How Do You Become A Cyber Security Responder?

Cyber Security ResponderWhen a computer emergency occurs, a cyber security responder is one of the first people on the scene. They work for the local, state and federal government, for computer security firms and on a freelance basis. While security professionals often help companies avoid the risk of security threats and use the right type of software on their computer networks, security responders help clients decide what to do after a threat occurs. Knowing how to become a responder can help you decide what college classes to take and what to do to become one.

What Do Security Responders Do?

Also known as incident responders and computer incident responder, a security responder is someone who looks at computer issues and problems affecting a single computer or an entire network. The evidence they collect can go a long way towards proving that an individual hacked the system or that multiple people stole from a company or committed other computer crimes. They must take careful steps to ensure that they document every piece of evidence found and that the chain of custody remains intact. Responders also create detailed reports that they can show their clients.

Do You Need to Go to School?

It is nearly impossible to get a job as a cyber security responder without going to college first. Most responders have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and most people working in the cyber security field today have a Master’s in Computer Science. Some employers may even limit their searches to those with a Ph.D in Computer Science. It’s also helpful if you take courses on criminal justice or criminology. Those courses teach you more about the criminal justice system and the role of responders in that system.

What Other Requirements are There?

Before you can work in the cyber security field, you need to pass a criminal background check. As responders have full access to the computer network system of a government agency or private company, employers want to know that they can trust the responders to keep their information private and confidential. Some employers may even make you submit to a drug test or a credit check. Responders also need to have the ability to work alone and spend long hours at a desk without any direct supervision. Familiarity with different operating systems and software packages is also helpful.

How Much Can You Make as a Responder?

Semper Secure did a survey of those working in the cyber security field and found that the average salary for a cyber security responder is $116,000 a year. The survey also found that more than half of those who responded had only a bachelor’s degree and that the majority of those working in the field have an advanced degree in electrical engineering, computer science or math. Though you may find that your salary right out of college is less, you can make more than six figures a year in your later years.

Related Resource: Become a Forensic Cyber Investigator

Cyber security is a hot field, and the number of jobs in this field will likely increase in the coming years. Smaller companies, larger corporations and different branches of the government all need people who can find signs of computer crimes and evidence relating to those crimes. To become a cyber security responder, you need a strong background in math and computer science and the ability to work independently.