How Much Can I Earn as a Security Specialist?

Computer security
Computer security specialists are in growing demand in order to protect private business information.

Security specialists are IT professionals who specialize in cybersecurity — that is, protecting the information of a company or individual from hackers and others who would exploit or misuse their data. Security specialists may design, test, implement and monitor security systems and measures for a company’s systems, such as networks and data storage.

Security specialists have a lot of responsibility, and it can be challenging to continually outwit hackers and other IT criminals in their efforts to break down the security of a company. These IT professionals may establish security requirements and permissions for networks, configure firewalls and anti-virus software, and control permissions and privileges. More senior security professionals may develop disaster recovery protocols and train fellow employees in cybersecurity measures or conduct security audits.

Salaries for Security Specialists

Salaries for security specialists are above average for the IT field, and it is a growing sector of IT jobs because of increasing needs to prevent business networks from being compromised or breached. According to, the average annual salary and benefits for a security specialist is $112,000. Some of this salary includes an annual bonus, and there may also be a signing bonus at time of hire.

The salary range given for security specialists is from $82,300 to $144,000. Many IT security specialists also get an annual equity stake in the company or other benefits. Fortune reported that top salaries on the tech job board DICE for security specialists were over $200,000. Some of these were executive positions like chief security officer or global information security director.

Peninsula Press of Stanford Journalism stated that according to its analysis, 209,000 cybersecurity jobs were unfilled in 2015. In addition, postings for these positions were up 74 percent in the last 5 years. The field is growing at a faster than average pace, so well-trained security specialists are in high demand.

Typically, entry level positions require a bachelor’s degree, and the CompTIA Security+ certification may open additional doors or increase salaries for security specialists. Larger companies as well as local, state and federal governments may use a team (or several) of information security analysts to monitor for breaches and make sure information stays secure. Although this is an entry level position with a median pay of nearly $89,000 per year, there are frequent opportunities for advancement to more senior positions.

Computer security
There is a growing shortage of qualified security specialists in the IT field.

Global Need and Opportunity

Cisco has estimated that there may be as many as one million cybersecurity job openings worldwide, and it expects that number to grow to as much as 1.5 million in just a few years. For security specialists who want to live outside the U.S., there will be many opportunities to use your skills while you experience life in another country.

PC AGE offers coursework that can lead to a career as a security specialist, including preparation for CompTIA Security+, CASP and CEH certification that can help with job prospects in the cybersecurity field. Contact us for information about our programs and how they can benefit you.

A Guide to the CASP Certification

Preparing for your CASP exam is an activity you can do on your own or with others.

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification is meant for IT professionals with 10 or more years of IT administrative experience and five or more years of hands-on technical security experience. These professionals want to show they have critical thinking and judgment skills as well as a breadth of knowledge about various security disciplines. The certification also shows that candidates can navigate complex environments and find solutions to security problems.

Why CASP Certification is In Demand

In today’s business environment, so much depends on the security of a company’s information — and yet, hacking threats are worse than they have ever been. Security professionals that can protect a company’s information and counter security threats are highly valued members of any IT team.

But how can an IT professional learn the information needed to counter all different kinds of threats and potential security gaps? Preparing for the CASP certification allows IT professionals to gain the wide range of knowledge they will need to counter security threats effectively, and earning certification shows potential employers that you have that wide knowledge base to handle whatever comes up on a given day.

What CASP Certification Covers

To earn your CASP certification, you will be expected to know the following subjects and topics:

–Enterprise security
–Risk management and incident response
–Research and analysis
–Integration of computing, communications and business disciplines
–Technical integration of enterprise components

Knowing how different network components, software, and hardware fit together is important, and it’s also important to recognize vulnerabilities so that you can protect against them. CASP certification is focused on problem solving and critical thinking skills that can help IT professionals resolve these issues without the loss of data or breaches of information that so often plague many businesses.

Having help to learn the material needed to pass the CASP exam can make the difference between passing and failing.

More About CASP

CASP is a masters level certification, so you won’t master it without the combination of knowledge and experience that only comes from working in the field. According to the CompTIA website, the certification exam requires completion of “performance-based questions” that require demonstration of how to complete tasks in “simulations of real-world security situations.”

As with all CompTIA exams, certification is globally recognized to prepare holders for security situations across the globe. CASP is also compatible with government standards and compliant with regulations under the Federal Information Security Management Act.

While training materials are available through various sources, some IT professionals learn best inside a classroom with others who are preparing for the same exam and learning the same material, with a dedicated and experienced professor to provide guidance and answers to the many questions that come up in the learning process.

PC AGE offers coursework to prepare students like you for the CASP and other certifications so that you can move forward in your career and show potential employers (or current employers) what you know. Contact us for more information on our programs and courses.

6 Ways IT Professionals Use the CompTIA Security+ Certification

IT certifications
The Security+ certification helps you protect company networks against hackers and others who may want to damage them.

The CompTIA Security+ certification is useful to those who want to build their IT careers and gain expertise in the field of network security or related IT specialties. Typically, IT professionals with at least two years of experience take the CompTIA Security+ exam to show that they have mastered the skills necessary to create, configure and maintain networks for businesses and organizations.

Here are some ways IT professionals can use the CompTIA Security+ certification in their careers.

1. To move into a leadership position.

Certified individuals have shown that they can manage networks. If they have also shown the necessary teamwork and collaboration skills as well as management-level leadership skills, it shouldn’t be difficult for those with certification to move into leadership positions as they become available.

2. To help their company or department get a U.S. government contract.

Security+ certification is U.S. government approved and meets all standards and regulations for government work, which will move the process forward when seeking government contracts with the Department of Defense or other sectors of government. Security+ certification will help your company beat out the competition and stand out from the crowd.

3. To earn more money.

Certifications boost salaries, since employers can be assured that you have the skills you say that you do and they can expect a certain level of expertise. Less training is required for those who have certifications like Security+, so companies can pay a higher salary with the money they save on training costs and time spent getting up to speed.

4. To earn more advanced or comprehensive certifications.

The Security+ certification is part of other certifications like those offered by Microsoft or other companies. Although there are many benefits to the certification in and of itself, it can also be a stepping stone to even greater qualification for a particular type of software or another area of IT expertise.

IT certifications

5. To get your foot in the door.

Even if you don’t have enough experience to be a team leader or project manager, the Security+ certification will give you a leg up in competitive entry level positions (like with famous name companies with lots of applicants) where you might not otherwise get a second look.

6. To help you live up to the hype.

Some might find it easy to sell themselves and get hiring managers to buy in and hire them for an IT position. With Security+ certification, you will have the skills to back up the hype so that you will never be just an empty suit (or polo shirt and khakis).

PC AGE offers courses that prepare students to take the rigorous Security+ and other certification exams by teaching them hands-on and practical skills as well as background knowledge needed to use those skills. Contact us to see how you can benefit from our programs.

CompTIA Security+ Certification: What You Need to Know

Networking certifications
Certified network security professionals are in great demand at many companies.

Certifications in different computer skill areas can help IT professionals get better jobs by showing that they have mastered those skills well enough to be considered proficient in that area. CompTIA Security+ Certification is one of several foundational certifications that demonstrates knowledge in the field of security concepts and tools, as well as the ability to react to security incidents and apply the required remediation procedures. Security+ can also be used toward more comprehensive specializations like Microsoft’s MCSA or in Cyber Security.

Security+ certification covers topics related to internet and network security, including the following:

–Cryptography. This topic centers around encryption and how it can make computer networks more secure. Both writing codes and breaking them are explored, and protocols for encryption as well as mistakes that can be made are both covered as well.

–Access control. These systems are important for computer and network security because they prevent people from accessing private information that could be used maliciously. Identification, authentication, authorization and accountability are all covered as well as the use of various access points and methods.

–Disaster recovery. Part of keeping a network or computer secure is having a plan for how to maintain security when disaster strikes. The Security+ certification helps students think through disaster recovery planning for computer networks. Virus protection, vulnerability assessment, patches, and host configurations are all considerations that come into play when disaster happens.

–Risk management. Sure, the system you designed is functioning well in the current environment, but risk management involves considering what steps should be taken to protect the system in the event of a disaster or other crisis. Planning for problems before they occur is a smart way to approach any situation, including crisis or disaster.

Networking certifications
IT security professionals are often called upon to keep corporate networks secure.

Security+ Certification Benefits

Having your Security+ certification means that you have been exposed to best practices in IT security. You have learned the essential principles of IT security and can now apply them to situations you come across in your job or situation.

CompTIA recommends but does not require two years of work experience in networking with an emphasis on security. Security+ certification is required for many Department of Defense and other government contracts, and companies like Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Motorola, Symantec, and General Mills all employ CompTIA Security+ certified staff.

Preparing for CompTIA Security+ certification is best accomplished through hands-on practice and real world experiences very similar to what you will experience when you enter the work force. PC AGE courses that help to prepare students for certification exams are taught by certified instructors, so they are uniquely qualified to prepare students for the exams.

Coursework includes practical skills and experience as well as test prep questions and practice tests. Job placement is also available when coursework is completed. CompTIA Security+ certification is internationally recognized, and certified professionals work in over 147 countries all over the world.

Learn more about PC AGE’s programs and courses. Request information about courses that prepare you for certifications like Security+ and others that open doors to more advanced positions in the IT field.