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Industry Spotlight

In this terror-conscious era, there are career opportunities for professionals willing to stay ahead of the game.

Security has come a long way since the days of the night watchman. Technological advances in the modern age mean making the rounds both physically and electronically. Technology—for all its benefits—has created a digital world that also needs protection from threats.

“There is an increased awareness of cybersecurity,” notes Linda Florence, Ph.D., CPP, dean of specialized programs for the University of Phoenix College of Security and Criminal Justice. “Security professionals have known the dangers and risks for a long time, and after 9/11, the public became more aware and more accepting of measures taken to help protect them.

The new landscape of risk

One innovation that has become increasingly prevalent around the world is drones. These unmanned aerial vehicles are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Today, they can be seen in skies across the globe in the service of companies, recreational enthusiasts and militaries. s.

In the wrong hands, though, drones can be used to do harm, such as deploy weapons and steal sensitive information from both governments and consumers. Crowded skies also create risk of accident and injury.

As the nature of security becomes more complex, “There is a push to professionalize the industry,” explains Florence. University of Phoenix partnered with the ASIS Foundation to develop the Enterprise Security Competence Model, a set of specific skills and tools within a framework that was adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor in April 2015. This model provides a comprehensive view of what it takes for employees to succeed within the security industry.

Armed with this knowledge, security employees will be better equipped to navigate the interplay between cybersecurity and the physical and operational components of the field. That is, cybersecurity safeguards protect networks, data and other computing-related assets from attack while physical and operational security is concerned with the physical components, such as fencing, cameras and alarms, as well as the people to properly carry out security-related policies, training and processes. These areas need to function together like one well-oiled machine in order to be most effective.

What it takes

The security industry is poised for growth, with 1.3 million new cybersecurity jobs expected by 2019 to meet demands. Security job seekers must possess a certain skill set, though.

“You need security when something bad happens,” says Florence. “If nothing happens, then security professionals are doing their jobs.” This also means that most people aren’t aware of their successes or the disasters these professionals avert. The right candidates are OK without external praise to drive them.

Security professionals need to be strong communicators to work effectively across organizations, too. They must be able to think critically—often under pressure—and make decisions based on their analyses. They should possess keen leadership skills and the ability to motivate cross-functional teams to take actions to reduce risk and secure assets.  

A college degree in security can help professionals hone specialized expertise, as can certificate programs like the University of Phoenix Cyber Crimes Certificate. For more information on the University of Phoenix security-related certificates, visit




For gainful employment information, including on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed the program and other important information, please visit