How to Become an Information Security Analyst

Most information security analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Employers usually prefer analysts to have experience in a related occupation.

Education

Information security analysts usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming, or a related field. 

Some employers prefer applicants who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information systems. Programs offering the MBA in information systems generally require 2 years of study beyond the undergraduate level and include both business and computer-related courses.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Information security analysts generally need to have previous experience in a related occupation. Many analysts have experience in an information technology department, often as a network or computer systems administrator. Some employers look for people who have already worked in fields related to the one in which they are hiring. For example, if the job opening is in database security, they may look for a database administrator. If they are hiring in systems security, a computer systems analyst may be an ideal candidate.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are a number of information security certifications available, and many employers prefer candidates to have certification, which validates the knowledge and best practices required from information security analysts. Some are general information security certificates, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), while others have a more narrow focus, such as penetration testing or systems auditing.

Advancement

Information security analysts can advance to become chief security officers or another type of computer and information systems manager.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Information security analysts must carefully study computer systems and networks and assess risks to determine how security policies and protocols can be improved.

Detail oriented. Because cyberattacks can be difficult to detect, information security analysts must pay careful attention to computer systems and watch for minor changes in performance.

Ingenuity. Information security analysts must anticipate information security risks and implement new ways to protect their organizations’ computer systems and networks.

Problem-solving skills. Information security analysts must respond to security alerts and uncover and fix flaws in computer systems and networks.

Work Environmnet

Information security analysts held about 112,300 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of information security analysts were as follows:

 

Computer systems design and related services26%
Finance and insurance18
Management of companies and enterprises10
Information8
Administrative and support services6

Many information security analysts work with other members of an information technology department, such as network administrators or computer systems analysts.

Work Schedules

Most information security analysts work full time. Information security analysts sometimes have to be on call outside of normal business hours in case of an emergency. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

Pay

Information Security Analysts

The median annual wage for information security analysts was $99,730 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,810, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $158,860.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for information security analysts in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Finance and insurance$103,510
Computer systems design and related services101,980
Information100,560
Management of companies and enterprises97,440
Administrative and support services96,190

Most information security analysts work full time. Information security analysts sometimes have to be on call outside of normal business hours in case of an emergency. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

Data Sources: BLS.gov

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