How to become an IT Security Specialist

Most IT security specialists will begin with an industry-relevant degree such as computer science, information technology or a similarly relevant subject. Many recruiters will also ask for programming skills and an understanding of networks, data storage systems and risk management.

IT security specialists need to understand potential threats and how to eliminate them, so an interest in cybersecurity and a working knowledge of the issues you're likely to face will be a bonus.

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What skills help IT Security Specialists find jobs?

  • Cybersecurity
  • IDS
  • NIST Standards
  • Information Security
  • Encryption
  • RMF
  • SIEM
  • PKI
  • PCI
  • FIPS
  • Identity & Access Management
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Career progression for IT Security Specialist

Education levels for IT Security Specialists

Based on the requirements of IT Security Specialist job openings on Indeed in the United States within the last three years.
required level of educationpercent of job openings
Bachelor's Degree67.8%
Master's Degree16.6%
High School Diploma or GED6.0%
Associate's Degree5.0%
Doctoral Degree4.7%
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Expected salary by experience

Based on resume data from Indeed users who reported working as an IT Security Specialist in the United States within the last three years.
Years of experienceAnnual salary in USD
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Common qualifications for IT Security Specialists

  • CEH
  • CISM
  • CompTIA Security+
  • IAT
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner
  • IAT Level III
  • GCIH
  • Certified Analytics Professional
  • IAT Level II
  • GCIA
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Frequently asked questions

Common questions about career advices for an IT Security Specialist

What's the best degree for an IT security specialist?

Any computer science-related degree will give you a good basis for a career in IT security, but if you already know which aspect of the role you are most interested in (network security, software engineering, security analyst, etc.) then you can take relevant electives to lead you in the right direction.

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What if I don't have a relevant degree in IT security?

For an IT security specialist, there are a number of accredited courses you can take to enhance your skills and make you appealing to a hiring manager, including learning programming languages, undertaking training in cryptographic protocols, fraud detection and protection, data analysis and interpretation and a range of other areas where your skills will be in demand.

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What other skills will I need as an IT security specialist?

Communication skills are important in this role as you may be required to provide training to internal staff and stakeholders, deliver presentations to management teams and liaise with external agencies concerning software and hardware purchasing decisions.

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