3 answers

What do you need to know to be a IT Security Specialist?

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3 answers

Nisha’s Answer


Hi Alyaniz,

In order to become an IT Security Specialist, you will need to understand how networks work. Once you have an understanding of networking, you can then look into a specializations such as Network Security or CyberSecurity.

First, you need some formal education in IT Networking. I would recommend that you do some research to find out which community colleges in your area offer programs in IT Networking. The Cisco Network Academy (www.netacad.com) is a great place to get started learning for a networking career. Training through the Cisco Network Academy is how I got started in IT Networking.

Next, you should look into the IT Certifications that will be required in order to secure a job in IT Security. Start with CCNA Routing & Switching, then move on to security related certifications such as CompTIA Security+. Why? Because most employers are looking to hire individuals who have demonstrated the required competency in these subject areas by acquiring the certifications. Experience and certifications are important in the IT field. You can find Cisco certification information here: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications.html

Nisha recommends the following next steps:

  • Research community college programs in IT Networking
  • Research IT certifications pathways

Ken’s Answer


IT Security Specialists are usually versed in multiple disciplines - operating system security, network security, application security, mobile security, incident response, and so forth. They are not necessarily experts in all of the fields - maybe two or three of them - but they can speak to the other fields at least at a high level. This could be considered an entry-level to mid-level career depending on the position and company. For a good basic fundamental option of learning networking and security, look at the Network+ and Security+ certifications.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • If you want access to free college courses that cover some of these topics, look at https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm
  • If you have any chances to shadow or do an internship in this field, give it a shot!

Nicholas’s Answer


You will need to know the ins and outs of security, security+ will be a requirement, you will need a knowledge of networking. Certifications are a must in the IT field, security+ is a mandatory, I would suggest getting certifications for cisco devices and most operating systems/network management systems i.e. CCNA, server level certifications windows/linux/and etc. Security+ is a test with a very broad knowledge base, you will need to know about threats, authentication, malware, networking, cryptography, network security, what to do when your defense fails, and management of security risks.