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Computer Security Specialist
Computer security specialists assess administrative, physical and technical security risks to information, software and hardware; and develop policies, procedures and contingency plans to prevent or minimize the effects of security breaches and concerns.

Computer security specialist also known as Information Technology Specialists, or Systems security analysts have a primary role to protect and safeguard information in computer files against accidental or unauthorized modification or disclosure.

To keep up to date with new developments, systems security analysts share information via e-mail, use web-based resources that send out alerts about new threats (for example, computer viruses), attend technical training courses and conferences, and read computer-related journals, magazines and newsletters.
The work of a computer security specialist is varied by the type of equipment and data that is stored. For instance, the type of equipment and mediums for information management include the following: modems, fax machines, manuals, wide & local area networks, telephones, computer cassette/reel tapes, computer printers & scanners, authentication server software, notebook & protocol analysers, network monitoring software, computer terminals & mainframes, notebook computers, internet directory services software, and virus protection software.

The duties of computer security professionals may vary from the strategic planning and of computer security measures to detailed implementation, maintenance and upgrading measures. These include: developing and write policies and procedures for the computer security department; entering commands into the computer in an attempt to circumvent the new security measures in order to test the system; modifying security data files to incorporate new software into the firms security software; reviewing employee violations of computer security procedures recorded by the computer and monitoring current reports of computer viruses to determine when to update virus protection systems; reporting employee violations to user department managers.

Satisfying Aspects
- the challenge of the work
- solving problems
- working in a field that is constantly changing and advancing

Demanding aspects
- having to work long hours to solve problems
- working under pressure
- the frustration of not being able to solve a programming problem
- the fact that the work can be very fatiguing
- having to work irregular hours on occasion

Ideal Personality Characteristics
- the ability to think logically and analyze complex problems
- the ability to remain alert while performing routine tasks
- the decisiveness, creativity and flexibility required to meet security challenges and solve problems quickly
- a high degree of honesty and integrity
- the ability to communicate and get along well with users, other computer specialists and managers throughout the organization
- a keen interest in keeping up to date with new developments in technology.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects : Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Information Technology

Degree: Relevant degrees are offered by most universities - RU, UCT, UWC, NMMU, UFS, Wits, US, UP, UNISA, UKZN. UZ, UFH, NWU, Monash.

Diploma: Relevant diplomas are offered by most universities of technology and some private colleges - CUT, TUT, VUT, UJ, CPUT, UNISA

Certificate: Relevant certificates are offered by most FET colleges, eg. False Bay, Elangeni, Boland. Northlink, Cape Town, SW Gauteng

Employers generally prefer to hire experienced applicants who have a four year bachelor's degree or two year diploma in computer science or a related discipline. A security background check is normally required.
Systems security analysts must continuously upgrade their knowledge because systems and security threats are constantly changing.

- Government departments
- Computer manufacturers
- Research organisations
- Commerce and industry
- Insurance companies
- Educational institutions and libraries
- Transport enterprises
- Mining companies
- A skilled and entrepreneurial computer programmer can start his own business.

Computer Society of SA   
P O Box 1714
Halfway House, 1685
ICT House
546 16th Road
Constantia Park [Unit No.3]
Tel: (011) 315-1319 Fax: (011) 315-2276
ISETT (Information Systems Electronics & Telecommunication Technologies)
P O Box 5585
Halfway House 1685
Tel: (011) 207-2600 Fax: (011) 805-6833