Information assurance personnel protect the authenticity and confidentiality of sensitive information stored on digital devices. They may find work at a variety of companies and organizations. Most hold at least a bachelor's degree and some relevant experience.
Information assurance and security analysts work proactively to protect computer networks and systems and investigate security breaches. They are employed by corporations, computer system design services, financial institutions and insurance companies, as well as the telecommunications industry.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in computer science|
|Other Requirements||Certification available in specific computer languages|
|Median Salary (2018)||$98,350 (for all information security analysts)*|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||32% growth (for all information security analysts)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Information assurance specialists may work closely with the chief technology officer and senior information technologists. Their duties and responsibilities may include:
- Establishing security standards
- Developing and implementing strategic computer and information security plans
- Creating disaster recovery plans and systems
- Installing data encryption programs and firewalls to safeguard sensitive information
Job Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for information security analysts are expected to increase by 32% from 2018 to 2028, which is a much faster-than-average rate of growth in comparison to all other occupations. Analysts with experience should enjoy the advantage in the job market.
As of 2018, information security analysts nationwide earned a median annual wage of $98,350. In May 2018, Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Virginia were the top-paying states in the country. Virginia, California, Texas, New York, and Florida had the highest levels of employment, according to the BLS.
According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study, such as computer science or programming, is the minimum educational requirement for obtaining a job as an information security analyst. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Systems may be needed for some positions.
At the undergraduate level, some schools offer majors or concentrations in information assurance and security that include courses in C++ and Java programming languages, cryptography and database applications. Master of Science programs in information assurance are also available, which teach students how to protect information according to the standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Defense and National Security Agency.
A Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (with a concentration in information assurance and security) curriculum can include topics in security systems analysis and design, computer architecture and networking. Students also become familiar with the laws and regulations that affect information security, learn how to conduct risk assessments and find out how to develop contingency plans. Similar coursework can be found through a Bachelor of Technology in Information Security and Assurance program, which may also include in-depth training in host and network security, Linux operating systems and project management. Some Bachelor of Technology programs may combine the study of information assurance with computer forensics and cover topics in cyberterrorism, cybervandalism and electronic commerce.
Professionals who pursue a Master of Science in Information Assurance, or a closely related program, can learn how to develop an information protection strategy and study authentication or intrusion techniques and secure software design. Individual programs may help students prepare for career advancement, leadership positions or specializations in compliance or digital forensics.
The coursework found in an information and security program can provide students with the technical knowledge they need to earn a number of valuable industry certifications. These include the Cisco Certified Network Association, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist or Certified Information Systems Security Professional.
Information assurance specialists are expected to develop recovery plans for disaster situations, creating security standards, and protecting sensitive information through the use of firewalls and more. Having a master's degree, certifications, or related job experience may help job-seekers in this field.