How to Become an Information Security Analyst:
The Definitive Guide


It seems like our entire lives can be done online nowadays.

This is why we need people working for us that are strictly responsible for protecting the computer network of our companies and jobs.

An Information Security Analyst works for people like the government, banks, or other financial institutions to create, maintain and control the security of an online network.


What Does an Information Security Analyst Do?

Many companies are taking their duties online.

Banks allow you to scan your checks right into your phone, you can just take a picture of your license and apply for a credit card.

But, how do you know everything is safe when doing that?

Because of Information Security Analysts.

An Information Security Analyst is expected to create, manage, and control security systems for companies.

To do well in this career, you’ll need knowledge of computers and the internet.

It is necessary to have a Bachelors’s degree in computer science or programming for this career.

Duties

As an Information Security Analyst, it will be your job to design and implement a security system to protect the company that you are working for.

The typical duties of an Information Security Analyst include:

  • Monitoring computer networks
  • Investing security breaches
  • Installing security measures
  • Documenting security breaches
  • Performing penetration testing
  • Staying up to date on technological changes
  • Researching

Salary

The average salary in the United States for an Information Security Analyst is around $60,000 a year.

Those that plan on just starting out as an Information Security Analyst can expect to make around $54,000, to begin with.

After many years of experience, additional skills or specializations and certifications, it is possible to make around $66,000 a year.

Other factors that may create a variation in salary is the population of the area around the workplace as well as the type of facility.

Those that work in government may make more than those who work for banks or financial institutions.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $68,860

$38K
$49K
$68K
$83K
$106K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$61,680
Alaska$59,670
Arizona$56,830
Arkansas$47,760
California$75,150
Colorado$75,040
Connecticut$76,200
Delaware$62,600
District of Columbia$84,080
Florida$65,030
Georgia$71,380
Hawaii$64,700
Idaho$52,760
Illinois$64,070
Indiana$61,640
Iowa$55,820
Kansas$51,300
Kentucky$57,550
Louisiana$56,520
Maine$65,770
Maryland$73,410
Massachusetts$84,240
Michigan$62,900
Minnesota$65,600
Mississippi$65,670
Missouri$58,780
Montana$57,000
Nebraska$58,760
Nevada$62,320
New Hampshire$73,840
New Jersey$89,060
New Mexico$57,600
New York$77,790
North Carolina$69,220
North Dakota$66,930
Ohio$63,070
Oklahoma$63,060
Oregon$59,710
Pennsylvania$68,660
Rhode Island$60,110
South Carolina$58,500
South Dakota$47,770
Tennessee$57,610
Texas$71,530
Utah$59,790
Vermont$54,960
Virginia$73,290
Washington$86,900
West Virginia$57,920
Wisconsin$69,350
Wyoming$60,020
Guam$40,750
Puerto Rico$35,700
Virgin Islands$71,790

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is New Jersey, where the average salary is $89,060.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New Jersey - $89,060
Washington - $86,900
Massachusetts - $84,240
District of Columbia - $84,080
New York - $77,790
*Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become an Information Security Analyst

Step 1Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The typical Information Security Analyst position requires at least a Bachelors’s degree in a computer or technology-related field.

Some of the degrees that could come in handy are:

  • Cyber Security
  • Computer Science
  • Programming
  • Science in Management Information Systems

A Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security can be done online and on-campus at many colleges around the country.

With this field, there are specific types of courses that you should expect to take:

  • Digital Foundations
  • Business Communications
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Principles of Law
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Mobile Security
  • Networks and Security

And many more!

A Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems is a little different.

With this degree, the coursework will be more focused on cybersecurity and business management.

Some of the courses that you can expect to take in this program include:

  • Cyber Security Principles
  • Project Management
  • Website Design
  • Database Design
  • Macro/Microeconomics
  • Operations Management

For those interested in running their own business, a Management Information Systems degree may be a perfect idea.

Both of these, and many other Bachelors degrees, will take around four years to complete.

Step 2Get on the Job Experience

Although a degree will get you started on the right path, it’s important to gain some work experience as an Information Security Analyst.

Typically, you’ll need several years of experience to acquire better positions as an Information Security Analyst.

Some employers would like their employees to have a degree in a computer-related field, but some also look at the years of experience in the field, not just education.

A key element of working as an Information Security Analyst is to keep on top of technological changes and advancements within the community.

Being aware and understanding everything that can happen within a security system will allow for more potential employment opportunities.

Step 3Become Certified

As important as it is to keep up with technology, it’s also important to keep up with education and certifications.

Although certifications for an Information Security Analyst are typically optional, they show employers that you understand the responsibilities of the job and are willing to go the extra mile.

There are several different credentials that can be obtained.

For instance, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional provides general knowledge in the area, however, there are many other specialized certifications that can allow for benefits in the field.

A Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst shows knowledge related to malware analysis, while the Certified Ethical Hacker credential demonstrates knowledge of hacking into a network to expose flaws.

Step 4Pursue a Master's Degree

As with certifications, a Master’s degree is optional.

However, having an advanced degree can open many more doors as an Information Security Analyst.

A Master’s program in Cyber Security will show students how to work in a classroom setting, but also provide on the job experience.

A Master’s degree program can also be used to strengthen skills in relevant specializations.

For example, a person can pursue a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering or Business, which can provide a well-rounded approach to Cyber Security.

Some of the Master’s degree specializations to look into include:

  • Cyber Security
  • Information Systems Management
  • Data Science
  • Business Data Analytics
  • Software Development

Education

In order to gain employment as an Information Security Analyst, the first thing that you are going to want to do is obtain a Bachelors’s degree.

There are several different majors to choose from, but as long as it’s in the computer science field, there should be no problems.

Some of the majors that can lead to a great career as an Information Security Analyst include:

  • Computer Science
  • Programming
  • Software Design
  • Robotics
  • Data Science

Among many others.

With a typical Bachelor’s in Computer Science program, the courses can be quite straight forward.

Some of the classes that you can expect to take are:

  • Computer Architecture and Engineering
  • Feedback Control Systems
  • Analog Integrated Circuits
  • Software Engineering

A Bachelors’s degree in Computer Science or another related field should take around four years to complete.

After you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree, it may be necessary to gain a Master’s degree.

Although most employers do not require a Master’s degree, it does show knowledge and skills beyond what a Bachelors’s degree can achieve.

For those people who plan to work in the computer science field for their entire career, a Master’s degree in Computer Science or a related field can boost employment opportunities.

There are several types of Masters degrees one can achieve.

The main Master’s degree is in Computer Science, however, it’s also possible to earn a Masters degree in:

  • Science
  • Engineering

When applying for a Master’s degree, it is important to understand what types of courses are available.

Some of the general classes that a person interested in becoming an Information Security Analyst should take include:

  • Advanced Operation Systems
  • Computer Networks
  • Java Programming
  • Machine Learning
  • Knowledge-based AI
  • Software Architecture and Design

A Master’s degree in Computer Science can provide many opportunities for those interested in a science or computer type of career.

Video About The Career


Certifications

Just like a Master’s degree, certifications in Information Security Analysis are not required but do provide a step up for those planning to work in the science or computer science industry.

A certification shows employers that you have the knowledge and skills to complete job assignments.

Some of the most in-demand certifications for Information Security Analysts are:

  • Certified Information System Security Professional
  • Certified Information Security Manager
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • SANS/GIAC Certification

In order to accelerate your career in cybersecurity, you may want to look into the Information System Security Professional certification.

This certification is ideal for security managers, auditors, security analysts, network architects and many more.

In order to be eligible for this certification, you’ll need to take an exam.

The Information System Security Professional certification exam covers:

  • Security and Risk Management
  • Asset Security
  • Security Operations
  • Software Development Security

A Certified Information Security Manager also must take an exam in order to become certified.

A typical exam for an Information Security Manager certification can cost nearly $600.

The exam can be done online, as with most other certification exams.

The certification for an Information Systems Auditor is globally recognized and is perfect for those interested in audit control.

This certification also requires an exam and can cost around $600 as well.

One of the last most notable certifications is the SANS/GIAC certification.

A Cybersecurity certification (SANS/GIAC) will allow for more opportunities throughout your career.

As with the other certifications, this exam can be done online.

It can take several hours to complete this exam, and also costs around $600 to take.

The SANS/GIAC covers an umbrella of certifications that can be checked out on the website.

Some of the certifications that may interest future Information Security Analysts are:

  • Security Essentials
  • Certified Enterprise Defender
  • Certified Intrusion Analyst
  • Continuous Monitoring Certification

When it comes time to take the exam, it’s important to remember to give yourself enough time to finish.

Although it will be timed, it is your responsibility to stay on task as these exams are given remotely.

Certification Example:

Information Security Analyst Certificate

Average Training Program Duration: 4+ Years

The average certification training program to become an Information Security Analyst depends on you.

Each certification that can be given to an Information Security Analyst is done online through a computerized exam.

This means, that as long as it takes you to study, take the exam and pass is as long as it takes to train for this certification.

Some people take several weeks to study for their exams while others take it the same day.

It’s up to you, whatever you feel comfortable with.

Popular Degree Programs


Job Outlook

The job outlook for an Information Security Analyst will rise quite a bit in the next decade.

It seems that the job will gain traction and grow around 32 percent in the next ten years.

With changes in technology, information, and advancements in the science and technology field, it is possible that more jobs will open in the future.

More banks, hospitals, financial institutions, and other businesses are looking to protect their networks, which will provide more jobs as well.

Computers are here to stay, and the more society relies on them, the more internet security businesses need.

This means that it’s the perfect time to get into a career as an Information Security Analyst.

Employment Growth Projection: 32%

112,300
2018
147,700
2028

That's a higher than average projected growth of 35,400 jobs.

Information Security Analyst: Interest Over Time


Should You Become an Information Security Analyst?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

It seems that 83% of Information Security Analysts are highly satisfied with their jobs as of 2020.

It seems that this career isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so many people feel secure in their jobs.

The job also allows for education, as there is always something new to learn.

Some of the negative sides of the career include tedium and interruptions throughout the day.

Overall, it sounds like a pretty interesting job for someone who takes an interest in the cyber world.

Average Salary: Medium

Average Salary

The average salary for an Information Security Analyst in the United States is around $60,000 a year.

When just starting out as an Information Security Analyst, it is more likely to make around $54,000 a year.

After years of experience, specializations, and certifications in different areas, some Information Security Analysts make around $66,000 a year.

There may be other factors, including the location of the workplace and type of work, that allows for a variety of salary throughout the United States.

Job Growth Outlook: High

Job Growth Outlook

The job growth outlook for an Information Security Analyst is exponential within the next ten years.

The career is looking to grow around 32 percent.

This is much faster than many other occupations within the same field.

The reason for this large growth is due to the increase in security in banks, financial institutions, and other companies.

Also, the healthcare field has started to put all of its records online as well.

This means even more jobs will be opening up for Information Security Analysts in the future.

Education Duration: 4+ Years

Education Duration

It can take a while to become an Information Security Analyst, however, it can be very worth it.

There are some specific steps you must take to gain access to this field, but they are not unreachable.

First, you must obtain a Bachelors’s degree.

This can take around four years to complete.

It’s possible to stop there, but many Information Security Analysts take it one step further and earn a Master’s degree.

This can take another two years to complete.

Along with certifications and other specializations, it can take anywhere from 7-10 years to become an Information Security Analyst.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

As an Information Security Analyst, you’ll likely spend a lot of time in front of the computer.

This job requires a certain set of skills, these include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Creativity
  • Communication skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Deep understanding of computers
  • Information Technology knowledge
  • Team Player
  • Self-motivation

These are just some of the many qualities needed to be a good Information Security Analyst.

Most of all, you must be up to date with all of the technology changes throughout the country.

This way you can always be one step ahead of the issues.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much does an Information Security Analyst make?

The salary for an Information Security Analyst can vary, depending on different factors.

Those that are just starting out as Information Security Analysts can expect to make around $54,000 a year.

With education and experience, the typical Information Security Analyst makes around $60,000 a year.

With certifications, specializations and experience, a Senior Information Security Analyst can make around $66,000 a year.

Q. What does an Information Security Analyst do?

An Information Security Analyst has an important job.

These are the men and women who protect the security systems of companies like banks, hospitals, financial institutions, and much more.

With this job, an Information Security Analyst must keep track of the security system for the company to ensure that there are no breaches.

If there is a breach, the Information Security Analyst will ensure that the hacker does not get into any private information.

Q. How long does it take to become an Information Security Analyst?

This depends on how much education you want to receive.

Some people end up getting a Bachelors’s degree which takes around four years to complete.

Others like to become even more educated and obtain a Master’s degree in computer science or a related field.

This can take another two years to complete.

Depending on certifications and specializations, it can take from 4-7 years to become an Information Security Analyst.

Q. Is there a demand for Information Security Analysts?

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is that there will always be a demand for Information Security Analysts.

This is because more and more companies are putting all of their sensitive information on computers.

From banks to hospitals, confidential information must be kept locked uptight.

That’s where an Information Security Analyst comes in.

These special people work with companies to ensure the safety of everyone using the network.

With the rise in technology, the demand for Information Security Analysts is higher than ever.

Q. How much does it cost to become an Information Security Analyst?

This answer really depends on you.

If you want to gain a Bachelors’s degree, this can cost anywhere from $18,000-$35,000 depending on the degree obtained.

Those that pursue a Master’s degree will typically have to pay another $50,000.

This means that in order to become an Information Security Analyst, you may have to pay around $100,000 or more.


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