How do I Become a Security Specialist?

Security Specialist Job Overview

A “Security Specialist” is an all encompassing phrase the describes an individual who will work as part of an information assurance team. The security specialist will be responsible for a number of cyber security related duties including that centralize around intrusion detection, information assurance including implementing, monitoring and testing security systems.

Security Specialist Duties

  • Develop verification procedures used to detect unauthorized/ adversarial network traffic.
  • Evaluate the effects of any potential intrusion
  • Create security documentation including cyber security reports then recommend methods to mitigate and prevent future attacks/unauthorized activity
  • Monitor sensors and protect AS&W support
  • Provide indication and warnings (I&W)
  • Perform statistical analysis related to all current or potential cyber security threats then provide incident reporting and response analysis
  • Innovate ways to integrate solutions that meet business/organization needs
  • Remain compliant with all policies and procedures
  • Train colleagues in areas of cyber security awareness and protocol as well as technical procedures
  • Research the latest in recommended security updates
  • Write standards for various operating systems

Recommended: Security+ Certification

The Security+ is a great entry-level certification that will help you boost your confidence upon entering the field of cyber security. Security+ is sponsored by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and ensure that individuals have the concepts and tools required to react to security threats. This certification is the equivalent of a security professional with 2 years of work experience- a great way to gain an advantage when starting your search for a job as a security specialist. For more information on Security+, check out our resources section at the bottom of the page.

Security Specialist Career Pathway

Based on your starting point (whether you’re already active in cyber security, a service member, IT specialist, or a student) there are a few paths to entering the field of security specialist development. We’ve listed some different levels at which you can engage in security jobs below. These levels will depend on the typical number of years of experience associated with career stages (entry, middle, senior) as well as how specialized your education is. For an in-depth look at how job experience in cyber security and education levels compare and contrast, check out our guide on how to prepare for a career in cyber security.

As this is a entry to mid level position, one way to enter into this position is through education. Most security specialists will have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or cyber security. Another way to get in is to work you way up through various cyber security positions.

A note on the positions below: Some job titles are tiered within that position- a position labeled “mid-level” for example, may have a range between mid to advanced.

  • Entry level: system administrator, security administrator
  • Mid-Level Level: security specialist, Information Technology Project Manager, Security Software Developer
  • Senior Level: Security Architect, Cyber Security Consultant, Security Director

Security Specialist Technical Skills

  • Knowledge of Unix/Linux/Windows OS
  • C
  • C++
  • C#
  • Java
  • PHP
  • DLP
  • Anti-virus/ Anti-malware
  • Penetration Testing
  • Vulnerability assessment

Security Specialist Soft Skills

  • Versatility
  • Patience
  • Oral and Written Communication Skills
  • Good Listener
  • Positive team-player
  • Problem-solving
  • Innovative/Creative
  • Security Specialist Job Outlook and Salary

    There are over a million jobs available for security specialists across the nation! This is a high demand field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developer positions are projected to grow by 17% by 2024, which is a much faster rate than most fields. The median salary of a security software developer is $73,846 though can range from $47,000 – $100,000+. It should be noted, however, that security specialists can perform a wide rage of tasks (and have a number of levels of seniority at which they can engage in cyber security tasks) which will affect salaries and openings.

    Security Specialist Resources

    • For information how to utilize the G.I Bill Head to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
    • Head to CompTia for more information on how to becomes certified in Security+
    • From Junior Security Specialist and up, there are some great jobs out there ready when you are. Check out these positions on
    • For some wise insights into cyber security and even a few wisecracks check out Oversite Sentry