Information security—Valuable Data Needs Invaluable Protection
- May 10, 2016
- Posted by: iNurture
- Category: Blogs
Students who are exploring information security, also called cybersecurity, as a career option, would be happy to know that their job prospects look very bright! Statistically, it has been seen that this is one of the few fields where the demand far exceeds the supply. 1.5 million jobs are expected in this field by the year 2020, according to the Global Information Security Workforce Study. Currently, the average salary per annum is $116,000, according to surveys conducted by several talent hunting organizations such as Semper Secure. Apart from the assured job security and lucrative pay packet, it is also a field that offers unlimited intellectual challenges that make every day different and exciting. For students who are in love with all things computer-related, but who don’t want to fall into a monotonous routine day in and day out, this could be the perfect career option!
What exactly does the field of information security entail?
Information security is the field of knowledge and technology that specializes in protecting organizations, networks, data, and systems from potential threats, espionage, attacks, and terrorism, in the cyber world. This involves protection of both hardware as well as software. With almost every corporate, a government body, civic body, and business being run on the internet today, protecting data and computer networks from the very real possibility of security being compromised, data being stolen, or systems being attacked is crucial to running a business and even government securely.
What are the career paths within the information security field?
Here are some of the fields of expertise that have a good potential for professional growth:
- Network security, which would involve the architecture, firewall, routers, etc.
- Risk management, which would involve the business side
- OS security, specializing in either Windows, Linux, etc., or all of them together
- Application security, which is all about secure programming
Other roles that have potential include:
Enterprise IT security manager, who monitors, enforces security protocols, builds awareness, audits, etc.
- External tester/consultant, who defines the security features and tests them
- Researcher, who keeps the organization up to date with the latest cyber threats
- Security experts in a development group, who would test and review code apart from imparting training to the programmers
These are some of the job titles that are available, starting from the entry level to the top executive level:
Security engineer/consultant, security systems administrator, security analyst, security architect, web penetration tester, source code auditor, vulnerability assessor, network security engineer, disaster recovery analyst, forensic expert, computer crime investigator, and chief information security officer (also called CISO).
Skills required to excel in this field
Experts in the field often talk about the importance of a few key skills that will go a long way in advancing your career. These are:
- Creative thinking and problem solving, along with curiosity and enjoyment in solving problems
- Ability to analyze complex data and see patterns and connect the dots
- Good communication skills to be able to articulate information and ideas to peers, management, and lay people
- A disciplined, systematic work ethic
- Keeping up to date with the latest technologies, procedures, standards, and threats
- Collaborative skills
Learning cybersecurity at the university level
Universities and organizations all over the world are offering comprehensive and detailed cyber security programs to aspiring students. There are Bachelor of Science programs which have concentrations in cybersecurity as well as B.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in cybersecurity. A certification in network security is also helpful. This is a good program for those who are already working in the field of computer technology in other roles but want to change over. Some of the subjects that students have to be well versed in are Unix, network security, cryptology, digital forensics, computer forensics, database design, and database administration. A good working knowledge of hardware is also essential.
What is a typical day like in the life of a cybersecurity professional?
A typical day in the life of an information security would involve reviewing of the security architecture, analyzing the vulnerability scans, developing mitigation strategies, review documentation to ensure that it complies with industry standards, etc.
A career in information security is definitely one that is only set to grow in potential and opportunities as the years go by. This is one for you if you love challenges and don’t want a boring day at work ever!