Bridge the gap between IT and business to dodge security layoffs

There are a lot of good people chasing a smaller number of jobs in the information security field and this situation is likely to continue.

The current recession has seen layoffs across the board - and information security is no exception. There are a lot of good people chasing a smaller number of jobs in the information security field and this situation is likely to continue. Simultaneously, the profession is changing: there seems to be a bigger drive for consultants with a greater understanding of business (and how it works) and a need for people who can 'bridge the gap' between technology and business. Technology specialisms are also likely to be in demand, writes Adrian Davis, senior research consultant at the Information Security Forum.

Qualifications, networks and your general knowledge are some of the tools you can use to achieve your career aim. If you want to become a consultant, be more business-focused, or to help to bridge the gap, go for business-related qualifications.

The MBA is the gold standard - and certainly will open doors for you - but other qualifications will be valuable. If you wish to stay in technology, start with technology-focused qualifications, and then broaden out to management-focused qualifications. That way, you can demonstrate your expertise and bridge the technology and business gap.

Whilst technology specialisms are likely to be in demand, technology changes quickly and focusing on one particular technology may be counterproductive. Remember that many IT jobs, once considered as 'irreplaceable' have been outsourced or have disappeared: don't let this happen to you! Be flexible and understand the underlying drivers behind a range of technologies and how they interact.

One thing qualifications will not give you are the 'soft skills', for example, people management, leadership and presenting. To further your career you will need a mix of the hard (qualifications) and soft skills. Here networking can play an important role to demonstrate wider capabilities (such as working collaboratively with different industries and sectors) and to establish that all important nexus. Volunteering and becoming engaged in industry or special interest groups may pay dividends in the longer term.

It is important to realise that furthering your career is your responsibility: you have to decide what you want to achieve and how you get there. Being flexible, inquisitive and above all, delivering value to your business will help in both furthering your career and increasing your job security.

Read more expert advice from the Computer Weekly Security Think Tank >>

Read more on IT jobs and recruitment