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Educational growth in security industry for developer

I am a developer with six years of experience in networking(TCP/IP/SNMP/streaming media/SSL/authentication protocols). I have spent the past two years primarily developing a security product. What kind of career growth can a developer hope to expect? The certifications (CISSP), career paths and job titles that one often hears about (security engineer, security consultant, security analyst, chief security officer) are all related to individuals who have started out as system administrators. As a developer, what should I do to further embellish my skills, with some standard objective measures like certifications?

You're right to observe that a career as a security product developer is less open to embellishment through certification. In fact, I am unaware of any certifications that take a development rather than an operational approach. You don't say much in your e-mail about your educational background. Traditionally, the way to boost one's visibility and perceived value in more technical fields where certs are not available is to pursue an advanced degree like a Master's in computer science, software engineering, MIS, IT and so forth; if you already have a Master's, perhaps you might want to consider a PhD.

On the other hand, this is a reasonably active and in-demand area in the programming field. Are you sure that additional embellishment beyond a strongly and clearly worded recitation of your skills, knowledge and experience is necessary? I'm not convinced that your experience alone is not sufficient to help you grow and develop your career further. Perhaps it may be necessary only to keep seeking out new, interesting and meaningful development projects for you to grow and learn as you might like.

Good luck in your future career planning and development.

For more information on this topic, visit these other SearchSecurity.com resources:
  • Ask the Expert: How to pursue a career in application security
  • Best Web Links: Infosec Training, Careers and Events

  • This was last published in February 2003

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