What You Need to Be an IT Security Professional by Michael Linn

A good IT security professional is experienced in databases, client/desktop support, networking and/or system administration, computer maintenance and programming. Apart from these areas, a good IT security professional must also have the ability of designing and configuring enterprise level networks.

In addition to these technical skills, some soft skills are also important such as customer service skills, problem-solving skills, the ability to think clearly and logically through tough situations, deal with management and communicate clearly and effectively.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average salary of an IT Security Professional is $86,170 per year with entry-level security professional earning an average of $70,500 per year while those in management roles earn an average of $110,100 per year.

The job of an IT security professional is not at all a glamorous one as portrayed in movies. They work long tiring hours often with no reward except knowing that everything is working fine. No one praises them if a good job is done. On the other hand, if anything goes wrong, everyone is after their head! Such is the life of an IT security professional!

At the entry level, the job title that one would look for would be that of a security specialist or technician. They are responsible for applying security measures to servers after the main system administrator has got them secured, maintaining anti-virus, patching servers and reviewing firewall logs. An associate degree in general computer or technology related field is usually enough. Certain certifications like Network+ and Security+ would be beneficial.

For the mid level, graduating in a computer or tech related field or having four years of engineering education or any related field is important. They should have some vendor-neutral certifications such as Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) or the more technically focused ones like:

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator (GCWN) - GIAC stands for Global Information Assurance Certification
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Or vendor specialist certifications like Red Hat or MCSE: Security.

At top is the level of the network security engineer. To be eligible for this level one must have five or more years of experience in computer network security at work and proper education.

The author is a computer security professional with experience protecting small business and home networks. He also teaches the basics of computer network security at 365 Computer Security Training where he blogs regularly and creates video training and educational materials related to information security. Learn more at [parked domain].

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