Next move: How can I specialise in network security?

I graduated from South Bank University with a BEng Hons in software engineering and started work as a tech support agent.

I graduated from South Bank University with a BEng Hons in software engineering and started work as a tech support agent.

I have worked for ICL and for Reuters as a network controller, both for three years. I was made redundant at the end of last year. Since then I have been working for Fujitsu supporting Siebel.

I feel I am not specialising and am just moving from supporting one application to another. I am interested in firewalls, but would appreciate some advice.

The solution: Self-funded training will be worthwhile

The good news is that you have always found work and with some excellent companies. Most people find it hard to get into the field covered by their degree, and many compromise.

I understand your need to become more specialised and it would be a sound move at this stage. You will be able to offer any employer a wealth of experience coupled by a solid knowledge of firewalls.

Given your circumstances, any training is likely to be self-funded. You may want to have a chat with the team that deals in this for your current employer and see if they have any manuals you can look at. They will also be the best-placed people to advise on how you can migrate to this area. There may even be a need in-house you were unaware of.

You should look at the Cisco accredited route. This will give you a grounding in networks and security and from there you could look at the Checkpoint accreditations, which are the best-recognised in the industry. You would start with the CCSA and progress to the CCSE.

Is the cost worth it? Most definitely. The demand for staff with security skills is ever rising. It is anticipated that demand will grow by about 7% this year alone.

Solution by Tracey Abbott, divisional director, Zarak Group

The panel

MSB International, Spring Group, E-Skills UK, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Hudson, Computer People, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology.

E-mail your career questions to computerweekly@rbi.co.uk

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