One of the fastest growing industries right now is computer security. What was once a segment of the computer business that was not well understood and often taken for granted has become a priority for a lot of businesses out there. The more important the business is, the more that they are starting to see that they need someone who is a computer security expert. In the past they would just rely on their local network expert or IT guy to provide the security for the system. Now they see that there is a need greater than that and you need someone on the premises who is dedicated to the security of the local systems and the network alone. You can’t be the head of security if you are also running around the company fixing every little thing that is wrong with the computers. If you want the security for your company to be effective you need someone who is solely dedicated to that task. And that is why you are seeing the job rates explode for that kind of person.
But being that it is a relatively new industry, you are seeing people get in who only have experience in school and not much else. They saw that the industry was starting to explode so they decided to either go to school for training or go out and get a certificate. And now they are in demand because they have a certificate that declares that they know what they are doing. But these people have to realize that the real life cyber battles being waged by black hat hackers are more dynamic than what you would find in school. They have to realize that there is no textbook that is going to show you how to battle the threats that come up almost every day. That is why if they want to remain relevant in their field they are going to have to study all of the time. And that means that they are going to have to practice a lot.
How can you practice?
There are several ways for a person in the computer security field to be able to practice their trade. And you can do it without harming other people. The first option that people always look at is to get another practice system. That means that you go out and you purchase a second laptop or desktop. Once you purchase this desktop/laptop you set it up with threats that you have to try and expose or breakthrough. Or you set the system up with really hard to break through security and you use your primary system to try and get through it. This is really great practice and if you love your job can be a lot of fun. But it is not the only option that you have.
Another option that you have is a bit more practical and it involves the use of virtual machines. Virtual machines are programs that allow you to run a second operating system on top of the initial operating system that you are on now. This is a great option because the programs that run in the VM operating system never know that they are not on a real computer. Everything that you can do with a second computer you can do with a Virtual
And lastly you have the option to using a service like Amazon EC2. While this cost money it also allows you to have a remote VM that is not using your local computer’s resources.
If you want to be good in computer security you have to remember to always practice. If you do not always practice then you will find yourself obsolete very quickly.