Internet Security Specialists


Employment Prospects


Approximately 112,300 information security analysts are employed in the United States. Any company with an Internet presence (Web site, FTP site, e-mail service, etc.) has the potential for security breaches and can benefit from the work and advice of an Internet security specialist. Depending on the size of the company and the nature of the company's business, it might use outside consultants or employ one part-time or several full-time employees. An obvious place of employment is an Internet security consulting firm.

Data forensics is another growing business in which Internet security specialists are hired to act as detectives to find culprits who break into computer networks. To fight this type of crime, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other government agencies have set up various task forces and sub-agencies that employ Internet security specialists.

Starting Out

It is unlikely that someone fresh out of high school or college will get a job as an Internet security specialist. Although education is important, experience is key in the field. Certifications are beneficial, but often you must have a certain number of experience before you can become certified. An internship in systems administration or engineering might introduce you to the security issues of that company.

Many who are in Internet security began in PC technical support and moved to systems administration or engineering. These jobs often include security responsibilities that then lead to positions focusing primarily on security.

If word-of-mouth doesn't get you a job, check job openings on company Web sites and Internet job sites.

Advancement Prospects

Internet security specialists can move into supervisory or management positions and sometimes into executive positions. Those who work for small companies can sometimes advance by moving to larger firms with more sensitive data and more complicated security issues. With experience, an Internet security specialist can become a consultant or launch his or her own consulting company.

Internet security consultants can become sneakers or part of a tiger team. Sneakers and tiger teams are the best in the field who are called in to crack a system on purpose in order to find security holes and then patch them.

Tips for Entry

Choose a specialty. The field is becoming increasingly broader with a wide range of jobs available. Specializing in an area such as database security will help you get a job and possibly get promoted.

Keep yourself educated through classes offered by universities, colleges, or associations. Technology is rapidly evolving and you will need to stay ahead of the learning curve to keep yourself marketable.

Keep abreast of the latest security threats. Follow security warnings about new viruses and loopholes, and pay attention to how they work and how they're resolved.