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 unauthorised 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 depends upon the type of equipment and data that is stored. For instance, the type of equipment and media for information management include the following: modems, fax machines, manuals, wide and local area networks, telephones, computer printers and scanners, authentication server software, notebook and protocol analysers, network monitoring software, computer terminals and mainframes, notebook computers, internet directory services software and virus protection software.

The duties of computer security professionals may vary from the strategic planning and computer security measures to detailed implementation, maintenance and upgrading measures. These include: developing and writing 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.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: BSc Computer Science or Information Systems or Information Technology as major, or a BCom. degree with information systems - 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, DUT, TUT, VUT, UJ, CPUT, UNISA

It is essential to continuously upgrade knowledge because systems and security threats are constantly changing.


  • government and provincial departments
  • large computer companies
  • research organisations
  • large business and industrial organisations
  • insurance companies
  • educational institutions and libraries
  • transport enterprises
  • mining companies
  • any company or business using computer systems and networks
  • a skilled and entrepreneurial computer programmer can start his or her own business.

Further Information

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

Programmes by Study Institutions