Computer Security Specialist

How to Become a Computer Security Specialist

Computer security specialists are crucial to any business, especially given that cyber attacks have become so prevalent. Computer security specialists are responsible for:

  • Planning, coordinating, and implementing the organization’s information security systems
  • Protecting vital computer networks and electronic infrastructures
  • Educating network users and other employees about computer security
  • Installing security software
  • Monitoring networks for security breaches
  • Responding to cyber attacks
  • Gathering data and evidence to be used in prosecuting cyber crimes

Computer Security Specialist Education Requirements

Computer security specialists are usually required to hold a bachelor’s degree in an area such as computer science or information systems. Some positions will only require an associate’s degree supported by relevant practical computer experience. Certification programs can also give interested individuals a door to entry level positions within the field.

It is very important for computer security specialists to be familiar and up to date with all of the latest trends in technology. Computer security specialists should be able to understand new concepts and ideas quickly, as the field of technology is continuously changing.

Job Outlook for Computer Security Specialists

Computer security specialist employment is expected to increase by 18 percent from 2006 to 2016. This rate of growth is much faster than the average for all occupations. This could be a result of:

  • An increased interest in safeguarding data and systems
  • An increase in cyber threats to companies
  • Increased exchange of electronic information around the world

Entry level computer security specialists can expect to earn anywhere between $20,347 and $59,079 annually. Salaries will vary with level of education, experience, and type of position held. Computer security specialists have been known to earn six figure salaries with multiple years of experience in the field.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition, and Payscale.com