How to become an IT Security Specialist
Heard of ethical hacking? Are you a fan of tv crime shows, watching them hunt for clues in mobile phone records or tracking people through their devices? These are forensic computing skills and the types of things an IT security specialist does. Cyber crime is a global problem affecting everyone from school students to high security government agencies, and highly skilled security specialists are in demand. Learning how to become an IT Security Specialist may just be your ticket to this exciting world.
What is an IT security specialist?
An IT security specialist is sometimes called a forensic computer investigator or analyst, or cyber security investigator. The job involves securing the IT system or digital hardware to be examined, finding and recovering data and images that may have been hidden, encrypted, altered or damaged. Specialists examine mobile phone records to track the position or location of devices and establish links between individuals or groups by examining electronic data trails. Some security specialists may act as a technical or expert witness in court cases. Documenting and presenting all findings carefully is a key part of the role. Criminal cases may include hacking and fraud, political, industrial and commercial espionage, terrorist communications and theft of sensitive company information by employees.
IT security specialists work for the police, federal government or security services, a financial services institution, or for a firm that specializes in computer security. They also work as a consultants with their own client base of organizations. Issues such as the theft of confidential corporate information, the possession of illegal material such as pornography, online scams or non-compliance with regulation, for example insider trading, are areas specialists work in.
It takes a highly skilled person to become an IT security specialist. Aside from attention to detail and needing a creative approach to solving problems, they need to have excellent IT skills. The ability to analyse and see patterns in large amounts of data and have a well-organised and methodical approach to work is necessary for the role. Given the constantly evolving nature of the field IT security specialists don’t ever stop learning and so must be up-to-date and knowledgeable about all information security standards and legislation. Aside from all these skills, the need for confidentiality is absolutely essential.
Hours & Conditions:
IT security specialists generally work standard office hours, but depending on the type of investigation they are involved with, they may have to work overtime or flexible hours in an office, alongside other professionals, and may have to travel to also attend meetings, or go to court to give evidence. For those that are freelance specialists, they may be able to work from home.
How to become an IT security specialist: Qualifications
An IT security specialist would usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, with coursework in forensics and operating system forensics, hacking, computer and network security, computer network threats and the appropriate incident response, or law and procedure. They are exposed to scenarios reflecting the legal and ethical issues associated with information security. Courses in these areas are also offered at Master’s degree level, after the completion of a more general bachelor’s degree. To get into bachelor’s degree courses, you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, math and IT subjects would be appropriate to study prior to university.
To look at courses that will help you find a role as an IT security specialist, do check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database
The increasing use of computers means an increasing need for more specialists with the knowledge and know-how to handle cyber crime and investigate non-compliance with corporate and government laws and regulations. Both Australia and globally the role of IT security specialist is in increasing demand.
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