Information security and privacy careers are expanding. There is more need for such professionals than ever before, as more technologies emerge and are used by businesses, government, healthcare and other types of organizations; as more personal data is constantly being collected through the technologies; and as more laws and legal requirements are enacted to protect that exponentially growing digital ocean of personal data. Certainly, the number of entities that see this endless tsunami of generated personal data as profit opportunities, through malicious or surreptitious use, also is increasing.
Information security and privacy opportunities will continue to become more numerous. Despite this, many trying to break into the fields, or trying to advance, lament that they don't know how to find these job openings or are not getting the opportunities they had hoped for.
One way to resolve these frustrations and career bottlenecks is to join professional associations, such as (of course) ISACA. These can help you leverage your abilities and experiences to get the positions that you want the most and have helped us throughout our careers.
Here are a few ways we have experienced career development benefits with ISACA throughout the years, as well as how you can expand your skillset and knowledge in the areas of information security and privacy.
Local ISACA Chapters
There are many benefits for being active in your local ISACA chapter. For example, consider the ILLOWA ISACA chapter in the US (where Jaret Pfluger is chapter president), which serves eastern Iowa and western Illinois.
The ILLOWA ISACA Chapter exemplifies many of the ways that a local ISACA chapter is providing career development and networking opportunities for their members. Here is an example of some of its activities that might provide ideas to energize your members:
- Monthly Cyber-Chats. ISACA Cyber-Chats, which debuted in January of 2018, provide a spicy, modern, online interactive learning format. It was recently discussed on the international radio show, "Data Security & Privacy with the Privacy Professor.” The connection to radio was coincidently apropos since the ILLOWA chapter members discussed the ISACA Cyber-Chats as a 21st-century “fireside chat,” reminiscent of those addresses that former President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered via radio to Americans in the 1930s. The ISACA Cyber-Chat conversations focus on addressing important cyber events from the prior month, in addition to covering predefined mini-presentations. Everyone, whether or not they are ISACA members, are welcome to listen to the monthly broadcasts and register online for free. Those attending will get 1 CPE. See our events page for updated Cyber-Chats links each month.
What other online offerings might other chapters offer in your area?
- Online events are relatively common but not necessarily consistent. Moreover, these events typically are a deep-dive into a single topic as opposed to a smorgasbord of current events. The event may or may not have a cost associated with it. Check which events are offered by your local chapter – your mileage may vary.
- ILLOWA welcomes members from other chapters to join our Cyber-Chats. Our website is updated monthly with new event information.
- 1-Day Seminars. ILLOWA offers two full-day seminars per year. The Spring Seminar will be 25 April, focused on “Building a Privacy Management Program & Performing Privacy Impact Assessments,” taught by Rebecca Herold. The class participants will receive 8 CPEs, and four people will have the opportunity to win two copies of the ISACA Privacy Principles and Program Management Guide and two copies of Implementing a Privacy Protection Program: Using COBIT 5 Enablers with the ISACA Privacy Principles as door prizes. These books will also support the privacy impact assessment case studies that will be provided during the class.
What may chapters offer in your locale?
- Full or half-day events are common at larger chapters. For example, the Detroit chapter offers a multi-day, multi-track format each spring.
- If you are a smaller chapter spread out over a large territory that makes it difficult to get together often, consider offering a 1-Day Seminar once or twice a year and supplementing with monthly online learning opportunities.
- If a large city is nearby or if you happen to be visiting a large city, check out that local chapter’s website to see what is being offered.
- Monthly (or Weekly) Meetings/Socials. The ILLOWA ISACA chapter board meets monthly for planning purposes but squeezes in full-member meetings during the end of its spring and fall seminars. Because of its large territory coverage, ILLOWA encourages volunteers in their immediate vicinity to provide local meetups at cafes or micro-breweries. Small chapters may not have enough interest to maintain a crowd from month-to-month. Reach out to other groups in the area and invite them to participate.
What are other chapters doing for monthly meetings/socials?
- In large chapters, monthly or even weekly meetups are quite common.
- For example, the Atlanta chapter’s event page has a Twitter feed where it advertises monthly meetings.
- The Minnesota chapter offers social events that may include a presentation once a week. These events are offered in the Twin Cities area and will hop from location to location to make them more accessible to members throughout the month.
- If you are in a chapter that lacks monthly meetings or social events, contact your chapter’s leadership. Who knows? If nothing is going on, maybe an opportunity awaits you to spearhead a meetup – and don’t worry if initial turnout is small. Over time, persistence will yield more participation.
While these are just a few examples, we are providing them with the goal of giving you a good boost to your own brainstorming for what you can do within your own local ISACA chapters. We view them all as great opportunities for networking, as well as professional development.
Connect with ISACA International
ISACA has been working for the past several years on building its privacy management resources and expertise. So, if you want to move into a privacy career, or are interested in learning or beefing up your privacy management knowledge, and getting more privacy management tools, using the ISACA privacy research and tools will provide you with a great amount of practical resources.
In 2017, ISACA published two privacy books to provide information assurance professionals with information about the key privacy and data protection concepts they need to establish their own privacy management programs and to support privacy audits. ISACA has also provided several privacy management webinars and tools to members as well. Some of these publications and tools include:
Then, of course, there are the many ISACA education offerings. These include opportunities such as conferences, held globally throughout the year, along with a large number of online events. All of these can help ISACA members obtain the information necessary to support their career development goals, including in the areas of security and privacy.
There are many opportunities for advancing your information security, privacy and/or compliance careers. One effective pathway is through a very wide range of existing professional and career associations, and by actively participating in your local association chapters and networking with members. You can also advance your career by learning about information security and privacy news, pivotal events, and careers, such as on Data Security & Privacy and other radio shows that give such advice.
If you want to take your career forward, proactively take advantage of the opportunities that are waiting for you to seize them.