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Network Security

Education and Training – Bachelor’s Degree
Average Salary – $66,000
Job Outlook – Excellent

People working the field of network security are responsible for maintaining the security of a computer network. Computer networks that are not secured properly are vulnerable to hacks and other malicious occurrences and even the most secure updates need constant care to maintain their level of security. Hacking is becoming increasingly more prevalent and this requires network security workers who are skillful and knowledgeable about the methods used to deter hackers and protect their network.

IT professionals responsible for network security need to be familiar with the latest hacks that malicious computer users are carrying out in order to secure their network from similar threats. Continuous training is part of this role as staying up to date with the fast moving world of computing is essential.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to land a role as a network security specialist, an applicant will typically need to have a Bachelor’s degree. This should be in an IT related field and if it is in network security specifically then this is very advantageous. Some employers will accept a relevant associate’s degree if it is coupled with various professional certifications related to IT security. The main requirement for a position in network security is having a thorough understanding of computer networks and ways to keep them safe. A high level of intelligence is needed.

High school courses in IT may be an ideal first step for someone looking to enter the world of network security. Professional certificates in IT security can be obtained at any age and these are excellent ways for candidates to show employers that they have the needed skills. Training in network security will be ongoing throughout a person’s career due to the rapidly evolving world of computer security.

Getting the Job

Getting a job in network security requires the right mix of academic qualification and practical experience. Individuals need to be self-motivated as often network security is a solitary position which may not involve a large deal of interaction with colleagues. It is very much a technical, rather than people, focused role. Demonstrable experience at protecting computer networks from security threats is a huge advantage. A prior background in some form of computer related job is also a good first step.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Job growth in network security is expected to be excellent over the coming years. Network security, and IT in general, is predicted to rapidly expand the number of jobs due to the increasing spread of computers to almost every area of life. As the average computer network gets more sophisticated, so do the hackers seeking to exploit it.

Network security employees may seek to progress their career by advancing to a head IT position for a company they work for. Alternatively, many network security workers start their own security and consultancy businesses.

Working Conditions and Environment

The typical working environment for someone in the field of network security is the modern office based work place. This is not always the case as computer networks can be found in a lot of different places in the modern world and many of them require network security personnel. Network security workers typically work standard office hours but some are on call or required to work throughout the night at the most sensitive and vital computer networks, such as those used by the government and military. It can be a stressful position as it will likely involve fending off malicious attacks by computer hackers.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a network security worker is around $66,000 although this is usually achieved with a few years of experience. Starting salaries may be around $25,000 and for the most senior network security specialists salaries in excess of $100,000 are not unheard of. One way for network security workers to increase their income is by starting consultancy firms. Many private companies that employ network security staff offer good benefits packages.

Where to Go for More Information

Data Management International
19239 N Dale Mabry Hwy., Ste. 132
Lutz, Florida 33548

National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies
3000 Landerholm Circle SE.
Bellevue, WA 98007

University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering Department
AC101 Paul G. Allen Center, Box 352350
185 Stevens Way
Seattle, WA 98195-2350

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesComputers, IT & Telecommunications