Thursday, September 20, 2012

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Cyber Security Professionals Need to Seize the Competitive Edge

Florida Tech is ranked a Tier 1 Best National University by U.S. News & World Report, and has been recognized on the Top Online Education honor roll for Bachelor's and Graduate programs.

Every new technological advancement offers both conveniences and challenges. For instance, with the automation of patient records in healthcare facilities, long-awaited conveniences such as minimizing adverse pharmaceutical interactions can be put into place, but this also opens the door to criminals looking to steal vital patient information.

With the increase in social media usage by a wider demographic of the population, identity theft – especially targeted at older users who may not be as tech savvy as other groups of users – becomes a tangible threat.
From national governments to the elderly, no one is immune to a cyber attack. The growing epidemic in cyber crime has additionally opened a number of lucrative and rewarding professional opportunities for career-seekers looking to play a vital role in keeping society’s personal information safe and secure.

A Growing Field with Room to Advance

Professionals interested in a job in cyber security should know that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that this field continues to grow faster than the national average. Earning an average of over $30/hr or $75,000 annually, cyber security analysts and those working in the field of general network security can expect advancement opportunities to increase as cyber crime becomes more sophisticated.

While many professionals in this field may enter the career through a variety of avenues, many chose to remain competitive for top jobs through obtaining additional training and education including a masters degree in a related field. Among the most popular degrees are an MS in Cybersecurity or a degree in Information Assurance.

Additional Education Sharpens the Competitive Edge

As the field of cyber security began to expand over the last decade, so did the educational programs aimed at meeting the needs of this growing profession. Many professionals with a propensity for technology took piece-meal courses and in-house training to grow into newly opened positions within their organizations.

Today’s advanced certificate and master’s degree programs are more singularly targeted at offering a comprehensive education across all avenues of cybersecurity. Best of all for busy professionals, a handful of reputable 100% online degree programs exist which allow those seeking advancement to complete additional education while they maintain their jobs and family commitments. Many online courses are taught by leaders in their field who can deliver both the theoretical and the practical knowledge needed to stay a step ahead of today’s cybercriminals.

A Wide Range of Specialties are Possible

Because of the large spectrum of opportunities available in the field of cybersecurity, a number of specialty areas exist for those interested in both a direct and a support role in cybersecurity. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Programmers, hardware/software installers
  • Human resource specialists to provide training
  • Customer support for companies providing security services
  • IT liaisons to work with executive training
  • Consultants to work with small businesses
  • IT managers and analysts to lead teams of cyber security professionals
Continuing education is essential in this field. While there is room for growth and advancement, opportunities will differ based on geographic location and general economic factors in a particular region and field. 

Participation in a local chapter of a related professional organization may provide the best insight into regional opportunities. Many can also offering career networking opportunities.

Other Considerations

Dedicated cybersecurity professionals must possess impeccable tech skills and sustain a drive to seize and maintain the competitive edge. Top professionals in the field also possess the skills to develop sustained career momentum through seeking out the best ongoing education programs and additional training aimed at staying a step ahead of the cyber criminals whose ubiquitous threat spreads across all sectors of industry.

From healthcare, to finance, and from personal banking to national security, cyber security professionals offer a critical first line of defense against those who threaten the integrity of networks set up to protect sensitive information. Cybersecurity presents a growing field and many important niches for IT professionals and career changers seeking to work in a fast-paced field with high prestige and sustained career growth over coming decades.

About the Author
Dafe Ojaide writes on cyber security and information assurance degree programs and careers for University Alliance on behalf of Florida Tech. For more information visit's Security Recruiter Blog