Seeking CyberHolmes

Learn about the job market for IT crime-detection professionals.



The targeted audience for this year's e-crime conference, hosted last month by Utica College's Economic Crime Investigation Institute, ranged from risk and fraud managers, auditors, compliance officers and knowledge managers to security professionals and new product developers. They represent the growing list of titles that are stakeholders in the burgeoning e-crime industry.


SearchSecurity asked the Institute's executive director, Dr. Gary Gordon, to talk about the current job market for IT crime-detection professionals and the type of security candidates companies are hoping to hire.


SearchSecurity:

What can IT security professionals, or those hoping to enter this field, gain by attending conferences such as the one hosted by Utica College?


Gordon:

This is our tenth year of hosting computer-related crime conferences. This year's theme was "The Dark Side of e-Commerce: Risks and Solutions." There are many risks to e-commerce and one of the most critical ones is e-crime. Best practices in controlling the risks were shared. There were also sessions related to the global implications of e-crime.


SearchSecurity:

You mentioned that a wide scope of industries were represented -- law enforcement, banks, credit card companies, telecom, insurance. Did any similarities emerge as to their hiring needs?


Gordon:

Everybody I spoke to is having difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill their positions: They encounter lots of applicants with strong IT backgrounds who lack in-depth knowledge about how a company's data infrastructure -- its hardware, software and network -- works together. This type of knowledge is crucial to identifying where and how a company is vulnerable to e-crime.


This kind of educational deficiency is very understandable, given the climate in which many companies strive to compete. In their rush to bring products and services to market, building security into their processes is an afterthought. This mentality, incidentally, is not endemic to any particular industry. I think you will see a better crop of security candidates emerge when companies start developing products and services with security issues driving the focus. They will most likely populate the e-commerce market, the area where I see the most future growth.


SearchSecurity:

Describe the traits of an ideal computer crime professional.


Gordon:

This is what I hear from companies time and time again: 'We need candidates who are highly ethical!' These professionals also need to take initiative, be inquisitive and have a great desire to learn. This last trait is key because this industry is changing so rapidly. Professionals need to stay current. Taking courses, participating in certificate programs, and networking at conferences are all good ways of staying on track.


About the author:

Patricia Kutza is a technology writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


This was first published in November 2000

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