Education advice for high school senior

I am a senior in high school and am currently going post secondary for Microcomputer Network Technology. I would like to work in the network security field. What kind of education should I get? What kind of degree? What else would be good to do to move into the field?

I would strongly urge you to pursue a computer related degree of some kind. That usually means one of the following programs:

  • Electrical engineering with a focus on computers
  • Computer Science (sometimes an engineering degree, usually liberal arts)
  • Business with a focus in Information Technology (IT) or Management Information Systems (MIS)

    A bachelor's degree should help you get started, though you may want to consider a master's after getting some work experience. I'd also recommend that you follow this certification path as soon as it's practical (which may or may not mean starting while you're still in college, depending on your energy level and budget):

  • BrainBench Internet and network security certification exams
  • CIW Security Professional exam

    Note: The rest of these require heavy classroom hours or work experience, so they may have to wait until you're out of school.

  • TruSecure ICSA (TICSA) or ISC-squared's System Security Certified Professional (SSCP) Exam
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or TruSecure ICSA Certified Security Expert (TICSE)

    This should be enough to take you almost as far as you'll want to go in the next five to eight years. Good luck!

    For more information on this topic, visit these other searchSecurity resources:
    Best Web Links: Infosec Training, Careers & Events
    Executive Security Briefing: Revisiting the security certification landscape
    Featured Topic: Do security certifications matter?

  • This was first published in March 2002

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