Information Security Specialist Career Path

Are you thinking of becoming an Information Security Specialist or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an Information Security Specialist, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Information Security Specialist job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

How To Become an Information Security Specialist

An information security specialist develops plans to safeguard computer files against unauthorized disclosure or modification. If you have strong organizational and computer programming skills, you might consider a career as an information security specialist. In this article, we cover the steps needed to become an information security specialist.
Contents

1

Get a computer-related degree.

Since information security work is delicate, employers rarely hire information security specialists who don't have at least an associate degree. To ensure that the people they're hiring are knowledgeable about the industry, many employers like to see candidates who have a bachelor's degree in an IT-related field such as information security or computer science. The courses included in these programs cover computer and network infrastructure. You could even opt for a master's degree in business administration with an information systems concentration.

2

Gain relevant experience.

One of the best ways to apply the knowledge you've learned is through hands-on application. Most employers want to hire information security specialists with at least some level of experience because they will be entrusted with the company's network. Usually, these specialists spend several years working in IT departments as computer administrators or network and systems administrators. Also, certain academic programs might include internship opportunities, which allow you to shadow other information security specialists.

3

Obtain professional certification.

To give yourself an advantage over other prospective information security specialist job seekers, you should consider securing certification. Some of the more common certifications available include the following:

  • CompTIA Security+: Considered a basic certification for information security specialists, the global CompTIA Security+ designation establishes core knowledge about security.
  • CompTIA Network+: This certification focuses on networking infrastructure and operations. It's often considered a foundation certification.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): Considered an advanced certification, the CISSP requires candidates to have at least five years of experience. It covers engineering, architecture, and management.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): Also considered an advanced certification, the CEH requires applicants to have several years of experience. Those who have this certificate understand how cyber attacks unfold.

4

Sharpen your IT skills.

No matter what type of entry-level job as an information security specialist you get, try your best to maximize the opportunity by sharpening your skills. You want a strong set of hard and soft skills, with hard skills representing specific technology and computer skills, while soft skills are more universal such as interpersonal skills. Other hard skills you need to be successful include computer routing, vulnerability assessment, and proficiency in various operating systems. Some soft skills that will be beneficial include problem-solving capabilities, solid communication skills, and self-motivation.

5

Expand your professional network.

You should always look for opportunities to expand your professional network. Consider joining several network-oriented professional cybersecurity organizations and groups. These affiliations might alert members about potential job openings and other professional development opportunities. You can also use your work experience through your entry-level job as an information security specialist and internship to make connections and build a professional network.

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Related careers in the Information Technology Industry

Interested in other Information Technology careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Information Security Specialist skills. Discover some of the most common Information Security Specialist career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Security Consultant
0% skills overlap
28% transitioned to Security Consultant