Top Ways Security Integrators Improve Their Careers

By Brian Rhodes, Published Sep 03, 2019, 12:50pm EDT (Info+)

With DIY products expanding and the future of integration debated, how do integrators stay sharp so they are not left behind?

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180+ integrators told us how they better themselves, learn new skills, and expand their careers.

Inside this report, we examine their insights and methods for keeping up to date with the industry and how they stay a step ahead of their competition.

Key ******

** *******, *** *** ****** *****, in *****:

  • ********** *** ********** *********
  • ****** ****** ********
  • **** **** *** ***** ******** **************
  • *** ****
  • ******** ******** ******** & *******

*** ***** *** ******** *****, **** integrators ********* '******** ** ******** ******** & ************' ** * *** **** of ***** ***** ** **** ****** better. ** **** ** *** ***** themes ** ******** *****.

Persistent *** ********** *********

****** ***** ******** ** *** ********* mentioned **** ****-********* ********, *******, *** research *** *** ******* ****** *********** make ********** ****** *** ******** ***** skills.

**** ******* ********** *** ****** *** the ****** ** ********* ******** *** self-driven ** ***** ** ******** ** edge ** ******* *** ******** *********.

*******, **** *********** **** ******** ************** to ***** *********:

  • "******* ******* *** ************* *** ********** training *** *******"
  • "******** ** * ********, *** * think * **** **** ***** ** I ****** **** ** *** ******** world ** *** ****** **, **** try ** ******* *** **** **** and ** **** **."
  • "* ** ********** ******** *** ******** new ************."
  • "* *** ** ***** *** *** time. *** **********, *** ******, ****** ways ** ***** ******, ****** ** constantly ******* *** **** ** **** the ****** *************."
  • "******* ******* ** ****** ************ / products *** ***********. *** ******** ** even **** **** ******** *** *** need ** **** **** ***** **% to ** ***** *** ******."
  • "* ** *********** ******** ** ******* my ****** ******* ** ** ********* to **** ** **** **** ******** technology **** * ** ********** ***** the ******** *** **** ***** * part ** **."
  • "************ ******* ***** *** ************ ** systems"
  • "****** ****** ******** *** ********. ***** is * *** ** *********** ********* to ****** ** ********* *** ************* of *** ********* ** **** **********. It ***** ** ******* ************** *** personally."
  • "****** *** ********, ***. * **** look ** ******* ***** ******* **** smart ***** *** **** ****."
  • "****** ****** ** ***** ********* ***. Webinar's, *******, ************** *** ****** ******* in **** ********."
  • "******* ****** ** ******** ** ***** new **********. ******* ****** ** ******** to **** **** ** ****** ***** the ********'* *****. ***'* *** *** comfortable."
  • "* ********** **** ******* ** ********** trends ** ***** ** ******, ***** to ***** *****, ****** ******* *********** classes, ********, ***."
  • "* ** ****** ******* *** ********, and ******* *** **** ** ******* myself, *** *** * *** *** company *** ***** ** *********. "
  • "* ****** **** ***** ******* ** learn ***** *** *******, *** * continue ** ****** *** *** **** diploma *** ***** *** **** ***** it."
  • "******** ** **** ** * *** about *** ********** *** ********."
  • "******* ******* *******. ********* *** *************. Instead ** ******* **** * ****** media ********, * ************* ***** ****** to ***** ********* ** * **** something ** **** ** *** ***** side ** **."
  • "******** ** **** ***** ** *** curve ** ***** ** **********. ******** about *** *******, ************, ***."
  • "* ** ******** ******* ** ***** more ***** ******** *** ******** ************."
  • "* ** ****** ** ***** ** on *** **** ******* ************ ** well ** ****** *********** ****** **** legacy ******* ***** * *** *** my ******* ****** ****. "
  • "*** **** ***** **** ***** **** to ** ** ***** ** *** employer."
  • "******** ***** ***. ** *** ****'* constantly ******** ***** *** ********** *** where *** ****** ** *****, *** are ***** ** ** * ******** without ****** ******* ** ****. * like ** **** ** **** **** to **** ** ********* ** *** market *** ********* *'* ******** ** make * **** **** *** **** is *****."
  • "*** **** ******* ** ********* *** excellence *** ** **** *** ****** or ***. ***'* ** ********* *** kind/generous **** ********** *** ** ** you ***** *** ************ **** "* dont **** ** ********** ********* *** I *** ****** *** ***** ***** me.""
  • "********** ****** ** ***** *** *********. I **** **** * ********** ****** control *** ***** ************ **********. ** are ****** ** ********** ********* ** add ** *** ********* *** ******** RMR."
  • "*** ********* ***** *** ************ *** new ******** ** *** ******"
  • "**** ******* ,**** ********** * *** on *** ******** ***** ********* ****** videos **** ** **** ********* ** the ******** ** * ***"
  • "******** *********, ********* *** **** ****** obsolete **** ****."
  • "* ****** ***********, **** *****, *** listen ** ******** ** **** ********* and ********** ******. * **** ** always ** ******** ********* *** *** bettering ******."
  • "*** **** *** **** ******* ********* reading ** ****** *******."
  • "******** ********. ** *** *** *** constantly ******** ** **** ******** - you **** ** **** ******. ** are ** *** **** ** ******* technology *********** **** *** ********. **** like *** ** ***** - *** can *** ****. ** * ** the ******* ******** *** ** ********* and ******* ******* * **** *** technology *** **** ***** *** ****** is ***** - * *** ******* my ******* **** ***** *** **** the **** ** **** *** *******."
  • "**** ****** *******."
  • "** ***** ** ********* ***** **** and ** *** ******* ** ** work ***. * ** ********** ******* up ** ***** ****** ****, **********, on ******** ** **** ** ******** just ** **** ** *** ** things."
  • "****** * ******* *** ** *******, webinars, *** ********** ********.""

Pursue ****** ********

***** *** ** *** ********* ********* that ************-***** ******** ** ** ***** a **** ** *** **** *** better *** ****** *********.

***** ****** ******** ** ***** ****** toward ************ ******** ******** *** ************, integrators ******* ********* ** ******* * big **** ** ********* ******** ****** by ********* ******* *********.

  • "******* **** ********** ********* **** ********* vendors ** ******* ***** ** ***** as * ******** *** **** ********** items ***** ******* *** ******* ** adapt. ********** ******** **** ***** *** party ********* **** **** **** *********** and ********* ** *** ******* ********* for *********."
  • "*'* ********* ******** *** ****** ****** controls ************** **** ** *******, ****, Software ***** ***** ******** ***** ********* with ************ *** ******** ********."
  • "******** ** ********* ** ******* ************* certifications ** ** ***** ** ***** on ******** ** *** *** ** the *****."
  • "* ****** ********, *** ******** ******** by **** *** ** ***** ** well ** **** ** *** ** new ****** *** ************ **** ***** affect *** ********."
  • "* ** ********** ***** **** ********** with *** ************ *** ******** *** hardware. **** ** ****** **-**** ** webinar ******** ** * *** **** up **** ******* ** ********."
  • "******** ** ********* ** ******* ************* certifications ** ** ***** ** ***** on ******** ** *** *** ** the *****."
  • "** ****** **** ********* ** **** supplier *********."
  • "************ ******** ** ******* *** ******** new ******** ** **** *** ********."
  • "* ******* *** ******** ******* ** our ******** *** *********. "
  • "******* **** ******* ** ***** ***** new ******** *** ********** ************."
  • "********/********, ************ ******** *** **** ********** education ******* *******. *** **** ** stay ******** ** ***** ****** ** your **********, ********** **** ** ******** technology."
  • "******* ** ** **** **** *** latest ********* ** *** ***** *** also **** *** ***'* ** *******."
  • "****** ************ ******** ** ******** ** use, ************ ****** ******** (****** ****!) to **** *** **** **** *** the ******** *** ***** ****** ** third **** **** ********* ** ************ in ******* (****** ************, ****** ************, analytics ************ ***.)"
  • "**** ** **** ****** **************."
  • "** *** ****** ************ ******** *** Access ******* *** ********* *** *********."

Use ****

***** **** ****** *** **** ** and ********* ** **** *******, ***** 1 ** ***** ** ********* ************ mentioned **** **** ******* *** ******* have ***** ** ********* ***** ****** and ********* ** ******* ******** ********:

  • "*** *** * **** ****, **** the *******, *** *** ** **** on *** ** **."
  • "****** ********* ** *** **** **** has ** ***** *** ******* ** eye ** *** ********. **** ****** to ********** **** ** *** ***** offerings **** ******."
  • "******* **** *****."
  • "**** *******, [***** ****] ************ ******** and ***** *****."
  • "**** *********** ** ****, ******* ****** trend & ******** ******** *******."
  • "* ***** ******** ***** *** ************ and ********* ******* ****** ******* **** IPVM *** ******."
  • "********, ******* **** **** *** ************* and ** ****** ******* ****"
  • "********** ******** *** ******* *** ********* writings **** ****."
  • "* **** *******, ***** **** ******* with ********* ***** **, ******** ******** like **** ** **** ** *** of *** ****** *** ******** ***********."
  • "*'* ******* ****** ******* ** ***** through ******* **** ******** ********* ****. "
  • "** * ***** ***** * **** the **** ******** *** *********** ***** products *** ********. "
  • "* ********* **** ** **** ******** from ****."
  • "* **** ****... ******* **'* *** best!"

ASIS **************

*********/***'* ********* ********* *******, ***** *** ** ***** ****** responses ********* *** ***** ******* ********* for ******** **************.

**************** *** *** *** ****************** ******** ********* ** ***** ********* as ****** ***** ***** ***********:

** ***** *****, ***** **** ******** were ********* ** ********* ** ************* up-to-date ****** *** ******** *********** ** members, ******** ***** ******* *********** ****. In *******, **** ****** ******** *** more *******, *** *** *** ********** areas **** ****** ***** **** ******:

  • "* **** ** *** ** *** from *** ***** **-** ********."
  • "******** *** *** ****, ********** ** new ********** **** ******* ******* ************ to ****** ********* ******."
  • "**** ******, ******* ** ** ** much *** ********** ** ********."
  • "**** *** *************, *** ***** ****** certifications."
  • "* *** ** **** ** ** the ****** **********, *********** ** ** local **** *******, *** **** *** classes ** ****** ** *********."
  • "******** ********** ***** **** ** **** or *** ****** ** ***** ******** opportunities. "
  • "******** *** ********+ *** ********* *** PSP, ** **** * ****** *** more ********** ************* ** ******** ************."
  • "* ** ********* ******** *** *** PSP. "
  • "*** **** **** ** ******* ** years ** ********** *** ******* ***** certs (********** ****) ** ******* *** next ** *****... ******* **** *** ones **** **** ******. "

Other ****** ********, **************, & *******

***** **** ** ******** ******** ********, other ******* ******** *** ************** **** sporadically ********* ** ****. ***** ***** sources **** *** ********* ** **** than * ******* ** *********, *********** cited ***** ********** ** ********** ***** careers.

***** ******** ************, *******, *** ******* ****** ********* degrees:

  • "* **** ** ****, *** ******** on ***-*, *** **** **** * degree ** **. **** **** ****."
  • "* **** ** ******* *+/***+/********+ ***** as **** ** *** *** ** done. * **** ** ******** **** this ****. * *** ** **** a ******** ** **********-******* **** ***** other *****. ******* ** ****** - I **** *** ***** ** ******* standing, ** **** ********* **** ***'* know ** ******* **** * ** speaking **** * ******** ** ********* and **********, *** **** **********. "
  • "******* ** ********** ******** *** *******"
  • "************* ** ************* ******** **** ** CSEIP"
  • "* **** ** ********* ** ******."
  • "**** ********** ********* ******* *******."

Increase ******** ******** & *******

** ******** ** ******* *********, ***** one ** ****** ********* *** ***** in ******* *** *********** ***** ******** networks, ***** **** ********* **** ** a ************ ****** ** ******* ***** business.

  • "**** * **** **** *** *** last ** ***** ***** ****, ******* education *** ***********. ******* *** ************* my ******** *** ******** ********."
  • "*'* ********* ********** ** ***** ********** and ******* ******** ******** ** *** moment ***** * **** ** ******** moving *******."
  • "*'** ******* ** ********** **** ***** people ********* ***********. ** ******* ** much ** ******** ** **** ** don't **** ** ** ********** ** everyone *** ***** ** **** ** are **** **."
  • "****** ******** *** ****** ***********. ** a ***** ******** ***** ********** ** death."
  • "********** *** ***, ************ *************."
  • "******, ******** *** ***** **** ** customers **** ** ***** ** ******* and ******** **** * *********."
  • "******* ** **** *** *** ******** makers *** ****** ** ** ****."
  • "**** **********, ************ **** ****** ** areas ***** * **** * *** be ******** ** *** **** ***** of ** **** ******. ******* *** about *** ************* *** **** ************ so * *** **** ******** ***** about **** ***** ** ** ******* career."
  • "* *** ** **** ** ** relationships **** *** ************ *************** *** higher ***. ********* **'* ***** *** you ****, *** ** **** **** you ****."

Focusing ** ******** ******** & ************

***** *** ******** *********, * *** select ******** ****** ******* ***** **** the ******* '**** *** *****' *********.

*** ********* **** ******* ** ********** labor ********* ******* ********** ******* ***** and ********** ******** ** *** ** their **** ********* *******:

  • "* **** **** ******* ********* ** talent *********** ** ****** *** ***-**-*** role **** * **** ** *** company *** ******** **** ******* ** that ***** *** ** ********** *********** or "*************" *****."
  • "******* ** *** ********** ****, ******* it's **** ****!"

*** *** ******* ********* ***** ** grow ******** ******** ** ********* ***** security *********:

  • "******* ** ******* ***** ***** ***********. Lots ** *** **** ******* ** retire ***** *** *** **** ***’* want ** **** ** *** *********. Now ** *** **** ** ***."

*******, ***** *** ** ***** ***** integrators ********* ******** ***** ** ***** to *** ******** *** ****** ** the *** **** *** *****, ** the ********* *********** *********** ******* ** ********* *********** In ***********.

Comments (14)

ctrl+f keyword search: read 21, learn 25, train 26, cert 20, education 10, new 28, classes 6, watch 3, study 6.

Teach 1

Teaching 0

Good report, the outlook may be grim in this one. I have always learned by listening, doing and then teaching. It is inevitable I will read, research and learn new subject criteria but teaching is the only way to get to the next level of understanding.

If you cannot teach someone else how it works, then you yourself do not understand how it ever worked. (imho, stay sharp my friends).

Agree: 5
Disagree
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Can you lower the bar to being able to explain how something works? Teaching people requires them to meet you halfway...

There was a time when I took a CAD class that was preparation for a certification exam. I passed the exam halfway through the class and spent the remaining weeks as an informal TA. The teacher even asked me for help when he had a problem with the program.

At the back of the room there were two guys that just could not get it. One guy didn't speak English well and was afraid to ask questions. The other guy just didn't put in any effort. The teacher basically gave up on them. I spent at least an hour every class period working with one or the other of them.

I wasn't around at the final exam, but I heard a rumor from the staff that there were two students who didn't pass the test.

I tried so hard...

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It is possible that the two guys you mentored passed. It is also possible that failure was immediately followed by light hearted preparation techniques or lack of. The sum of the two both lead to success with one experience(failing) needing to be completed multiply times until a passing score was met. At least you were able to step in and assist, thus not giving up like the teacher did who had not test to take at all. Mastery can also come from observation by simply listening, watching and mimicking a heuristic hacker can punch a hole.

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One advantage of teaching/training others is that they can come up with questions that you never thought of or just skipped through before, and must look after it.

Agree: 1
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ctrl+f keyword search: constantly 9

i tend to search for adverbs, they tell you how to do something :)

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Great article, obviously the folks that responded are working to improve their "Trade-craft". If you analysis how the decision to purchase technology is made there are three basic components. What they are going to purchase, How its going to be designed and deployed and most importantly Why the customer needs it. The pursuit of knowledge about technology covers the "what". Learning more about proper networking solutions and installation techniques covers the "how". I believe it is important to understand/address the customer "why". The customer invests capital dollars in security technology for only one reason... Mitigate Risk! Risk equals, positive or negative outcomes. Do we talk to our customers about how technology can be used to Deter unwanted events... or how we can Detect threats in advance of a potential incident? Of course we do. Unfortunately, in most cases we don't talk about the third D (3D's of Security). How can we weaponize/operationalize technology (Defend) during a critical incident to improve the outcome? If the technology our industry sells is going to truly make a difference we must start asking the "what if" questions. Time and time again technology is not factored in to the critical incident response plan. As a result, it does get used until after the fact! I believe our industry does not focus enough on the basic security principle which includes "All Hazard" event planning. I believe we need to look at how technology fits in to the customers EOP or specific threat Annex. Just my opinion.

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Polling Integrators as a Group might not give enough insight on education. Within this group, there are Designers, Project Managers, Procurement Specialists, Installers, and Support personnel, to name a few - each with a different skills requirement. Regardless of your current role, I've always found that doing the install work gives you a better perspective when designing and managing the project. I think "what am I going to need to get this done"? Classroom education is good, reading datasheets is helpful - practical experience is priceless. Everyone should get some field experience.

Agree: 4
Disagree
Informative: 1
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Funny

I could say on the installer side that I've found trying to get classroom experience painful. Employers rarely want to pay for any sort of training, and then trying to get time off to do so myself can be tricky. More so for various product certification than me wanting to go to University or something, can take night courses for those, but if I want product certification that usually means going to where ever they are based (it's never anywhere close to me).

I think a healthy combination of all the above is good. Field experience is good, but if you're too stubborn to read an installation manual, or take a course when offered, then I don't know how far your field experience will really take you.

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| "Field experience is good, but if you're too stubborn to read an installation manual,"

If someone is too stubborn to RTFM, then I wouldn't want them on my team.

Agree: 3
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I rarely get to pick and choose who is on my "team". Sometimes I get input, but frequently I get dumped with someone.

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question for PSP certified guys. Did it really help you? Could you say that money and time spent worth it? From financial (wage, title) or educational perspective?

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I read the articles and comments... I'd pass it if there was something better. Unfortunately, ASIS PSP/CPP are the only widely recognized certification

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Started working in high volume sales out of college with a BA in English Literature. So, not having a security background (and the second most useless degree available at the time - sure there are more now), it was important for me to pursue a body of knowledge. Getting an MBA also helped put into perspective the business case for security. I am of the opinion that there are many individuals in our industry that have a very cursory understanding of security objectives, and I saw it as one way to differentiate myself. All too often providers/vendors/etc. try to shove a round peg into a square hole versus understanding the problem in order to propose a/the solution(s). It helped me to better understand objectives and speak more intelligently by knowing some of the lexicon. Based on my position, it did not improve my wage but did help to open up some doors to meetings.

Also, the Professional Certification Board (PCB) just introduced a new certification: the Associate Protection Professional (APP). It is intended to encourage pursuing the higher level certifications while also lowering the bar and providing a good foundation for what ASIS identifies as important knowledge as a practitioner. More about it here: Associate Protection Professional (APP)

I would recommend it since I was immediately able to use the knowledge as I learned it. That being said, I know that certification is not for everyone, but I see them as a good stepping stone from which one can establish a foundation for your lifelong pursuit of professional improvement.

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