Balancing corporate needs with personal career aspirations

In the current conditions, employers are, rightly, pretty focused on performance and efficiency savings, and so it is important to be able to be strategic about balancing corporate needs with personal and future career aspirations

In a stable economic climate where the world is not circling into the toilet bowl, it is easier to justify attendance at events and participation in groups as part of networking and career furtherance. However, in the current conditions, employers are, rightly, pretty focused on performance and efficiency savings, and so it is important to be able to be strategic about balancing corporate needs with personal and future career aspirations, writes Andrea Simmons, consultant forum manager at the BCS Security Forum.

As a starter for ten in improving your career prospects, ensure that the following URL is saved as a favourite link: http://www.infosecurityadvsier.com/career_path as this leads you to courses, qualifications, associations, etc that are all valuable.

Personally, I have found both the ISSA and the Isaca Journals hugely interesting over the years and well worth receiving. SC Magazine is equally useful - particularly for its product reviews. RSS feeds of relevant blogs are another natural way forward. There is no shortage of available sources of information to keep you up to date with all of the challenges facing us in the industry.

Identity management technologies continue to have an impact - although the cynic in me insists on reminding people that these are ultimately "access control" technologies by another more fancy sounding name. Anything with the "identity" brand on it seems to engender an emotive and subjective response from people!

There is a deeper point here for another discussion - as a security professional, be mindful of the combination of snake oil and smoke and mirrors. The industry has a huge (and relatively unnecessary) capacity to rename things just for the sake of it (something that should not be allowed to continue in these economically straightened times) - to try and make them sound new or sexy or far more interesting than they really are. Be prepared to see through the mist!

Equally, wireless technologies will be interesting to watch alongside the Digital Britain broadband intentions, as we will see more and more metropolitan/city-based wireless local area networks across local council boundaries and these will have an impact on local businesses and the like.

And finally, the information sharing agenda won't go away and will get more and more involved and confusing - particularly depending upon the political landscape changes we may see over the next 12 months. Another area to watch out for in terms of legislative pressure on the one hand (to share more) versus individuals' pressure to maintain privacy and security of data. The BCS Personal Data Guardianship Code was designed to help with guidance in this area.

"Job security" is an oxymoron these days, it seems - so lower your expectations. Seek to do your best and deliver change and good performance and ensure that you are providing sound advice and guidance to management and users alike.

Furthering your career is a combination of internal and external perception. Peer recognition is important but in our industry your peers are usually outside of your own organisation and therefore you cannot receive that recognition without networking with your peers beyond your day job - be that through membership of the plethora of available bodies, writing articles, speaking at events or whatever it might be.

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