Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader: Vince Campisi
The CIO at GE Intelligent Platforms answers questions about age and IT careers.
I am a registered nurse transitioning to IT security. I am in my 50s, so I can't afford any missteps. What education and certifications would be the best and quickest route to a top IT security position? Information security professionals have a wide variety of backgrounds, and many do not have technical degrees. I have worked with great people with backgrounds in fields such as psychology and history, for example. But we are now seeing graduates with college degrees in fields such as cybersecurity and risk analysis. Many employers are looking for this type of degree and/or a certification. My advice is to get involved in information security organizations and participate in industry conferences. This will help you establish contacts and become more familiar with IT security in general. Additionally, community colleges that offer courses in IT security are an alternative to pursuing a dedicated degree. Lastly, be sure to target the right type of positions for your first job; for example, access management is less technical in nature and can help you segue into a career in IT security.
After serving in Iraq, I went to school for a computer science degree. I will be 29 when I graduate. Will my age hurt my chances in the job market, and if so, how can I offset that? First, thank you for your service! I am confident that the leadership, integrity and commitment to excellence instilled through participation in military service will be important career differentiators for you. Those qualities, coupled with your computer science degree, should serve you well in your job search. In fact, you will find that most companies (including mine) have targeted efforts to recruit veterans, and they do this precisely because of those differentiating skills learned through military service.
Read more about management in Computerworld's Management Topic Center.