An essential aspect of information technology, or IT, is to protect the privacy and security of computer users. An IT security analyst protects user security by restricting access, monitoring use, and updating computer security files to keep out unauthorized users. Among 10 randomly selected cities on the national salary survey site Salary Expert, the average starting wage for IT security specialists is $47,883. Those new to the field will likely make about $19,000 less than the average wage, until they pay their dues.
To become an information security analyst, you'll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science. While some schools offer specific information-security programs, others have IT security classes you can take in the computer science department. Because competition is strong, many applicants also have an IT-focused master of business administration degree, which takes two additional years of college beyond the four years it takes to earn a bachelor's degree.
At the 10th percentile annual averages as of 2013 for IT security specialists, according to the Salary Expert, were Pierre, S.D. $39,284; Miami, $41,518; Houston, $42,366; Augusta, Maine, $46,713; Philadelphia, $47,090; Chicago, $48,055; Walla Walla, Wash., $49,398; Baltimore, $51,771, Washington, D.C., $55,723; and New York, $56,910 in 10 randomly selected cities. The lowest salary in this group was $17,626 less than the highest salary, indicating there are significant geographical differences in pay.
When entering any field, it’s important to evaluate top salaries. Among 10 randomly selected cities reporting salaries on Salary Expert, averages at the 90th percentile were Pierre, S.D. $69,409; Miami, $73,355; Houston, $74,854; Augusta, Maine, $82,532; Philadelphia, $82,201; Chicago, $84,905; Walla Walla, Wash., $87,279; Baltimore, $91,469; Washington, D.C., $98,452; and New York, $100,550. The average for this group was $84,501, which was $36,618 higher than the average of these same cities at the 10th percentile.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classified IT security specialists in its category for information security analysts, web developers and computer network architects. The BLS projects job demand for IT professionals in this group to grow by 22 percent through 2020, which is higher than its 14 percent projection for all occupations. The BLS indicates that information security analysts have the best prospects of all in this group, especially if they have related work experience, due to increased awareness of the importance of computer security vigilance.