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How to Become a Cyber Security Expert

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The Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, received more than 2 million complaints of cyber crimes from 2000 to 2011. Tom Silver, senior vice president of Dice.com, says that more talent is needed to prevent cyber crimes. Becoming a cyber security expert, while requiring education and experience, can provide you with enhanced job and wage opportunities.

Acquire at minimum a bachelor's degree in computer information systems or network administration. Consider especially schools that have emphases in network security.

Begin a career in the information technologies realm with a company who will pay for industry certifications; the associated tests can be quite expensive. For example, at the date of publication the Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam cost $549.

Gain a minimum of three to five years' experience in formal or informal information systems security. The CISSP exam recommends this experience to gain its certification. Other similar certifications require no more than five years of experience.

Purchase the study materials for the CISSP exam. SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security Institute, or SANS, an organization specializing in IT security and other education and certifications, offers a comprehensive training seminar that facilitates hands-on training in security topics. (Reference 3)

Take the CISSP exam. Once you pass this exam, maintain the certification with mandatory continuing education classes.

Study ethical hacking techniques with training materials you purchase from The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants. Study for and complete the Certified Ethical Hacking certification exam. Research and practice using network penetration and scanning software such as Metasploit and Dsniff among many others available.

Visit the Global Information Assurance Certification website to begin specializing your certification path. The site offers a host of certifications in field specializations ranging from a Penetration Tester to a Certified Firewall Analyst. Consult with your employer as to which certifications are required in your job path. (Resource 5)


Take elective classes in your undergraduate degree in networking subject matter as they will relate to cyber security better than others. Study all forms of risk from physical security, compliance and disaster recovery. Some cyber security professionals study business along with information technology to prepare them for other aspects in risk. Subscribe to many of the cyber security blogs that discuss system patches and vulnerabilities.


Maintain your continuing education records and do not forget to turn them in to your certification adviser yearly or you will lose your certification.