5 careers you can get with a degree in information security

Guest post by Dixie Somers

Computer professional at workWith banking, consumer and business transactions, communications and even infrastructure run by computers and digital devices, hackers, thieves and even terrorists can wreak havoc on organizations and communities. These threats have increased demand for professionals trained in information security. The cyber security industry should balloon from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020. According to a report by Forbes.com, there were 209,000 vacancies of cyber security positions heading into 2016 and job announcements in this field grew by 75 percent between 2010 and 2015.

Colleges and universities offer master’s degrees in information security or cyber security, which offer graduates a number of career options. Here are five for your consideration:

Information Security Analysts

In this role, you defend an organization against cyberattacks and data security breaches. Your degree equips you to install firewalls, virtual private networks, and data encryption; perform “penetration testing” to spot weak spots in the organization’s cyber defenses; preserve company data through off-site copying and transfers; and develop and implement emergency plans. As an analyst, you will likely read the latest literature and attend conferences to keep abreast of new forms of threats and cyberattacks and the technology to defeat them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 36 percent rise in employment from 2014 to 2024 in computer systems design and related service employers, especially as small to mid-size companies (who don’t have IT departments) want cloud-based data.

Computer Network Architects

These professionals draw the plans for and build data communication systems, which may include local area networks linking two offices, a broader network, connections between a client and server, or peer-to-peer. If you work as a network architect, you likely will consider the security risks from particular types of systems and you’ll need to draw on your attention to understand the tools for securing the network. Demand for these positions should grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024. While some firms grow their IT networks, others will turn to cloud technology and somewhat reduce the need for these architects.

Compliance Managers

As a compliance manager, you ensure that the organization meets applicable laws and regulations. In the information security field, this means, for example, requirements for creating and carrying out incident response plans and business continuity plans. These cover data breaches and hackers that might compromise power grids or power plant equipment or other infrastructure run by companies. An information security degree program teaches you how to work with internal and external auditors, report regulations to management and research, and propose policies that conform to regulations on cyber security.

Software Developers, Applications

In this field, you create computer or mobile device applications for consumers, organizations, and for use on the Internet or intranets. You learn through an information security degree program the tools for applications free of design or implementation errors. Courses such as secure coding in Java and other programming languages help you create products that can withstand viruses and other attacks. You also can develop apps that specifically recognize and fend off malware, viruses, and other threats to your operating system and computer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 19 percent growth in demand for these developers from 2014 to 2024, especially as demand for consumers and organizations for security software to protect their computers grows.

Criminal Investigators and Special Agents

Law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation hire information security graduates to combat terrorism, cyber theft and other forms of online and cybercrime. As an investigator or agent, you need to know computer and cyber-related laws, the legal standards and procedures for collecting and presenting evidence in court, and how to present your findings to prosecutors, judges and juries.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. She can be found on Twitter at @DixieSomers.

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