Cyber threats and attacks are on the rise and remain a top challenge among companies even in 2021. With many companies recently investing in security tools to protect their data, the need for chief information security officers (CISOs) is also increasing. If you are interested in a purposeful career with a great job outlook and satisfactory salary, then read on. In this article, we will explain how to become a CISO and the skills you should develop.
What is a Chief Information Security Officer?
A chief information security officer (CISO) is the chief executive officer in a company or an institution responsible for protecting information. Their purpose is to ensure that the company’s computer systems and data are secure from any potential threats. CISOs usually work beside other chief executives and supervise the security team for the company to be as safe as possible.
What Does a Chief Information Security Officer Do?
The role of the chief information security officer comes with many responsibilities. To put it simply, in this profession, you would be responsible for the information and data security of the company you work for. Some typical duties of a CISO include: hiring other security professionals, creating IT security plans and ensuring they work properly, training employees in information and data security, launching and upgrading software, planning security budgets with both security and business perspective in mind, evaluating potential security threats inside the company as well as outside, and more.
How to Become a Chief Information Security Officer?
The position of a chief information security officer is quite influential, and as such, it requires broad knowledge, experience, and skills related to information security. Knowing how to become a chief information security officer is about understanding CISO requirements- knowing what educational path you should follow in your higher studies as well as the skills you should cultivate.
One or more master’s degrees are also welcome, if not required. You can focus on anything related to computer science or information technology.
To be qualified for becoming a CISO, besides your education, you need several qualifications as well. There is not a particular qualification that will ensure that you get the position, but there are many training programs and certifications you need to earn in order for you to get qualified.
Some of them are listed below:
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
- Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO).
- Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE).
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
- Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI).
To be suitable for such a significant role, you need years of progressive IT security experience. Typically, employers require chief information security officers to have prior experience in business management, cybersecurity, and IT security. Working as a security architect or security analyst can be beneficial when it comes to climbing the ladder. Furthermore, various jobs in programming, ethical hacking, and management can be ideal for aspiring CISOs.
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The skills required for the job can slightly vary from one organization to another. But overall, to be a successful Chief Information Security Officer, you must possess a skill set that relates to your CISO responsibilities. Some of the top skills include:
- Risk assessment skills.
- Risk management skills.
- Extensive knowledge in information technology and security.
- Communication skills.
- Strategic management skills.
- Leadership skills.
- Analytical thinking skills.
CISO Job Outlook
The profession of a Chief Information Security Officer seems to be a promising one. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that all jobs related to Computer and Information Systems Managers will experience job growth of 11 percent from 2020 to 2030. This increase is much higher than the average for all occupations. The rising demand for such professionals comes due to many organizations and companies expanding their work to digital platforms.
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for chief information security officers in the United States is $173,705 per year. Those same reports show that the salary for a CISO professional can be anywhere between $104,216 and $289,527 per year. This all depends on the years of experience you have and the company you work for.
Although the position of a chief information security officer is not an easy one and comes with many responsibilities, it still is highly valuable and rewarding. If you are interested in cyber security and management, then pursuing this career would be an excellent choice. Be part of the change, and help spread security in a world full of cyber threats.