Computer Systems Security

Computer systems security offers a variety of career options for individuals interested in the computer science and information security field. Keep reading to learn about career outlook, educational requirements and certification options for computer systems security.

Is Computer Systems Security for Me?

Career Description

Computer security specialists, systems administrators and information security analysts are a few of the possible job titles that you might have if you work in computer systems security. Computer systems security workers may be responsible for a wide variety of tasks, such as developing methods to encrypt data, performing security assessments and overseeing computer networks. You should enjoy solving complex problems, since new computer security issues arise fairly often. The size of each project varies, which makes it helpful if you're comfortable working alone or on a team.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that computer systems and network administrators would experience an average increase in employment of 12% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov), while information security analysts could look forward to much faster than average growth of 37%. The BLS reported that you should have the best job prospects in computer security if you have related work experience. With additional experience, you can advance to management or consultant positions. Systems and network administrators made a median yearly income of $72,560, and information security analysts made $86,170 in 2012.

How Can I Work in Computer Systems Security?

Education

Employers tend to prefer computer security applicants who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some employers may only require that you have an associate's degree in information security with relevant work experience. It's a good idea to explore different job possibilities in computer systems security before enrolling in a degree program. Computer science and information science are two common areas of study if you wish to become a computer systems security worker.

If you wish to complete a 4-year degree program, a bachelor's degree in computer networks and security is a relevant choice. This degree program gives you computer security course options, such as ethical hacking, digital forensics and information systems security. If you want to obtain a graduate degree, a master's degree in computer science with a concentration in computer systems security might be a good fit. This program can teach you how to create and implement a security policy, design security features and manage computer security.

Certifications

Certifications are sometimes required by employers and can increase your job opportunities. The Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) offers designations for information security professionals. The GIAC Information Security Fundamentals designation shows employers that you know the threats to information security and that you know the best methods to protect that information.

The Check Point Security Administrator certification is another option offered from a security vendor. You usually just need to pass the exam administered by the product vendor or professional organization in order to become certified in information security. Most vendors and organizations usually provide training and course options so you can prepare for the exams. Security certifications normally last for a few years and will need to be renewed periodically in order for you to keep the designation.

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