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5/26/2009
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When Your Security Career Gets Hacked

Security professionals like to think they're immune from the economic woes plaguing the rest of the business world, but, unfortunately, many are finding out the hard way that their jobs aren't any more secure than their apps. So career coaches Lee Kushner and Michael Murray today launched an "incident response" podcast series to help security professionals whose careers have been hacked and their jobs lost get back into the job market.

Security professionals like to think they're immune from the economic woes plaguing the rest of the business world, but, unfortunately, many are finding out the hard way that their jobs aren't any more secure than their apps. So career coaches Lee Kushner and Michael Murray today launched an "incident response" podcast series to help security professionals whose careers have been hacked and their jobs lost get back into the job market.The "Career Incident Response Podcast Series" is a free training course that helps security pros handle everything from evaluating their current careers and preserving their jobs to dealing with the initial shock of losing their jobs. The podcasts offer tips for preparing resumes, honing interview skills, and ensuring marketability in an increasingly tough job sector.

Kushner, who is president of security search firm LJ Kushner and Associates, says he and Murray are seeing a lot more security jobs get the ax, especially at the midrange -- the $90,000 to $95,000 and $120,000 to $125,000 salaried positions. But just what skills and positions are let go really depends on the organization. No specific job title or skill is necessarily at risk across the board, he says.

Security pros no longer are the rock stars of the IT organization, Murray says. "If you look around and can't answer, 'What am I here to do that no one else can do?' you're in trouble," he says. Unlike other IT jobs, security is most at risk of becoming "operationalized" or "marginalized" as it becomes part of the overall IT operation.

Firewall engineering, which was considered a hot security skill 10 years ago, is now just part of the overall IT functionality, he says. "The way security works, we are always on the fringe of new technologies because that's where the holes are," Murray says. "So if you don't keep up [with security technologies and skills], your [job is] going to be operationalized and marginalized."

With financial services firms -- which typically have the most mature security operations -- hit hardest by the financial crisis, it's a "perfect storm" for disaster in the security profession, Kushner says. "They are letting people go and placing projects on hold," he says. And they're not outsourcing as much help, so professional services are losing out, as well.

"And we're seeing that VC-funded companies' sales funnels are slowing. They're not hiring and are letting go because they have to reduce their burn rate," Kushner says. "This is the perfect storm impacting all security groups."

Scared yet? The podcast series includes six 45-minute to one-hour segments, including "Evaluating Your Career In a Worsening Economy," "The Personal Effects of A Career Incident," "The Job Search Process," "Valuable Resume Tips," and "Effective Interview Techniques for A 'Career Incident.'"

To register for the podcast series, go to this link.

Oh -- and if you haven't yet participated in the Information Security Career Management research survey being conducted by Murray and Kushner, it's not too late. They are still gathering input for the study, the results of which will be revealed at Black Hat USA and DefCon in July.

-- Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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