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 Paysa.com, 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.
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.