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How to Become an IT Security Professional

In 2009, President Obama said, "America's economic prosperity in the twenty-first century will depend on cyber security." President Obama highlighted the fact that the USA depends upon information technology for the majority of our nation's infrastructure, from the conveyance of water, gas, and electricity, to the monitoring and facilitating of transport systems, and more.

Furthermore, on a micro-level, businesses large and small conduct trade, carry out communications, and handle finances through computer systems. From the theft of intellectual property and ATM funds worth millions of dollars, to leaks in classified, vital military intelligence information and the spread of malware across thousands of military computers, the events that took place between 2008 and 2010 alone reflect a dire, pressing need for qualified, skilled IT security professionals.

The career of an IT security professional can offer financial stability, professional success, and intellectual fulfillment. Since every single corporation and government-affiliated body needs to protect sensitive data, the avenues for employment can be diverse. As of 2009, the job of an IT security professional was rated among the 10 best jobs in the world in terms of salary and personal satisfaction.

WM Note: According to PayScale, Information Security Analysts Salaries range from $57,669 to $114,665.

However, to attain employment in this field, you will need to have a solid educational background, hands-on experience, and a keen interest in information technology. While a computer science degree program at the associate's or bachelor's level is the minimum qualification required for entry-level positions in the IT industry, you should consider a Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science with an Information System Security Emphasis if you are interested in becoming an IT security professional.

A Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science with Information systems Security Emphasis can train you in networking, programming, databases, operating systems, and more, helping to qualify you for employment as a programmer, software engineer, or network administrator, but the program also provides instruction in computer forensics, ethical hacking, information security management, cryptography, security concepts, and other security topics, which can equip you for a successful career in information systems security.

The duration of the degree is usually three to four years, but some colleges will allow you to complete it in as few as 30 months. Admission criteria generally include a high school diploma or its equivalent GED credential.

Many IT security professionals choose to back their bachelor's degree with certifications such as CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) in order to stay up to date with current developments within the IT field. Certifications are not a requirement; however, they can help you gain promotions and higher-level employment.

But in order to succeed as an IT security professional, you also need to constantly make efforts to remain up to date with current technological advances, security threats, computer applications, anti- spyware/malware programs, and more. Also, you must be aware of and involved in your company's structure, departments, ventures; failing to do so could lead you to miss potential threats to sensitive data. If you enjoy an ever-evolving field and an intellectual challenge, this could be the profession for you.

California College San Diego (CCSD) has trained graduates for new careers since 1978. CCSD, located in San Diego, offers associate's, associate's of occupational studies, and bachelor's degrees in healthcare, business, and information technology, and master's degrees in healthcare and business. CCSD also provides college degree programs that can be completed in faster-than-traditional time with its FastFlex option.

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