As cloud computing and company reliance on technology grow, security specialists become more important. These individuals are in charge of their company’s cybersecurity, keeping an eye on existing security infrastructure to ensure that essential data is protected. They conduct routine reviews and offer recommendations for improvements as needed, making them accountable for remaining up to date on best practices and reactions to emerging risks.
The median security specialist pay, according to PayScale, is $76,000. Annual pay could reach $100,000 if you have enough experience in the profession. Security specialists are in high demand in a wide range of businesses across the country, including aerospace engineering, finance, manufacturing, and entertainment.
This article contains in-depth information about security specialist careers, including day-to-day duties. It also discusses prominent companies, as well as security specialists, needs such as education, skills, certifications, and experience, as well as key statistics such as wage potential and predicted occupational growth.
What Does a Security Specialist Do?
Security specialists are in charge of their firm’s computer security, ensuring that company data is safe and guard against cyberattacks. Companies hire these people to analyze present systems, investigate ever-evolving dangers, recommend improvements, and execute changes to prevent security breaches.
Security breaches might have different consequences based on the type of work that a business undertakes. In general, cyberattacks can lead to a loss of consumer trust, sensitive data leaks, network outages, halted production, and compliance violations, making security specialists critical to the overall health of their firm.
Security analysts spend their days researching gadgets, analyzing network structures, and putting security mechanisms like firewalls and software permissions to the test. They look for weak places in defenses and try to bolster them up. They must also report to top management regularly and may be required to present findings and recommendations to management. Security analysts may collaborate with other departments to ensure that their coworkers are aware of the organization’s information security best practices.
Employers frequently demand that security specialist candidates have previous work experiences, such as entry-level roles with information security teams or internships performed as part of their undergraduate education.
Steps to Become a Security Specialist
Employees that work in information security must have hard skills, such as programming languages, and be able to work with sophisticated technological solutions. As a result, these positions necessitate a college diploma. A bachelor’s degree in information security or a related field, such as computer science, is a good place to start for security specialists.
When it comes to implementing and modifying software and doing extensive computer system analysis, security specialists rely on the skills they learned in their degree programs. To spot problems and successfully apply fixes to any breaches that may occur, they need a solid understanding of computer and network infrastructure.
Many businesses demand that security professionals have prior expertise in information security or a related subject. Aspiring security specialists with experience in a specific business, such as banking, may have an advantage over other applicants wishing to work in that field.
Internships and connections can be found through instructors in security schools for aspiring security specialists. Entry-level security specialists may work as members of a subordinate team or in more junior roles in IT departments.
Security certification is frequently necessary for progression in the workplace, but it can also help individuals improve their resumes and stand out in the job market. Certified wireless network professional, which includes mid-tier and advanced levels for securing WiFi networks; CompTIA Security+, which validates foundational knowledge and hands-on skills; and global information assurance certification in security essentials, penetration testing, and incident handling are some of the most popular security certification options.
Security specialists can validate and even increase their skills as security professionals by getting such professional certifications, paving the path for more expertise and job chances.
Top Required Skills for a Security Specialist
Every job posting has its own set of criteria, but security specialists should be familiar with programming languages like C, C++, Java, and PHP. Professionals can use them to establish stronger security measures by collaborating with software applications. Employers also want security specialists to know how to employ user authentication techniques, configure firewalls, do vulnerability testing, and manage security.
Employees with project management expertise are more likely to advance to management positions, as senior security professionals prepare proposals and may lead teams in putting plans into action.
Problem-solving and critical thinking skills, as well as the ability to communicate with company officials, are all required of security specialists. To assist managers in making choices and train coworkers in best practices, security specialists must explain complex computer issues in layman’s terms. As a result, good interpersonal skills can help security specialists succeed in the job.
IT basics, cloud security, cryptography, network security, database security, ethics for IT workers, and project management courses help students build the skills they require. Students may be required to conduct hands-on capstone projects, such as technical proposals, to some degree. As they join the job market, these are quite beneficial to application portfolios.
Professional certifications are commonly understood in programs related to security expert education. Many of their curricula are designed to complement widely accepted credentials, while others include certifications as part of their studies.
Security Specialist Salary
Security specialists with more than nine years of experience earned a median annual salary of $95,841, according to PayScale. As employees learn more specialized skills in areas such as risk management, security information, and event management, cybersecurity, and security testing and auditing, their income prospects rise.
Salary levels for security specialists are also influenced by their location. Wages in New York City, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Columbus were up to 33 percent more than the national average.
Computer-related occupations are expected to rise by 12% countrywide between 2018 and 2028, greatly surpassing the national average growth rate for all occupations, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employers need security expertise to help keep their businesses safe as cloud computing grows and threats change.
Salary varies a lot depending on the industry. According to PayScale, major organizations that pay security specialists substantially over the national average include Boeing, Walt Disney, and American Express. Companies like CACI International Inc, American Electric Power, and IBM may also have plenty of openings for aspiring security specialists.