Hottest IT Skill? Cybersecurity

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"A cybersecurity analyst is someone who has nine to 15 years of professional experience, preferably has a master's degree and possesses a variety of information security certifications," Braun says. "Salary depends on geography and industry. It can range anywhere from $80,000 to $150,000. If an individual has a unique set of experience, it can be significantly higher, especially for consultants."

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Last year, Unisys hired an IT security director and expanded its IT security staff. Now the company is looking for knowledge of security principals in all of its ongoing IT hires, including application developers and network engineers, says Unisys CISO Dave Frymier.

"The reason that senior application architects and senior network engineers have got to have security knowledge is because we want to bake security into the early parts of the development process," Frymier says. "I've interviewed several application architects who had sterling-looking resumes and when I asked them to describe an SQL injection attack, they couldn't do it. Needless to say, we didn't hire them."

Unisys has 15 cybersecurity professionals on staff out of an overall group of 150 IT professionals. Frymier said Unisys needs cybersecurity expertise in its IT architecture and IT operations.

"The breaches that are occurring are problems on the operational side," he explained. "Somebody who runs a security information and event management system has to have a lot of they can deal with the false positives. Those systems throw out literally gigabytes worth of data. You have to be able to filter through that and find the stuff that really shouldn't be there."

Demand for cybersecurity experts is expected to remain strong.

For example, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate committee in April that cyberattacks are her No.1 concern. She said there is a shortage of cybersecurity experts to help federal agencies thwart cyberattacks, which exceeded 106,000 last year.

Cybersecurity jobs will likely continue increasing as organizations continue to expand their online businesses.

"There's a huge non-profit in New York City, a $700 million organization, that wants to double in size -- all through marketing on the Internet," Hanson says. "They need cybersecurity expertise on the architectural level and the programming level. They're going to certainly encounter new threats as they open up their network to a whole new function."

Additionally, companies are unlikely to outsource or offshore cybersecurity jobs, Frymier says.

"There has to be a braintrust inside the company who understands what information is important for the company to safeguard and who operates in the best interest of the company," Frymier says. "What you can't get from a consulting firm is an ongoing risk management perspective of: What information do I need to protect, who is trying to steal it from me, and what is the risk of a breach."

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

This story, "Hottest IT Skill? Cybersecurity" was originally published by Network World.

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