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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, 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. But how much do you really know?
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 – a list that includes Symantec, Kaspersky and even data security guru Bruce Schneier. 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.
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!
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) 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 to familiarise yourself with them, how they work, and how they can be disabled.
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.
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 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!
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