With the increasing number of corporate data breaches, bugs like Heartbleed, and other cyber risks, the need for IT security professionals has never been more pressing. For tech-minded job seekers, now might be the perfect time to start a career in this field.
"One word can describe the future of IT — 'more,'" said Sarah Isaacs, CEO of information security consulting firm Conventus. "More vulnerabilities, more breaches, data and applications to protect, more complexity in the software we use on a daily basis, more hackers, and more governmental regulations to adhere to."
Isaacs noted that data security and networking have created numerous full-time job opportunities in recent years. Companies are least likely to outsource these two particular areas of IT to freelance or contract workers because of the sensitive nature of the information being handled. [10 Ways to Improve Your IT Security]
"Not only are companies highly secretive about how data travels throughout the network, they are just as tight-lipped about how data is accessed and protected," she told Business News Daily.
If you want to get a job in IT security, Isaacs said that hiring managers are looking for candidates with the following qualifications:
-Technical product experience to operate the necessary hardware and software
-Stellar problem-solving and analytical skills to stay one step ahead of cyberattackers
-Sharp focus to keep on top of vulnerabilities and technological changes
-Great attitude and communication skills, since IT security professionals are frequently a bridge between different groups and teams within a company
Although there are few entry-level IT security positions available in today's job market, broad IT experience with an interest in security can help you break into the field, Isaacs said. To move up in your career, choose one or two specific areas of IT security to specialize in and carve out your niche.
As with any field, strong industry contacts can give you a tremendous leg up when it comes to landing a job in IT security.
"It's impossible to overstate the importance of networking," Isaacs said. "Surround yourself with people with diverse skills sets, such as technical expertise, people skills and business acumen. Don't just collect contacts on LinkedIn — actively solicit feedback and form relationships. Take advantage of their counsel, and offer your own expertise and assistance in return. A wide, diverse network can be incredibly valuable in advancing your career."
Originally published on Business News Daily.