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IT Security Specialist

Any computer connected to the Internet is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber security is the technique used to protect computers and networks from these types of intrusions and from criminal attack. Specialists in cybersecurity are among the most sought-after professionals in the tech sector, as business and governments seek to fight off an increasingly daring and ruthless group of global cybercriminals and hackers.

With some of the world’s biggest firms and banks as well as governments under constant fire of threats, skilled, clever and dedicated security specialists work in a field that demands a mix of artistry and technical expertise. They need to be one step ahead of the hackers and organised criminals at all times.

If you are interested in a career in IT security, visit Qualifax (www.qualifax.ie) to search for relevant courses at all levels and entry points.

Some alternative job titles for this role

  • Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Network Security Specialist
  • Information Security Specialist
  • Cybersecurity Software Engineers

What the job involves

  • Implement security protocol at the development stages of software systems, networks and data centres
  • Look for vulnerabilities and risks in hardware and software
  • Find the best way to secure the IT infrastructure of an organisation
  • Build firewalls into network infrastructures
  • Constantly monitor for attacks and intrusion
  • When the cybersecurity specialist finds a potential threat or attempted breach, close off the security vulnerability
  • Identify the perpetrator and liaise with the police if necessary

How your career can develop

There is strong demand for skilled, qualified IT security specialists both in Ireland and around the world as the threat from cybercriminals and hackers grows. There is great potential for career progression, especially in larger organisations and financial service providers. There is also scope for experienced security professionals to set up their own business as consultants.

Why it matters?

Months after American hackers demonstrated how easily they could disable an electric car while it was in motion, carmakers are under growing pressure to do something about the threat. U.S. senators are asking carmakers to provide updates on what they were doing to protect motorists from unwanted intrusions. The Canadian military are now looking for car hackers to study “the security of automotive vehicles, including understanding their vulnerabilities and assessing the potential mitigation measures”. Similarly, Tesla and General Motors are hiring security researchers to help them secure their vehicles before release.

Skills

  • Strong IT skills and knowledge including hardware, software and networks
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of IT systems
  • A forensic approach to challenges
  • A deep understanding on how hackers work and ability to keep up with the fast pace of change in the criminal cyber-underworld
  • Ability to seek out vulnerabilities in IT infrastructures

Typical employers

  • Network providers
  • Government
  • Banks
  • Schools and universities
  • Airlines
  • Any large organisation with a database
  • Security consultancy firms

Typical salary 

  • Graduate/Starting      €42,000
  • Senior/Potential        €75,000+

Typical qualifications

Degrees in IT security, computer programming, computer science, information science, computer engineering, and software engineering are common gateways.

Alternative routes to a bachelor’s degree in this area may apply to students that have a PLC qualification in a related course or general computing certification or diploma. For further details on eligibility requirements for third level entry following a PLC qualification, students should visit the CAO course search at Careersportal.ie.
 

Further information