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Whether you’re trying to make a change to your life as part of a New Year’s resolution, or you’ve come home from your summer break to the fear of returning to work, or you’re just looking to get into an interesting field of employment for the first time, making the step into a new career can be intimidating and difficult.

Naturally, you’ll need to start with research, and that’s where we come in. Switching careers is never easy Want To Switch Jobs? 5 Tools That Help You Reinvent A New Career Want To Switch Jobs? 5 Tools That Help You Reinvent A New Career Finding the right career is easier with online tools and career counselors. But to truly understand your dream job, you need to dive deeper and decide for yourself if that job fits you. Read More , so we’ve compiled a handy list of resources to help you find, and win, that information security role you’ve been chasing. Although we’ve presented the following in a methodical manner (you can work through each section to develop your skills and knowledge), don’t feel that is the only way to use this post. We’d be thrilled if you bookmarked it and referred back to it as and when you need it.

Fast Track Your Information Security Knowledge With Twitter

You probably know that information security is about a whole lot more than creating memorable yet unbreakable passwords How To Create A Safe Password That You Can Actually Remember How To Create A Safe Password That You Can Actually Remember Passwords are a tricky beast. You want a password that you can remember, but you also want to make sure it's secure. How do you find the balance? Read More . But how much do you really know?

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Before approaching any job, regardless of whether it is something you’ve already trained in, you need to make sure that you’re up to date with current topics and trends. One way that you can do this in just one day is to make sure you’re following our favourite computer security specialists on Twitter Stay Safe Online: Follow 10 Computer Security Experts On Twitter Stay Safe Online: Follow 10 Computer Security Experts On Twitter There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself online. Using a firewall and antivirus software, creating secure passwords, not leaving your devices unattended; these are all absolute musts. Beyond that it comes down... Read More  – a list that includes Symantec, Kaspersky and even data security guru Bruce Schneier Security Expert Bruce Schneier On Passwords, Privacy and Trust Security Expert Bruce Schneier On Passwords, Privacy and Trust Read More . Just a few hours reading these accounts will get you up to speed, providing you with the links you need.

Get Information Security Certification & Training

A sure-fire way of getting your resume noticed above the collection of others from newly-aware information security applicants is to get certified. This can be done either by visiting a local college or university (or local professional training centre) or online through the SANS Institute (www.sans.org) or ISACA, where you’ll find a range of courses such one that will give you the training needed to become a Certified Information Security Manager.

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Joining ISACA can give you access to a number of information security related certificates, but don’t overlook the power of free courses. If you haven’t trained for some time, and don’t want to make waves in your personal finances, finding free information security courses to give you a good grounding in the topic can set you on the path of further study, perhaps with SANS or ISACA or your local education centre.

Cory Doctorow is the guide to this free cyber security course from the Open University.

Read about Information Security Regularly

While it is a good idea to regularly check those Twitter accounts we shared previously, find other resources and read them daily, or at the very least, weekly. Our own security section mixes topical security with need-to-know security tips, but we’d be doing you a disservice by suggesting you don’t read other sites!

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Probably the best way to get reading about any topic regularly is to use a mobile newsreader, such as Feedly (so good, we wrote a guide about it Unofficial Guide To Feedly: Better Than Google Reader Unofficial Guide To Feedly: Better Than Google Reader Do you hunger for the best desktop and mobile RSS reader ever made? For both the hungry and the hopeful, Feedly satisfies. Read More ) or Flipboard. Subscribe to the sites that deal with the topics you’re looking for, then check these feeds from time to time while you’re doing something quite dull (making a hot drink, waiting for a bus or train, that sort of thing). Use a bookmarking tool like Instapaper or Pocket to save the links to read later if reading on your smartphone is too difficult.

Also, use Google to search for corporate policies on information security, to gauge how companies treat incidents, what they expect of their users, etc.

Play With Antivirus, Firewalls and Maybe Even Malware

There isn’t an information security expert worth his or her salt who cannot install and setup an antivirus application, firewall or internet security suite. Spend some time with free firewalls, antivirus and anti-malware tools 3 Free Real-Time Malware Protection & Removal Tools 3 Free Real-Time Malware Protection & Removal Tools If you realize that your browsing and download habits put you at a high risk of catching malware, you should make an effort to be protected from these threats in real-time. An anti-virus tool is... Read More to familiarise yourself with them, how they work, and how they can be disabled.

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If you’re feeling particularly daring, use a virtual machine on your computer to setup a testing environment, where you can “infect” a virtual computer with malware (which for reasons of safety we won’t link to here!) and spend some time dealing with the consequences before removing.

Giving yourself this sort of practical exposure to dealing with information security issues can prove useful. You might also allow your friends and family to call on you when they have problems, although beware: this can soon become an albatross, especially when you’re working ten hour days in a new information security job.

Speaking of which…

Finding That Important Information Security Job

You’re more confident about your abilities and knowledge of information security. Now, only you know where you’re happy working, what sort of commute suits your circumstances, so with this in mind the task of finding a job really depends on what fits.

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Naturally, you should start by checking Google, where a simple search for “information security jobs” will reveal both job titles currently up for grabs, and the websites you should use to search in more detail.

Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and ComputerWorld.com are all great places to start. There may be some overlap as companies tend to list openings with multiple services, but don’t treat this as an inconvenience as there is a chance that some vital factor about the job in question has been overlooked by the person who published it on the site.

If you’re in the UK, sign up with cwjobs.co.uk to find the information security job of your digital dreams.

With your chosen job applied for (we’ve dealt with the intricacies of applying for jobs in the internet age How To Deal With Your Job Search In The Internet Age How To Deal With Your Job Search In The Internet Age A job that might have been obscure is now a single Craigslist posting away from tens or hundreds of applications. To stand out you’ll need to refine your tactics – both old and new. Read More previously) and your interview secured, it’s time to showcase your information security knowledge. Good luck!

Work In Internet Security? Add Your Thoughts

What we have presented here is some refresher information, alongside some links and tips for preparing and applying for information security jobs. But it’s the research of one person, there is a good chance that you know better.

You might also have made a career change and successfully made the transition with little more than some understanding of information security issues.

Whatever you have to say on this, we want to hear from you. Comment below!

Image Credit: Young students via Shutterstock, Image Credit: Man reading tablet via Shutterstock, Image Credit: Server log via Shutterstock, Image Credit: Man with fists clenched via Shutterstock, Featured Image Credit: Men shaking hands via Shutterstock

  1. Liam M
    September 15, 2016 at 11:53 am

    How would this prove useful for a future PharmD graduate ? Specifically in the pharmaceutical industry field ?

  2. PbD
    February 25, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Great advice! I'm making a career change into the InfoSec world after almost 20 years as a consultant. The uphill battle in regard to certifications and which ones you should acquire can seem daunting. I have found that places like Reddit can also help one get advice as well as read other people's experiences in making a similar change in career.

    • Christian Cawley
      February 27, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      Reddit, great suggestion PbD, and all the best in your career change.

  3. obum
    February 25, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Nice write up. I cannot agree less with Twitter being a learning hub. It has really helped me, as I follow handles that are so educative, IT security-wise.

  4. Zhong
    February 24, 2015 at 3:57 am

    What kind of advance degree is required for it? In most cases if you're new to this career, you might need to volunteer before you actually seek full time employment.

    • Christian Cawley
      February 24, 2015 at 7:25 am

      Proof of competency in other, related areas, should be all you need, but naturally this will differ from business to business.

      However, under no circumstances should anyone volunteer. If this is the only work you can get, then find a different company, or do more training. There is no reason for anyone to work for free. It passes on the wrong message.

    • Zhong
      February 26, 2015 at 3:59 am

      Isn't volunteer and training works the same? The latter is more invested in what you're doing than the former?

    • Christian Cawley
      February 27, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      On the job training is good. Training that you pay for is good, as the expectation (assuming you've done your research) is that you'll complete the course with the certification you need.

      What I was advising against was free working, "experience-gaining" internships that don't even pay expenses. I'm British, we've only had that over here for a few years, and in the eyes of most people it's slavery.

    • Zhong
      March 1, 2015 at 4:08 am

      So you're recommending that if you have no prior experience in your field, you should always seek a program that provide paid training for your career? Or let the employer teach you the basics?

    • Christian Cawley
      March 2, 2015 at 10:13 am

      I would say find the option that works for you. As a matter of principle I would never work for free., unless it was on my own terms (such as helping a friend who owns a computer shop, that sort of thing).

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