Imagine, you are at school, exams looming and the question comes:
"What do you want to do with your future?"
I can well imagine security officer was something you would not have said, let alone working in the security industry. God forbid that you go home and say "Mum, Dad I want to be a security officer." There is nothing wrong with this but it is not down with the notable professions of the parentals. So why are so many of us here and what keeps us here?
I first used the phrase security careerist to reflect the people who fell into security and have decided to make a career out of it, not a job, a career. Once the decision has been made then you have to really forge a route and know which area you would like it to be in. There are many areas of security you can get into and some are more lucrative than others. But, money aside, where do you interests lie? You will get more out of the industry doing something you are interested in than doing something where the money is. However, if you get good enough then the money will come and who doesn't want to be paid for something they are passionate about.
You do have them, a choice that is. The different choices in the industry could range from manned guarding, risk management, auditing, cyber, business continuity. This is your first step to a successful career but you have to choose where to concentrate your efforts and apply yourself to it.
I would like to add that you need to find like minded individuals as mentors but I will cover this further on. Let's look at education first.
Does the phrase "I didn't do to well at school" ring a bell? I am not sure I can do a degree! Education wasn't for me etc... Well guess what, you can achieve a degree should you wish, it is no longer an elitist entitlement and you can get funding to do it. Although the degree option is a nice to have there are a lot of other options available and short courses to get you into the swing of things.
The benefit of a masters or a bachelors degree is that it is recognised worldwide where as the NVQ and level 5-7 courses are mainly only recognised in the UK only.
There are other courses like the CPP which are industry specific and mainly American based but these are recognised worldwide and are considered by those who know about them as the gold standard in security management.
One course I would highly recommend is the Silverback Security Academy Security Management Diploma and certificate which is a pathway into university and is taught by industry experts. The logo will take you to the website if you click it:
The course covers a wide range of topics including emergency management, risk, logistics, counter terrorism, cyber security etc. It is a good rounded course to cover the basics of security risk management and has real world applications you can use.
Promotion, the further you go up in the manned guarding system the more business skills you will need. This is an area that is lost on most security professionals and learned on the go. This is another reason why ex-military struggle when they come straight into account management positions.
If you take anything from this blog and you want to proceed then gain some business acumen. I am not saying get an MBA but there are many micro-courses you can do for finance. If you can approach and talk to your finance departments or people who work there ask them. Talk to your managers to see how costs work or get a mentor so you can learn.
This is an area you should look into for your career. In fact you should have 5 or 6 on your mentor bench who you consult for different reasons.
Important note here is to remember that because you ask someone to be your mentor doesn't mean they have to be. Another note is that their time is important and they have their own jobs so be sparing of their time and go prepared.
Mentorship is a great career gainer, and without it you'll waste a lot of time trying to go it alone.
The Security Institute has a great mentorship platform for members and you'd be mad not to explore this.
Being a security careerist is a good choice, but it is a choice that there is a lot of interpretations on how to progress in the industry. You need to decide is manned guarding is for you, if not, and you wish to stay in the industry where do you want to go and do?
There are many books and courses you can do to increase your knowledge and I would recommend on doing your research on what is what. With books and courses there are the good, bad and ugly and recommendations are always good to get.
Try and keep your knowledge in different areas of security so you can apply an holistic approach to your duties.
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