Career Advice Tuesday – “Adoro la seguridad de información (I Love InfoSec)”

September 20, 2011

Dear Infosecleaders:

I graduated college with a B.A. in Spanish. However, I find myself intrigued by the Information Security field as I love a challenge and I am a problem-solver with an analytical mind. I am looking into Master’s programs for IS, but I am worried about finding a job with a Master’s and no relevant IS experience upon graduating.

Can you please offer me any advice? I really see myself enjoying a career in IS.

Signed,

Quiero ser un pirata informático

 

Dear “Pirata”:

The best way to respond is that your professional career will most likely span between 30-40 years, so you have a long time to make the transition that you desire. At this point in your career, your decision to study Spanish in college as opposed to information security or computer science, should not be viewed as an impediment to your future career, in fact you should figure out how to utilize this knowledge as a future enhancement.

The first piece of advice I would like to give to you is to not go back to school to get a  Masters degree.  Instead, what I would suggest would be to either go back to school to take some technology related classes and look into an eduational program that will provide you with some first hand experience working in technololgy.   You should be able to take some of these clasess concurrently.    Simultaneously, you should attempt to find an entry level position – even part time – to do some computer related work, so that you can get some exposure and practical knowledge.  This can include roles like working in a computer lab, working third shift in a network or security operations center, or something of that sort.    Once you feel comfortable with a base line of knowledge, maybe in about 18 months – you can attempt to attain an information security certification – something that reflects your technical knowledge.    This will help provide you with some external branding as an information security professional.

Once this is completed, my advice to you is to combine your experiences – your newly created technical skills and your Spanish undergraduate degree.   Due to the growing Spanish population and the global economy, being able to communicate in Spanish (or any foreign language)  is a unique skill that will differentiate you from others.  In fact, it is likely that you will be more attractive to company’s doing business with Spanish speaking customers than more qualified information security professionals without ability to communciate.     When you begin to look for jobs, it is these companies and these geographies that you should focus your search.

I would not be surprised if you could find a company that would give you the opportuntiy to serve as a conduit between a technical information security function with any of their Spanish speaking business units.

In the end, please let us know if it is easier to teach a Spanish major information security, or an information security professional Spanish.

Hope this helps,

Lee and Mike

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Career Advice Tuesday, Planning, Skills 

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