How to Start a Career in Information Assurance

Have you heard the term "Information Assurance" or "Computer Security" and thought this could be the career for you? If so, read on!


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    Research the career field. Is this something which interests you. "Information Assurance" (IA) and "Computer Security" are career fields with numerous avenues for advancement. You can be more technical or you can be policy oriented. Technical can include: vulnerability scanning, data spill cleanup and containment, application hardening, and operating system hardening. Policy oriented can include: documentation development, documentation review, establishing requirements, and establishing security guidelines.
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    Once you have decided this is the career field for you, talk to people. Does your current organization have an IA department? If so, walk over and talk to them. What are they looking for in a new hire? What skill set is required? How did they get into the field? If your organization does not have an IA department, look for a local security organization. Most professional organizations have local chapters. Check and see if they will let you attend one of their meetings or come by and chat with their members.
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    Begin attaining necessary skill set. Community colleges and universities have a wide array of training available. Many of these classes will give you hands on training as well as theoretical application. Study for entry level certifications such as Comptia Security +. This will show potential employers you are serious about getting into the career field.
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    Start applying for a new job. Use available resources to find potential employers. Use the internet, job search boards, and friends. If you already work for an organization which has an IA department, go talk to the supervisor. He may have an opening available or when one does come open, he will think of you.
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    Once hired, never stop learning. As you advance through your career, continue to obtain more advanced certifications. This shows your employer and potential employers you are staying ahead of the curve. Technology is constantly changing and evolving. A great security professional will continue to learn and improve.


  • Facility Security Officer (FSO): Responsible for ensuring the physical security of the building meets established standards, ensures IT systems adhere to established standards, deals with data spills, and directs ISSO in daily tasks. Responsible for the overall security posture. More managerial.
  • Information Assurance Manager (IAM): Responsible for ensuring information systems adhere to established security rules. Ensures security measures align with business needs. More managerial.
  • Information System Security Officer (ISSO): Responsible for auditing and ensuring system compliance. Answers to either the IAM or FSO. Can assist with physical security standards such as: lighting requirements, changing lock combinations, and issuing access badges. More policy.
  • Information Assurance Officer (IAO): Responsible for assisting the IAM in ensuring system compliance. More policy and can require knowledge of Disaster Recovery Plans, Continuity of Operations, Auditing Policies, and Acquisition Policies.
  • Information Security Engineer/Information Assurance Engineer: Responsible for conducting security assessments, reporting findings, and assisting with remediation efforts. More technical and can require knowledge of operating systems, databases, programming, and applications.


  • Be flexible
  • Be prepared to charter your career
  • Be aware of new technologies emerging
  • Be prepared for change

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Categories: Information Technology Careers