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Career Definition of a Vulnerability Assessor
Imagine that all the information stored on a computer network or storage system, such as a cloud, is protected by a fence. Vulnerability assessors would walk around the fence and look for holes or loose posts that may allow people to get inside the fence. The role of the vulnerability assessor is to look for the weaknesses in existing security systems that protect data from being seen or taken by people who shouldn't be able to access that data. They seek to streamline the process of identifying potential security issues as much as possible by using existing tools or by creating applications. They monitor potential problems and produce reports outlining their findings.
Once they have determined what issues exist they prioritize those issues for repair. In some cases, vulnerability assessors may also run specific tests by attempting to hack into the system to determine if the security measures in place are operating properly.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Analytical skills, attention to detail, computer abilities, communication skills, problem-solving strengths|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$92,600 (information security analysts)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||28% (information security analysts)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Vulnerability assessors need to have a high level of computer skills, and a bachelor's degree and experience in a related field are the most common forms of preparation. Some employers may consider or require relevant certifications. Notable cyber security certifications include CompTIA Security+ and the GIAC Security Certification, which can be obtained by passing the exams.
Vulnerability assessors must have strong computer abilities and pay attention to details to run tests and take note of anything that is out of the ordinary or may indicate a potential security issue. They use their analytical skills to assess systems and information to identify areas of weakness in the security systems that are in place. Communication skills are important since vulnerability assessors must present their conclusions and provide relevant information about their findings to ensure that problems are properly prioritized for repair or improvement.
Career Outlook and Salary
The role of a vulnerability assessor is incorporated into the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listing for information security analysts. While the BLS reports that the average job growth rate for all occupations will be 7% from 2016 to 2026, it expects information security analysts to see job gains of 28% during this same time period. As of 2016, the BLS reported that the median annual income for information security analysts was $92,600.
Vulnerability assessors are involved with protecting data from being accessed by unauthorized users, and those who are considering this career may also be interested in other occupations that involve protecting data from hackers. Information about the roles of computer security experts, penetration testers and ethical hackers can be accessed through these links.