What is a Network Security Specialist?
Network security specialists are computer specialists who work in businesses and organizations to help structure, install, and maintain security systems. Many businesses, organizations, institutions, and agencies have a need to protect the information and data that they store in their systems and access over the Internet. Network security specialists secure and protect this information by monitoring use and watching for security breaches, installing software that protects against viruses, hackers, and cyber attacks, and performing cleanups on systems to ensure protection.
Network security specialists can work in larger settings such as for businesses and corporations, or smaller settings such as home offices and computers. In home settings, they may set up firewalls and educate users on the importance of securing their systems and networks. In business and organizational settings, they are responsible for setting up and maintaining entire security networks, setting up password authentication on networks, and can be asked to gather evidence needed to aid in the prosecution of cyber crimes.
How to Become a Network Security Specialist
Those interested in pursuing a career as a network security specialist should have a bachelor degree in information systems, computer engineering, computer science or a discipline that is closely related to the field. While job opportunities will be best for those with bachelor’s degrees or work related experience in the field, some companies may hire candidates with an associate degree or certificate in the field and require on the job training for new employees.
Network security specialists should have a vast understanding of networking technologies, security systems, and computer programming. They will often work on multiple tasks at once, so it is also important that they exercise good time management and critical thinking skills. Network security specialists must be familiar and knowledgeable on information relating to technical terms and concepts and how to explain them, as they will often work with everyday users that have limited knowledge of networking and computer systems security.
Network Security Specialist Career Outlook & Salary
Those interested in pursuing a career as a network security specialist should have comfort in knowing that network security specialist jobs are expected to grow faster than the average occupation over the next several years, with job prospects looking to be very good. The estimated growth will occur partly because of businesses and organizations needing to secure their data and information on their networks. Combined with hackers and cyber crimes on the rise, the need for skilled and trained workers to secure and protect sensitive information and data, will likely continue to put these workers in high demand.
Payscale reported that salary ranges for network security specialists was between $49,666 and $88,125 annually. They also reported that popular industries for network security specialists were in information technology services, information technology consulting, government contractors, and defense agencies.