Due to the frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks, employment opportunities for information security analysts are ballooning. By 2022, more than 27,000 additional computer experts are expected to have already landed jobs nationwide to help organizations better protect their computer networks and operational systems. This marks an impressive 37 percent increase in the number of analysts that were gainfully employed in 2012.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Varaz Shahmirian)

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Varaz Shahmirian)

In greater Los Angeles, newly-minted analysts earn a median annual salary of more than $55,000, with seasoned professionals raking in average yearly wages of more than $123,000, according to current data. Because information security continues to further evolve as a desirable career path, a growing number of schools throughout L.A. are responding with effective programs designed to produce well-rounded computer experts. Experienced applicants that have earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science or certificate in a related field stand to have the best prospects.

“Employers are looking to hire those with skills that are relevant and up-to-date in the latest programming languages, big data algorithms and cyber security strategies,” said Dr. Varaz Shahmirian, Director of the Engineering and Technology department at UCLA Extension.

How is UCLA Extension helping students to better compete for available jobs?

“We provide the best and most up-to-date courses on topics, such as applications programming, network administration, database management, data science and cyber security. Our courses are taught by experts and working professionals who share real-life skills and expertise with the students. Furthermore, our programs have been developed in collaboration with our industry advisory boards.”

How are you linking tech-savvy students to careers in software and systems development?

“We offer counseling and guidance to students to help them select the appropriate certificate that matches their interests and career objectives in the software and information technology areas. Our classes provide excellent networking opportunities with those in the industry.”

What is your message to students desiring to enter a high-end tech field?

“Getting a professional certificate in one of the informational technology areas will prepare students for the workforce and give them a better chance of succeeding in finding the right job and flourishing in their careers.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.

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