With the spread of networking and the increasing threats to network security, it has become a core operational area, and network security jobs such as Computer Security Analysts, Information Security Analysts, and others rank amongst the fastest growing career options.
Network security specialists maintain the security and integrity computer networks, aiming to protect the enterprise from the threats of hackers, viruses, worms, and digital eavesdroppers.
Network security specialists design and maintain safe networks. Depending on the level of the job and nature of expertise they define security policies, install and monitor intrusion prevention systems, firewalls and other safety systems, monitor data and network communications on a constant basis, and take remedial actions whenever necessary. They also work to grant and restrict end user privileges, and ensure implementation of the security policy.
One major area of work, regardless on the nature of job is to keep abreast of new threats and vulnerabilities and making necessary changes in the network infrastructure or policies when required.
Education and Certifications
Many colleges offer degrees in Network Engineering, and there are even specialized MBA programs in Network Management, trying to reconcile business needs with network capabilities and limitations.
Most network security specialists have a college degree in computer science or another technical subject, and obtain network security training by joining certificate courses. Careers in network security also make for good career change options for people with background in investigative law and forensics
The popular certificate courses relevant for network security jobs are Cisco (Cisco Certified Network Associate or Cisco Certified Network Professional), Microsoft (Microsoft Certified Computer Engineer), Linux Red Hat or others.
Success in network security jobs depends more on skills rather than formal education qualifications. Basic knowledge of IT and network management, including TCP/IP is a must, as in investigative skills and an enthusiasm to learn and keep abreast with the latest developments.
High end jobs such as network engineer require a graduate degree with some years of work experience as a technician. Low end jobs such as technicians usually require only a certificate course that basically equips a person with competency in troubleshooting, and some exposure to computer networks. The experience that comes from handling different types of networks and varying user requirements and security threats adds to the expertise and allows for career advancement.
The typical career path of a network security specialist is starting off as a network administrator, and progressing as a network technician and system administrator, after acquiring years of experience.
High end network security jobs, such as those of network engineers and security architects usually require about 10 years of experience.
Experienced network security professionals remain much in demand, and network security jobs rank high in the list of top paying careers in the United States.