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How long does it take to get up to speed on security?

How long does it take to get up to speed on security? What kind of experience criteria is typical for certifications?

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Most IT professionals already have a casual knowledge of security topics, absorbed through osmosis and brute experience. Most IT professionals can learn enough to do them some good in three-to-six months. Entry-level security certs typically require one-to-two years of "relevant experience" (which is arguably conferred by installing and updating antivirus software). Mid- to senior-level credentials tend to be more stringent, requiring three-to-seven years of demonstrable, relevant experience (if not more, in some cases).

For more information on this topic, visit these other resources:
Ask the Expert: Experience vs. certification in today's job market
Ask the Expert: The advantages of work-related security experience
Ask the Expert: Qualification assessment for the CISSP

This was first published in September 2002

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