Career Paths in Information Security
If dealing with computer emergencies is your specialty, then you might want to consider pursuing a career in the growing field of information technology.
Here are four possible career options in the challenging field of IT.
Career #1: Computer Support Specialists
When something goes wrong with your computer, computer support specialists are there to help fix the problem. That's because it's their job to install - and teach people how to use - printers, software, and other computer tools.
Growth: In 2008, there were roughly 565,700 computer support specialists, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. As more complex computers are developed, more specialists may be needed to solve problems. The U.S. Department of Labor projects good job prospects for those with the right skills - and a college degree.
Education: Computer support specialists serve as point people when computers get infected with viruses, which makes information security education crucial. Pursuing certification or an associate's degree in a computer-related field could potentially help you prepare. Some gigs, however, will require a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems.
Average Salary: In May 2008, the middle 50 percent of computer support specialists earned, on average between $33,680 and $55,990. Top earners in this position averaged at more than $70,750.*
Career #2: Computer Systems Software Engineers
Computer systems software engineers coordinate the construction, maintenance, and expansion of computer systems.
Growth: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of computer systems software engineers is expected to grow due to increased concerns over cyber security.
Education and Training: A bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or mathematics is commonly required. Because the gig involves implementing system security, education in cyber security chould also be beneficial. To qualify for some positions, you may need a master's degree.
Average Salary: Computer systems software engineers had a median annual wage of $92,430 in May 2008. Top earners in this position averaged at $135,780.*
Career #3: Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer and information systems managers direct the work of other IT professionals such as computer software engineers, computer systems analysts, and computer support specialists. They also oversee the maintenance and security of computer networks, which makes prior information security preparation a must.
Growth: Because so much business is carried out over computer networks, security and information security will continue to be an important issue for businesses. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow 17 percent through 2018.
Education: To qualify for this type of position, you will need a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field like computer science, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers could prefer applicants with a graduate degree when seeking candidates for management positions.
Average Salary: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median wage of these managers was $112,210 in 2008.*
Career #4: Database Administrators
Computer databases that store information can be found in nearly every industry. It is the job of the database administrator to store, manage, and secure all this information in an organized fashion.
Growth: The U.S. Department of Labor expects the number of database administrators to grow 20 percent between 2008 and 2018. This is because the Internet and e-commerce will continue to expand, resulting in the need to build, maintain, and secure databases.
Education: To prepare to pursue this IT job, consider earning a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field.
Average Salary: Average yearly earnings of database administrators were $72,900 in 2008. Top earners in this position averaged at $111,950 per year.*
*All salary data is from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.