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At 53-years-old, how do I get my security career going again?

I am 53-years-old and a current CISSP with four years of security management experience. Also, I have more than 20 years of IT and telecommunications experience and have been an adjunct instructor. Unfortunately, I have been downsized twice in the last four years. In my job search, I am only finding security jobs for firewall jockeys. Do you have any suggestions for getting my career going again?

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At 51, with a nearly identical background to yours, I can strongly relate to your e-mail. Although your inclinations may not run in the same direction as mine, given your prior teaching experience, strong industry experience and ongoing interest in the field, why not follow my example? I write a lot, teach a little, consult a little and keep my eyes and ears open for more opportunities in all three areas. There's plenty of work out there for security savvy folks in all of these areas. And if you're not comfortable being self-employed, there are plenty of companies that specialize in these areas of activity in the security field. For example, Foundstone, SystemExperts Corporation and hundreds of other companies specialize in this area. Likewise, lots of community colleges and other higher-level academic outfits are looking for full-time instructors or adjunct faculty to cover this subject matter for their student bodies.

If this advice doesn't fit your needs, please e-mail me directly at and let me know what directions your thoughts might be leading you I'll be glad to try again at something perhaps more appropriate to your situation than mine.

For more info on this topic, please visit these resources:
  • Careers and Certification Tip: Information security in academia -- Training options abound
  • Ask the Expert: Do certifications ever hurt your chances of landing work in a down economy?
  • Dice CareerCenter

    This was first published in March 2004

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