HR Keywords for Growing Your Infosec Skills and Career


There are different approaches to building skills for career advancement.  Rather than focus on specific skills for Infosec, we will focus on creative approaches to Human Resources for developing skills.  These ideas may also be useful to management in developing a team.  The concepts can also be applied to other careers in addition to Infosec.  We will be covering some terminology that may be useful when discussing career development with Human Resources professionals and potential ideas for implementing them.  Depending on the organization Human Resources may or may not want to be directly involved in these ideas.  The term workers refers to anyone performing work whether they are a contractor, part-time, full-time, or temporary.

Job Enlargement is the an easy step to growing an worker’s skills.  Job enlargement consists of adding more tasks at the same level of responsibility.  In the physical world teaching an employee how to operate multiple machines on a manufacturing floor is an example of job enlargement.  In the IT field this could be adding/removing users from both Windows and Linux systems or supporting Mac and Windows desktops.  Workers managing perimeter firewalls could be given responsibility to manage end point protection in addition to the single task they had previously.

Job Enrichment is different from job enlargement.  Job enrichment involves increasing the responsibility that workers have, where job enlargement is adding tasks at the same level.  This can be adding more difficult and complex tasks to an worker’s duties.  This can also include delegating higher level duties by management.  In these arrangements accountability would remain at the same level (management), but the worker would gain hands on experience by completing the task with management supervision.  Additional technical skills can be acquired through job enrichment.  On the job training for supervisor responsibility can also be accomplished through job enlargement.

Job Sharing is normally for part time positions where one worker may work 20 hours and another worker will do the some job for 20 hours making up 40 hours of productivity.  Modifying job sharing for full time workers can also create growth opportunities.  A worker can be given two distinct jobs and split a 40 hour week between the two jobs.  This can occur under the same supervisor or employees can be shared among departments.  One example is the financial auditor who has previous experience in IT audit.  Rather than hiring a full time auditor for IT, the company may have the financial auditor do 10 hours of work in the IT department per week or as needed.  Job sharing also allows workers to gain skills in a different line of work part time while continuing to perform their existing work tasks.

Job Rotation involves moving workers from position to position to broaden their skills.  This is normally a full time reassignment rather than splitting time as with job sharing.  Some security standards recommend job rotation to detect fraud, which can also be a benefit.  This can be an area where Human Resources and Security can work together in justifying a formal job rotation program.  This would guarantee opportunities to learn new skills from being moved from position to position.  Job rotation and job sharing also can be part of a continuity of operations program where workers are cross trained to reduce impact to the business in the event of a disaster or someone simply departing the company.

Job Sculpting involves tailoring job descriptions to the skills, and talents, and interests of each employee.  If a supervisor engages in job sculpting, employees will have customized job descriptions on an individual basis rather than a one size fits all approach.  There are several steps that go into job sculpting that we won’t cover, but it does allow workers to put their other talents to use which can benefit the organization and the worker.

These concepts can be used by workers to gain additional skills and increase their marketability in the job market. Approaching supervisors or Human Resources with the desire to broaden skills is one way to shift your career into high gear.  By being proactive and participating in job enlargement or any of the other career growth strategies Infosec professionals can expand their skills or discover new lines of work, such as project management, that relate to Infosec.  Supervisors can also put these concepts to use in order to have workers back each other up through cross training and to help workers in developing themselves to serve the organization and the profession.  In the coming weeks we will go over different ways of using these concepts to grow your skills and responsibilities.

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