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Data Security Analyst: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Data security analysts require a fair amount of formal education. Learn more about the education, job duties and certification opportunities to see if this career is right for you.

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A data security analyst can find work across a range of industries, including consulting, information, computer systems design and depository credit intermediation. Typically working full time hours, there are certain occasions when some data security analysts must also be on call outside of regular business hours. They generally need a bachelor's degree in a relevant topic.

Essential Information

Data security analysts plan and execute the protection of information found on computers and data networks, working with employees of organizations to make sure they are educated on security protocol. Data security analysts typically work under the supervision of an information technology manager. Most data security jobs require a bachelor's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Certification Information Voluntary
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 18% (for information security analysts)
Average Salary (2015)* $90,120 (for information security analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Data Security Analyst Job Description

Security analysts ensure the information stored on computers or networks is not disclosed to unwanted parties or modified inadvertently, and may also create and maintain security systems. If the data is compromised, security analysts repair the damage and take measures to seal the security hole that enabled the data compromise. Data security analysts typically work under the supervision of an information technology manager.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), information security analysts earned an average annual income of $90,120 as of May 2015. The job outlook for these professionals is promising, with the BLS projecting an 18 percent employment increase for information security analysts between 2014 and 2024.

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Duties

Data security analysts, sometimes referred to as computer security specialists, operate an organization's information security, according to the BLS. Duties may include:

  • Installation and maintenance of security software
  • Instructing computer users on security
  • Ensuring networks are free of breaches

The BLS also noted that, with the increase of online and computer network attacks, the duties of data security analysts have also increased and broadened (www.bls.gov). For instance, they may be expected to compile data for cyber forensics following a breach. Additional duties might also include programming, system analysis and telecommunications.

Requirements

As of 2016, O*Net showed that 65% of information security analysts hold a bachelor's degree, while 19% hold a post-baccalaureate certificate and 10% hold a postsecondary certificate. Degrees are typically in a computer-related field like computer science, information science or management information systems.

Those holding degrees in mathematics, science and technology disciplines also prepare themselves for a career in data security. In some cases, related experience or certification will be sufficient for positions in computer security.

Certification

The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) is a nonprofit organization that offers voluntary educational and certification opportunities. For technicians and analysts, the Systems Security Certified Practitioner attests to knowledge and experience combating malware and administering data security operations The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential for IT security managers requires five years of work experience in fields such as software development, information security law and computer hardware security. Those with CISSP certification must complete continuing education credits and pass a criminal background check.

Although most data security analysts hold a bachelor's degree, some employers might accept a postsecondary certificate as sufficient training. Understanding the projected future demand for this occupation is important to consider when determining if this is the right career for you. The BLS projects growth in the field to increase by 18% in the decade of 2014-2024.

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