and knowledge of common practices. 

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is intended for cybersecurity experts to demonstrate their qualifications. Usually, this certificate is suited for information security experts working in senior positions. The main concepts covered by the CISSP certificate are architecture and organization. 

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a certificate designed to show a higher degree of proficiency in detecting the risks and implementing preventive measures. Ethical hackers use their knowledge to find vulnerabilities and raise the alarm. Experienced candidates with relevant experience can only obtain CEH 

This is just a shortlist of certifications you can get to improve your job prospects. Next, find out which certificates you need to be a more appealing candidate for a job. 

Sometimes the companies are willing to pay for certification exams. When interviewing for a job in an information security field, it’s good to ask about your prospects of career growth within the company.

3. Track record: To get hired in a senior role, a candidate must have experience working in a similar position.  

The skills from your previous job must be transferable to your new career. 

4. Network: Throughout your career, you’ll meet a lot of people. Take your time to establish friendly, mutually helpful relationships with them. Professionals in this field have established numerous communities. Join these organizations for a more straightforward job-searching process and other benefits. 

What are the primary job duties of cybersecurity employees?

Information security experts are tasked with detecting and reporting vulnerabilities in the system. Once the problems are detected, cybersecurity professionals implement the countermeasures to ensure the safety of the networks. 

Professionals in this field spend a lot of time following protocols and checking that systems are up to standard. By doing this, cybersecurity experts ensure that the servers aren’t susceptible to a hacker attack.

Good cybersecurity experts must also have learning and communication skills. First, they must stay up to date with the hacking landscape. Second, they must have communication skills to explain the newest advancements in technology.

Information security experts must act as architects of security tools like firewalls. In addition, individuals of this profession must ensure that the company uses the latest technologies to ensure the safety of the network.

Cybersecurity professionals must be on the lookout to detect bugs or other gaps in network security. If there are any vulnerabilities, the employee must immediately notify their supervisors.

Skills for specialists

The job of Information security professionals requires them to be talented in multiple ways. Individuals who fill these roles must detect the flaws in the system and have the communication skills to explain what they’ve found. So it’s essential to be comfortable while working as a part of a group. When working on network security, your people skills are just as necessary as your hard technical skills.  

In some cases, IT security experts are brought in as contractors when the network is in danger. Unfortunately, sometimes networks malfunction and need to be fixed immediately. That’s why individuals who choose this career must stay focused and thrive in stressful situations. 

         Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field, so anyone working in this field must be up to date with the changes in the industry. Being able to make recommendations for new security is also essential. However, the most important of all is the ability to present your ideas and convince your peers and supervisors to make the necessary changes. 

To have a successful information security career, you must be willing to adapt to changes in the industry. Hackers are very innovative. They come up with new ways to breach the security of a network every day. Cybersecurity consultants must be able to respond to these concerns and implement countermeasures.

Cybersecurity professionals must have a curious personality. They must be willing to learn throughout their careers to improve their employment prospects. They must also be versatile and possess knowledge in many different fields of network security. Their most common tasks might be routine, but information security workers must navigate unfamiliar waters in emergencies. 

The future potential of the profession

When questioned about their happiness in the job, most professionals report high levels of satisfaction. However, information security experts vary depending on their location, job duties, and proven track record. The pay is estimated to be between $50,000 to $115,000, while the average cybersecurity worker’s compensation is $74,140.  

The industry is growing, so network security professionals are poised to be in high demand in the future. As a result, we. can say with near certainty that an investment in a formal cybersecurity degree is worth it.

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