According to a survey of IT leaders and CIOs by TEKsystems, almost 20% believed that the lack of right skills and expertise was the biggest hurdle for them in executing their key technological strategies.
As the name suggests, the job of a security specialist demands special requirements. While there are things that you can learn as you go, you need some technical knowledge beforehand as well.
Moreover, the right experience will also help you get this job at a better place and get those promotions quicker. The exact requirements could be different for different industries and various types of organizations. However, these are some of the general requirements:
Since the job is quite technical, you will need to know some hard skills such as:
- Fluency in programming languages such as Java, C, C++, C#, PHP
- Familiarity with different operating systems such as Linux, Windows, UNIX
- Performing penetration and vulnerability tests
- Understanding of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
- Setting up programs and software for protection and firewall configurations
What’s more, this isn’t exactly a one-person job. Depending on the size of the company, you might be working with a team. Therefore, you will need some soft skills too, such as:
- Working with others
- Managing a team
- Critical thinking
- Interpersonal skills
Some of the hard skills mentioned might seem quite hard to attain in a short time. However, if you have the right educational background, you might already know some of this stuff. Similarly, for soft skills, certain degrees and qualifications will be helpful, if not necessary.
Considering all this, a college or bachelor’s degree will help you develop skills such as working with others and communication skills. Also, a degree related to IT, such as in computer science or information security, will help you obtain some of those hard skills.
After that, a higher degree of education, such as a master’s degree will help you develop an understanding of even more skills. During your school, you will probably be involved in lots of projects and internships. These will give you that crucial hands-on experience.
All this will help you obtain the knowledge and expertise needed to get that first job and start gaining experience.
Depending on the size of the company and the exact responsibilities of your job, different companies will have different requirements. Companies which require more technical work to be done may ask for at least five years of experience.
Alternatively, some companies might be satisfied with even one or two years of work experience.
Needless to say, the experience we’re talking about is in the relevant field. You should have experience in dealing with cybersecurity and information security. The more relevant your expertise and knowledge is, the better candidate you’ll seem.
If you think you lack some of the right skills or experience and find yourself at a disadvantage, certifications are the perfect way to get yourself back in the game. Even if you’ve got everything, getting a certification can equip you with more skills. It can help you boost up your resume and make you stand out among the crowd.
Moreover, if you already have a place in mind where you want to work, you can look at that specific employer’s job requirements. Then, whatever you fall short of, you can try to obtain the relevant certifications or licenses for it.
Even while you’re on the job, certain certifications can help you polish your old skills and stay updated on new ones. Some certifications you can consider are:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- EC-Council Network Security Administrator (ENSA)
- Certified Wireless Network Professional
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- CompTIA Security+
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)