As the annual number of data thefts and other electronic crimes continues to grow, computer security has become an important resource for both business and home users. There are several ways to become a computer security specialist, whether it's to seek employment in the field or to expand on an existing skill set. Many security specialists hold a four-year degree in computer science or computer engineering. Others may opt for a two-year degree from a junior college or seek vocational training leading to a certification. A few experts become specialists through self-study and real-world experience.
Getting a four-year bachelor’s degree is one of the best ways to get the education necessary to become a computer security specialist. A bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering will give a student an edge in hiring and salary negotiations, as well as in advancement in the industry. Students should look for programs that offer extra coursework in computer security and seek internships in the field during their time in school. Some students may wish to continue their education with a master’s degree to enhance their skills and make their resume more attractive to potential employers.
A two-year or associate’s degree program is another option for students who don’t have access to a longer program. This type of program will give a student many of the skills needed allow him or her to enter the computer security job market immediately or transfer to a more in-depth program. Some graduates with two-year degrees may need to spend more time in support areas building skills and getting on-the-job training.
Vocational training and certification can offer an alternative career path for a person who wishes to become a computer security specialist. Several vocational schools offer professional computer training online and in physical classrooms. Students and trainees may need to complete A+ and Network+ certifications as a prerequisite for the security-related coursework.
Another path for someone who wants to become a computer security specialist is through self-study and on-the-job training. A few specialists began their careers by experimenting on their home or work systems and gaining knowledge through experience in setting up and testing network security. This type of informal training can be a good supplement for students in more traditional settings. It also can be the only alternative for information technology employees who are asked by their management to enhance security. There also are many books and online resources available for people who are interested in increasing their knowledge of computer security.