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June 19, 2017
By Andrew Whitt
With high pay, a bright outlook and challenging work, InfoSec may be the most coveted IT career right now. There are lots of jobs but also lots of competition for them, and no easy pathway in. Here’s how you can get that first InfoSec job, whether you’re a new grad or experienced IT pro.
Information security career paths
The single best route into information security is through networking or systems administration. If you’re already in that role, and understand how complicated systems interact, you’re going to be very attractive to a hiring manager. Recent grads from computer science or related programs should be able to achieve that systems or networking position after two or three years of hard work.
While most of my customers want to hire someone with a couple of years of IT experience, I’ve seen people with a great attitude and relevant certification go right into an InfoSec job out of college. If you’re a new grad with a cybersecurity degree and ability to articulate security principles really well, look at entry-level positions in a security operations center or an auditing compliance role.
Coming from tech support is a harder transition than networking but getting a certification can really help. Hiring managers like to see that customer-facing experience and a clear knowledge of the systems you’ve been troubleshooting.
The right certifications
I really can’t over-emphasize the importance of information security certifications in helping you get the first job. First, there’s a ton to learn about InfoSec that you’re not going to pick up in another role. Second, the certification shows you’re serious about entering the field, not just seeking that next job. Finally, it demonstrates the drive to learn and improve that will make you successful.
Definitely consider getting your CompTIA Security+. Some workers discount it because they associate CompTIA with the basic A+, but employers take it seriously. It actually covers a lot of the same content as the CISSP, which is the gold standard for InfoSec certifications, but one you can’t obtain without prior experience.
Also look at the GSEC (GIAC Security Essentials), a well-respected entry-level information security credential.
Have InfoSec career questions? Our InfoSec recruiters are happy to help. Contact your nearest TEKsystems office to speak to a recruiter.