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In compiling our first Careers Guide, we give you the information you need to climb that corporate ladder and get the recognition you deserve.

I was 13. It was the summer, I was bored, and I needed money. My first job was dishing out ice cream in the sweltering heat. From there my career took a circuitous route: I worked at a bakery (to this day I hate the smell of sweet stuff) and on an assembly line writing down and stapling the sizes onto the soles of shoes (and one to my thumb in the process). Like most college students looking for an employee discount, I also worked at a department store, where I floated from department to department: one day weighing in on fine china and another day tracking down lipstick.

While these jobs didn't necessarily train me for my current position, I did learn at an early age that communication is very important, and that customer satisfaction is critical. To this day, these skills are still crucial, as illustrated in our Careers Guide, starting on page 19.

We spoke to dozens of senior security professionals--CSOs, CIOs, CISOs--and asked them for career advice. Over and over again we heard that, in order for security professionals to rise up the ranks, they must understand their business and how security can help in achieving business objectives. Security pros need to see the big picture, understand their corporate culture and use it to their advantage.

While some may assume that understanding business equates to

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an MBA, C-suite executives still look for security-specific certifications for their hires. In our survey of nearly 100 C-suite executives, 72 percent think a CISSP certification is more important than an MBA for a job as a security professional. That said, CIOs say that if a security professional wants to move up into the C-suite, an MBA is necessary.

Qualified job candidates need to have some financial experience and have been responsible for profit and loss sometime in their career. CISOs who understand that security is only one part of a business decision will be better suited to succeed. To build trust within an organization and understand its needs, they need to work closely with business managers.

We also spoke to recruiters and executives who offered advice on ways to land a perfect job. Résumé Do's and Don'ts, important skill sets to have and some of the toughest interview questions asked and how to answer them are included in our Careers Guide.

And, what would a Careers Guide be if it did not include salary information? We compiled some of the latest salary survey findings to help you determine if you are getting paid fair market value. We also give you a snapshot of salaries based on the size of a company, years of experience, particular industries and certifications.

Month in and month out we test security products, report security trends and news, offer case studies and conduct comparative reviews. We think it's time to focus on your personal career objectives to help you get promoted.

It is only then that you can get security the attention and dollars it deserves.

This was first published in July 2006

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