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Security professionals want IT jobs at reputable firms

September 03, 2013

With so many emerging cyberthreats affecting the corporate landscape today, it's no surprise that there are plenty of career opportunities in IT related to security. Businesses both large and small are looking to recruit top IT talent to help better secure their systems in an increasingly malicious environment.

However, IT security professionals are an extremely unique breed, placing a higher value on many employer qualities that other tech workers are not as concerned about.

A recent survey conducted by Semper Secure found that the integrity of a potential employer is the most important attribute for security officials when considering employment, according to CIO Magazine. Next on the list of most valued factors was the company's reputation as a cybersecurity leader, cited by 34 percent of respondents as being a major consideration they look at when job hunting. Similarly, 33 percent want to work for a firm that is known to address major issues in the security landscape.

Other things that security professionals think about when considering applying for openings are the excellence of corporate leadership and the talent levels of current employees.

One of the best things about IT security professionals is that they are extremely motivated. They strive for success and proactively seek to grow their skill sets. In fact, the source reported that 56 percent of respondents stated they are attracted to security work because it is challenging.

These self-starters are extremely valuable for any enterprise that operates in the cyber world. Therefore, executives need to understand what makes these professionals tick and what they want to see from potential employers. A company that doesn't showcase a solid reputation for security or integrity is unlikely to land the field's top workers. Also, a boring environment that fails to present these individuals with challenging tasks is unlikely to come off as attractive.

Another fact noted by the source was that there is little turnover in the industry, with 65 percent of respondents noting that they have been employed by two or fewer companies in their careers.

"These people aren't jumping from job to job looking for salary bumps and signing bonuses," Lee Vorthman, CTO of NetApp's Federal Civilian Agencies told CIO Magazine. "For companies, that means they better get them early or risk not getting them at all."

Younger workers hold security key
One of the fundamental problems when it comes to cybersecurity is that IT training regarding cyberthreats is too one dimensional, according to USA Today. The source noted that even the top universities that offer reputable security degrees often segment their programs according to threat type. One degree will focus on ethical hacking while another provides credentials for securing networking. Just a handful of schools offer a comprehensive security program that gives IT security graduates the skills and tools they need to address the various cyberthreats that abound today.

However, the source noted that more institutions are offering more inclusive degrees for IT security. For hiring managers, it's important to know which schools provide such courses. Potentially, graduates who have a degree that covers a wide range of security disciplines will be more proficient at addressing hacking concerns than professionals with specialized degrees.

Learning is key
The cyberthreat landscape seems to be changing on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, proper IT support requires continued training for industry professionals.

Some corporate leaders are skeptical about the benefits of employee training, not because they think it is ineffective but because they think staff members see it as an inconvenience.

However, younger generations actually value training. A recent report from CompTIA found that e-learning in particular is welcomed by many young professionals.

"Adapting to a younger workforce will likely extend into the areas of training and professional development. E-learning is especially appealing to Gen Y workers, who tend to want to be autonomous in how they choose to interact with technology, deciding their own pace and not being forced to interrupt normal workflow for training," the report stated.

For tech employees, the trend is the same. Executives should understand that young IT members have grown up in a world that has seen change after change when it comes to technology. Younger generations realize that what's a security threat today will be trumped by a new hacking technique that is developed tomorrow. Not only are they comfortable with on-the-job training and additional learning opportunities, many demand such programs from their employers.

Outsource the job search
Enterprise leaders are often too busy to conduct a comprehensive recruitment process. Instead of attempting to find the best security workers on their own, executives should use the services of an IT staffing company. These organizations are able to match IT professionals with businesses that could benefit from the specific skills each potential employee possesses.

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