Job Description of an Information Systems Security Officer

An information systems security officer requires significant formal education. Learn about the degree, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Information systems security officers create and institute measures to safeguard sensitive information within a computer network. Most officers have a bachelor's degree in computer programming, mathematics or a related field. These professionals often continue education throughout their careers, and some positions may require certification.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Certification may be required
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 37% for information security analyst*
Median Salary (2014) $88,890 for information security analyst*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for an Information Systems Security Officer

Information systems security officers (ISSO) research, develop, implement, test and review an organization's information security in order to protect information and prevent unauthorized access. Officers inform users about security measures, explain potential threats, install software, implement security measures and monitor networks. As cyber attacks have increased, so too has the demand for security officers in the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security, among other government agencies and large corporations.

According to job postings in November 2010, ISSOs are generally responsible for gathering information necessary to maintain security and establish functioning external barriers such as firewalls and other security measures. They define, create and maintain the documentation for certification and accreditation of each information system in accordance with government requirements. They also assess the impacts on system modifications and technological advances. Additionally, ISSOs review systems in order to identify potential security weaknesses, recommend improvements to amend vulnerabilities, implement changes and document upgrades.

Required Skills and Experience

Employers may require at minimum a bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics, engineering or five years of comparable work experience. listings note as of November 2010 that some employers may desire up to eight or more years of ISSO experience as well security clearance status of Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) with a full polygraph test. In addition, many employers prefer candidates who are Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) according to the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium.

Candidates must be highly analytical and effectively able to troubleshoot and prioritize needs, requirements and other issues. Aside from technical skills, prospective candidates should have excellent communications, teamwork, leadership and conflict management skills. Because of the constant developing nature of information systems and cyber attacks, officers must be committed to continuous learning and system development.

Career Outlook

The expansion of information and computer technology has created a growth rate for technology-associated jobs. As more databases are connected to the Internet, and as data security becomes increasingly important, a growing number of these workers are needed to protect databases from attack.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that employment of information security analysts - a category that includes information security officers - is estimated to increase by 37% between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than average. According to BLS data from May 2014, the median annual salary for an information security officer at that time was $88,890. ISSOs can advance to such positions as director of security or chief technology officer.

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