How to Become an Information Security Analyst
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Put Your Computer Skills to Use
It may be more of a man’s world, but a job as an information security analyst might be the perfect fit if you’re a Type A mom who is also a computer whiz. Only 11 percent of today’s information security analysts are women, according to the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break into the field with the right skills and education. A job in this field translates to a good living wage, which helps you provide for your children. In the event of a cyberattack, you may have to work extra hours, which makes having good child care essential for success in the field.
Information security analysts protect an organization’s computer networks and systems from cyberthreats. Analysts monitor their company’s networks and install and use firewalls and other data encryption programs to protect sensitive information.
You’ll also simulate attacks to look for vulnerabilities in your company’s systems to prevent breaches. If a cyberattack occurs, information security analysts investigate the attack and prepare reports that explain the cause and outline damages from the breach.
Information security analysts also must stay up to date on information technology and the latest methods used to hack into computer systems. You’ll develop and recommend security practices to protect your company’s network.
You generally need at least a bachelor’s degree to become an information security analyst, and many companies prefer a master’s of Business Administration in information systems. Most analysts hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming or a similar field.
In addition to your degree, most companies want experience in a related job such as information technology.
A number of companies also desire employees who hold additional certifications. These certifications range from general information systems security to more specific fields, such as systems auditing.
Rarely, companies accept employees without a bachelor’s degree, but you must have years of experience in the field and hold certifications that demonstrate your level of expertise in the area.
The job is one of the best paying in the computer field, with a median annual salary of $92,600, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary means half the workers in the job earn less, and half earn more than this amount. The average salary was highest for information security analysts working in the area of finance and insurance.
You can earn a decent salary even when gaining experience as an intern. The average intern salary is $57,983, according to glassdoor.com.
Information security analysts generally work Monday through Friday during normal business hours, although in the event of a cyberattack, you may get called into work outside of business hours and work long hours.
Information security analysts work in a number of different areas, including computer systems design, finance and insurance, management of companies, information, and administrative and support services. These jobs may be with banks, government agencies, public or private health care companies, or retail companies.
Virginia, California and Texas employ the highest number of information security analysts, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Years of Experience
Salary increase rise as you gain more experience as an information security analyst. Entry-level pay is around $63,000, and after five to 10 years, the average pay increases to $82,000. Employees with 10 to 20 years of experience earn an average pay of $89,000, according to payscale.com.
Job Growth Trend
Job growth for information security analysts is much faster than average. Thousands of cybersecurity jobs are unfilled in the United States every year as employers struggle to find quality candidates.
One of the main reasons for growth in the field is the increasing number of cyberattacks. Additional analysts are needed to come up with new, creative ways to counter cyberbreaches. Another reason is the health care industry’s switch to electronic records, which puts patient information online where it’s accessible to hackers. Finally, when major companies are hacked, they lose revenue, so having an information security analyst is critical to their company’s health.
- United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: Information Security Analysts
- United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016, Information Security Analysts
- Payscale.com: Information Security Analyst Salary
- glassdoor.com: Information Security Analyst Intern Salaries
- Forbes: The Fast-Growing With a Huge Skills Gap, Cyber Security
Tamara Runzel has plenty of experience on the professional side of things as well as the parenting side. The homeschooling mom of three young children earned a degree in Communication well before settling down to have a family. Since then she has built her expertise working in various areas of news. Tamara began her writing career writing, producing and reporting for television news before moving to print news at a military base. After having kids, Tamara decided it was time to find an avenue that allowed her to pursue writing as well as stay home to raise her kids. The knowledge she has gained in both the professional and parenting world are very useful writing online for sites such as WorkingMother.