How to Become a Computer Security Specialist

How to Become a Computer Security SpecialistVirtually every component of day-to-day life today involves computers. From turning on the television to the work many people do, computers are a vital component. They make life easier, for the most part, but they also provide individuals with the ability to communicate, work, and to achieve other goals. However, there are profound risks involved in computer security that most people do not know how to protect. For those people who wish to solve this problem, the goal may be to learn how to become a computer security specialist. This in-demand career path may be one of the best places to be in the years to come.

What Does a Computer Security Specialist Do?
Bachelor's Degree
1 to 5 years
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The job of these professionals can change on a daily basis. In general, their job focuses on helping organizations to control the access to their computer networks as well as to find the most effective way of protecting any and all data stored on that network. They work with businesses, government organizations, and even schools. There are many methods used to do this, including the use of software and hardware applications.

The ultimate goal of these individuals is to protect a network. They will spend their days finding ways to secure these systems, solving problems as they arise, and helping to improve the function of such systems. Many of these individuals are needed to educate end users on how to properly use systems safely. They may work to back up files that are necessary. Some, especially those working in healthcare related fields, will also need to follow very specific laws set forth to protect patient records and documentation.

Why Work in This Field?

There is a strong demand for professionals who work as computer security specialists. The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that, from 2010 through 2020, there will be a 22 percent increase in the number of positions in this field. This is an improvement of more than 65,000 jobs during that timeframe. Of course, working in this field is also rewarding for those who love computers and the science behind them.

What Educational Requirements Are There?

According to, the Minnesota job resource, individuals who wish to work as computer security specialists will need to have a high school diploma, complete formal training, and then will need to have several years of experience. However, most individuals in this field will need to continue their education to obtain a bachelor’s degree in information technology. Some of the courses these individuals will take include the following:

  • Computer sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Public safety courses, especially if the individual plans to work in government
  • Science courses
  • Computer and Technology courses, including development, engineering, security, and others

Often, the individual can begin working in the field with a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences and security. This takes about four years to complete through a standard, accredited university. From here, though, many students will need to continue their education to earn a master’s degree. Individuals who hold more advanced degrees earn more and tend to work in more demanding, more critical positions, including those associated with government or high level security in healthcare.

Obtaining education through online courses enables an individual to work in the field with their bachelor’s degree while taking courses to advance online. This is a fast, efficient way to continue education.

To learn how to become a computer security specialist in a specific field, be sure to check the hiring requirements for that field. They can change and are ultimately set by the employer. For those people who love computers and enjoy preventing hacking, this may be the ideal career path. These professionals are highly trained in computer sciences and are able to be passionate about maintaining their education in the field.

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