CAREER GUIDE FOR COMPUTER SECURITY SPECIALIST

SOC Code: 15-1071.01

Pay Band(s): 4, 5 and 6   (Salary Structure)

Standard Occupational Description: Plan, coordinate, and implement security measures for information systems to regulate access to computer data files and prevent unauthorized modification, destruction, or disclosure of information.

Computer Security Specialist positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Information Technology Specialist Career Group:

Information Technology Specialist I

Information Technology Specialist II

Information Technology Specialist III

While Computer Security Specialist within the Commonwealth are all located within the Information Technology Specialist Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.   

Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:

Architecture and Engineering Services

Computer Operations

Electronics

Audit and Management Services

General Administration

Training and Instruction

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

Skills
Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Computer Security Specialists commonly recognized by most employers. Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

  1. Writing computer programs for various purposes.
  2. Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  3. Using mathematics to solve problems.
  4. Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
  5. Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  6. Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  7. Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  8. Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
  9. Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  10. Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.

Knowledge
Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Computer Security Specialists commonly recognized by most employers. Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Knowledge of:

  1. Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  2. Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  3. Relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  4. Business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Abilities
Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Computer Security Specialists commonly recognized by most employers. Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer. Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Ability to:

  1. Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  2. Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  3. Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  4. Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  5. See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  6. Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  7. Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  8. Come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  9. Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  10. Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Tasks
Note: The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Computer Security Specialists. Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed.

Tasks

  1. Confer with users to discuss issues such as computer data access needs, security violations, and programming changes.
  2. Develop plans to safeguard computer files against accidental or unauthorized modification, destruction, or disclosure and to meet emergency data processing needs.
  3. Document computer security and emergency measures policies, procedures, and tests.
  4. Encrypt data transmissions and erect firewalls to conceal confidential information as it is being transmitted and to keep out tainted digital transfers.
  5. Modify computer security files to incorporate new software, correct errors, or change individual access status.
  6. Monitor current reports of computer viruses to determine when to update virus protection systems.
  7. Monitor use of data files and regulate access to safeguard information in computer files.
  8. Perform risk assessments and execute tests of data processing system to ensure functioning of data processing activities and security measures.
  9. Review violations of computer security procedures and discuss procedures with violators to ensure violations are not repeated.
  10. Coordinate implementation of computer system plan with establishment personnel and outside vendors.

INTERESTED?

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

The Computer Security Specialist occupation has Investigative, Realistic and Conventional characteristics as described below:

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Generally this is not required for Computer Security Specialist positions in state government.

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

The Department of Labor provides the following information:

Computer security specialists may plan, coordinate, and implement the organization's information security. These workers may be called upon to educate users on computer security, install security software, monitor the network for security breaches, respond to cyber attacks, and in some cases, gather data and evidence to be used in prosecuting cyber crime. This and other growing specialty occupations reflect the increasing emphasis on client-server applications, the expansion of Internet and intranet applications, and the demand for more end-user support.

A bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems is a prerequisite for some jobs; however, other jobs may require only a computer-related associate degree.

As technology continues to improve, computer support specialists and systems administrators must keep their skills current and acquire new ones. Employers, hardware and software vendors, colleges and universities, and private training institutions offer many continuing education programs. Professional development seminars offered by computing services firms also can enhance

The State Council of Higher Education lists many Virginia educational institutions offering programs in computer science on their web site: http://research.schev.edu/degreeinventory/inventory_

COMMONWEALTH COMPETENCIES

Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.

The Commonwealth Competencies are:

  1. Technical and Functional Expertise
  2. Understanding the Business     
  3. Achieving Results
  4. Serving the Customer
  5. Teamwork
  6. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  7. Leadership and Personal Effectiveness

The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences.

Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!

For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to:http://jobs.state.va.us/cc_planningctr.htm . For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each. Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like.

COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH

Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)

For example: Computer Security Specialist

PAY BAND

PRACTITIONER ROLES

PAY BAND

MANAGER ROLES

4

Information Technology Specialist I

   

5

Information Technology Specialist II

   

6

Information Technology Specialist III

6

Information Technology Manager I

   

7

Information Technology Manger II

   

8

Information Technology Manager III

Sample Career Path

Information Technology Specialist I

This role provides a career track for entry-level Computer Security Specialists applying basic skills in the areas of Applications/Programming, Systems Engineering, Network Analysis, IT Analysis and Equipment and Applications Specialty. Requires knowledge or equivalent experience in the field.

Information Technology Specialist II

This role provides a career track for Computer Security Specialists applying journey to advanced skills in the areas of Applications Programming/Analysis, Network Analysis, and IT Analysis and specialist level positions in Computer Security and Systems Administration.

Information Technology Specialist III

This role provides career tracks for Computer Security Specialists performing as expert in the areas of Applications Programming/Analysis, Network Analysis, IT Analysis. The first track is as a technical Consultant. The second track has Lead level responsibilities for instructing, directing, and monitoring the work of staff. These tracks can lead to supervisory responsibilities. Requires knowledge and extensive experience in computer security and systems administration. Supervisory levels also require leadership experience in the function.

Information Technology Manager I

This role provides a career track for managers in the equipment and applications specialty. They require knowledge and considerable leadership experience in computer security and network and computer systems administration.

Information Technology Manager II

This role provides a career track for managers in the field of Information Technology who has program direction with several units or sections. Directs, through subordinate supervisors, all program, operations, and staff in assigned area.  Requires knowledge and substantial leadership experience in computer security and network and systems administration.

Information Technology Manager III

This role provides a career track for executive director level positions in the field of Information Technology providing services to multiple state agencies in a multi-technology environment. Requires knowledge and extensive leadership experience in the functional area.

ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: 

O*NET (Occupational Information Network) 

http://online.onetcenter.org/gen_search_page

Virginia Employment Commission 

http://www.alex.vec.state.va.us/

Career One Stop

http://www.careeronestop.org/

Virginia Career Resource Network 

http://www.vacrn.net/

System Administrators Guild:

 http://www.sage.org