By serving in the military, you played an important role in securing our country. Now that you are re-entering civilian life, have you considered a job securing the nation’s computer networks? Career training in data security is an ideal way to make the most of your military background, and you can enter a growing profession.
There is a shortage of qualified IT security professionals at a time when U.S. businesses are suffering increasing data losses because of hackers and cybercriminals. As more businesses migrate to cloud computing, they are encountering new network vulnerabilities, and they have to hire cybersecurity experts to plug the leaks. And as network security becomes more important to businesses, it is becoming a core part of any network administrator’s role and a vital part of IT career training.
Growing Demand for Network Security Experts
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for computer professionals will grow at a rate of 6 percent over the next 10 years, with an estimated 415,000 network administrator jobs that need to be filled by 2026. It’s also a lucrative profession with a median salary of $82,000 per year.
Data security is a vital part of network administration. According to a survey by Oracle, network security is high on the list of concerns for business executives, with 90 percent ranking it in the top three of their greatest challenges. One-third ranked security as their primary concern when it comes to network planning, deployment, and management. Mobile computing is another area where data security is a growing concern. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed pointed to network and telecommunications fraud, especially identity fraud, as a threat to real-time communications. All of this comes at a time when 76 percent of executives say they plan to expand their network infrastructure.
At the same time, research from (ISC)2 estimates a shortfall of 2.93 million cybersecurity experts, and 500,000 of those jobs will be in North America. This is the ideal time to start career training in computer and network security.
Security Starts with the Network Administrator
The best place to start is training as a network administrator. Most companies can’t afford to hire a cybersecurity specialist to oversee every aspect of their computing infrastructure, so they rely on talented network managers and systems administrators to keep things secure. The network administrator is the first line of defense when it comes to data security.
A large part of the network administrator’s job is identifying problems, including cyberthreats, and performing triage. The network administrator is responsible for installing hardware and software, managing system upgrades, ensuring system uptime, and installing and managing basic security.
As part of systems security, the administrator is responsible for secure systems configuration, including installing firewalls, managing passwords, overseeing anti-malware solutions, and establishing security policies. They also are responsible for ensuring that users can access the data they need to do their jobs, and that includes supporting mobile data access and BYOD (bring your own device), which has its own set of security problems.
Security Certification Gets You to the Next Level
With certifications, you can demonstrate your expertise in network administration and cybersecurity and command the higher salary that comes with specialization.
If you want to improve your skills as a network administrator, consider a CompTIA Network+ certificate. This certification shows you understand how to configure, manage, and troubleshoot computer networks, including wired and wireless systems, and basic network security. It’s a great credential that can kick-start your IT career.
If you want to specialize in cybersecurity, consider a CompTIA Security+ certification to demonstrate a hands-on understanding of cybersecurity best practices. A CompTIA Security+ certification shows you understand cyberthreats, vulnerabilities, identity management, risk management, and the basics of cryptography. Once you have the core IT security certifications, you could consider others such as the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certifications.
A number of Fortune 500 companies are actively looking for veterans with cybersecurity credentials. Lockheed Martin, for example, is looking for veterans who bring learning agility, problem-solving, and leadership abilities. PwC, which is also looking for veterans with cybersecurity expertise, added 250 veterans out of 500 applicants to its cybersecurity program in 2016. If you have a security clearance, you have an even greater advantage in the job market.
Companies are actively looking for IT professionals with cybersecurity credentials, and veterans bring a level of maturity and insight that makes them uniquely qualified to excel in IT security roles. Getting the right career training and certifications will prove you know about networking basics and security best practices.
If you are interested in learning more about a career in IT networking and cybersecurity, take a look at the cybersecurity career training program from New Horizons Career Development Solutions. Contact us to learn more about starting your career in IT computing and security, and explore our guide on using your veteran benefits.