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By eweek  |  Posted 2002-09-23 Print this article Print

: A Wise Investment"> That may be one of the wisest $200 investments a budding security professional could make, industry experts say.

As it stands, security is already a pretty solid job bet. According to Foote Partners survey of 30,000 IT professionals, security salaries have outperformed overall IT salaries for the last two years. Salaries and bonuses for corporate security positions increased by an average 3.1 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively, from the second quarter of last year to the second quarter of this year.

Bob Johnston, manager of credentialing services for the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, in Kingston, N.H., the organization that administers the CISSP certification targeting advanced security experts, said the Security+ certification will help develop a much-needed road map for someone just getting into the field.

"The traditional job path for a security person is to start as a network administrator monitoring logs or handling passwords. But the job is quickly becoming a lot more demanding and dynamic," said Johnston. "This kind of a certification will better prepare an entry-level person for advancing more quickly."

In addition, by defining the field in terms of the basic skills and knowledge it requires, Security+ may help those who are curious about a security career decide if its right for them, said Jeff Recor, Security+ cornerstone committee member and president of Olympus Security Group Inc., a security consultancy based in Rochester, Mich.

"In my opinion, not enough of the right people are going into security these days," Recor said. "Theres this persistent perception that being in security means youre an uber-hacker. So we get people who want to break networks. But security touches a lot of basic, day-to-day operations in all parts of the business, not just IT."

So, will possessing the Security+ certification help you land a job? It cant hurt, said Speare at Ohio Savings. Speare fills five to 10 IT security positions each year. He said that while a certification such as Security+ might not automatically prompt him to pay more, it would be a tiebreaker when hes choosing between two equally experienced job candidates.

In the end, say experts, Security+ may be one factor helping to make the IT security profession more, well, professional. "The state of security hasnt improved in process or technology over the last five to 10 years. Were still crawling. Its still an art, not a science," said Recor. "The goal is to get this base level of knowledge into most peoples hands and start to make the profession more mature."

Stephanie Wilkinson is a free-lance writer and can be reached at

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