Internet security specialists work to secure the computers and networks of businesses and individuals. These positions usually require a bachelor's degree in computer science, but some can be obtained with a certificate program or an associate's degree. Certification is available and is usually voluntary.
Internet security specialists help manage the security of computers for businesses and individuals. These professionals may also teach people about keeping their own networks and computers secure, as well as install and monitor security programs. Although some of these professionals earn a certificate or associate's degree, it's most common for them to have a bachelor's degree in computer science, management information systems or a related field. Aspiring information security specialists usually need some work experience in the field, and they may pursue voluntary certification.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in computer science, management information systems or similar field|
|Other Requirements||Up to five years of work experience; optional security certification|
|Projected Job Growth||18% from 2014-2024*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$90,120 annually for information security analysts*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Salary Information for Internet Security Specialists
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median annual salary for an information security analyst was $90,120 as of May 2015. Most of these analysts earned between $51,820 and $143,770 per year.
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Career Information for Internet Security Specialists
Internet security specialists are responsible for a wide variety of computer tasks. They monitor and update security programs, develop ways to protect computers against viruses and threats, install firewalls and maintain the overall functioning of computers.
In general, these professionals work in offices and make visits to businesses to assist with the needs of customers. Specialists need to have strong software and hardware skills, excellent communication and people skills as well as the ability to work on computers and fix routine or complex problems.
The BLS also suggests that because of advancing technology and the need for protection against computer threats, career opportunities for these workers are expected to be strong from 2014-2024, with faster-than-average employment growth of 18%.
Many working professionals hold a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in information science, computer science or management information systems. As technology and demand increases, more jobs may require employees to earn at least a bachelor's degree or even a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on computer and Internet security. Although there are different career paths prospective Internet security specialists can take, there are core classes required for any program, addressing:
- Operating systems
- Computer threats
- Security awareness and policies
- Managing network security
- Information technology and data assurance
Many computer associations offer voluntary certification and training programs for Internet security specialists, including CompTIA and Microsoft. It is highly recommended that specialists take continuing education courses as technology advances.
While most internet security positions require a bachelor's degree, some may call for a master's degree. Continuing education courses are recommended to keep up with changes in technology. The median annual salary is around $90,000, and the job growth outlook for this position is much faster than the market as a whole.