Years ago, only those with strong computer science backgrounds seemed qualified to pursue careers in cybersecurity. However, things have changed and many unique skills are now needed in this field. Individuals with strong credentials in mathematics, engineering, general business management and technical writing skills should also give serious thought to preparing for cybersecurity careers.
After all, once the various high-tech skills have been properly employed, talented technical writers must explain all of the new changes to both computer specialists and the general public. Likewise, specially trained business managers and human resource professionals are also needed to properly evaluate the academic and job credentials of numerous applicants from all of the major training fields — including those named above. The most desirable workers will always be those who actually thrive on change.
Here are some of the standard cybersecurity job titles that should be available on a regular basis in the future.
Government Sector: Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Positions
Using National Security Agency (NSA) positions as examples, workers are usually assigned to handle either development or support issues. The NSA currently looks for workers able to handle the following types of jobs:
- Computer Network Operations
- Information Systems Security
- Vulnerability Discovery
- Information Assurance
- Project Management
- Database Management
- Real-time Interfaces
- Information Resource Management
- Object-oriented Programming
- Executive Support
- Web Design
Once an NSA employee has embarked on one of these challenging career paths, they’re asked to work on teams “following a project from beginning through completion.” Specific job assignments within a team can include: “requirements analysis, design, simulation, experimentation, benchwork, prototype development and testing, manufacturing, and possibly field work.” Each team consists of computer scientists, engineers, analysts, mathematicians, contractors and others.
Sample computer/electrical engineering projects may include:
- Design of special-purpose computers and antenna systems
- Pattern recognition technologies
- Signals analysis
- Design, development, and testing of electronic communications
According to the NSA, some individuals hired in these fields may work in microelectronic facilities handling tasks like “3D integrated circuit assembly. [They] may also be asked to work with leading edge integrated circuit design, package engineering, automated test engineering, product reliability, and failure analysis.” This agency also notes that its “Dual Track system affords [employees] the opportunity to choose to expand [their] technical prowess or move toward a management role within [the] NSA.” Clearly, the choices are expanding.
Students and job applicants interested in learning more about the highly specific computer languages and other skills sought by the NSA should visit this link. On that page, you’ll find additional information about network and software engineering, communications, systems engineering and microelectronics.
Private Sector Jobs: Financial Institutions, Utility Companies, Travel Industries and Others
In terms of daily job tasks, many private sector positions now bear marked similarities to those available within the government sector. Of course, each corporate cybersecurity position will be largely defined by the specific industry involved and the precise interests that must be secured.
Cybersecurity professionals should be encouraged by the fact that businesses of every size require their skills, regardless of whether they’re located in major metropolitan areas or scattered across the country in various small towns.
Financial institutions — such as local banks and credit unions — need cybersecurity experts just as much as corporations actively trading on Wall Street. Likewise, utility companies and chemical plants must work diligently to protect themselves from cyber attacks. In addition, communication industries, food manufacturers/distributors and travel/transportation industries all rely heavily on computerized systems and simply cannot function properly without the help of cybersecurity professionals.
Now that the chances of random hacking attempts and cyber-terrorist group attacks are increasing, new cybersecurity professionals will always be needed by both government and private sector employers since they alone can help fully protect and monitor America’s growing Internet infrastructure.
Elizabeth Smith, J.D., M.A., is a freelance writer who has successfully written about general health, safety, legal, medical, consumer and business topics for over twenty years. She has also served as the author and co-author of two professional legal texts.