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What Is an Information Security Analyst?
Information security analysts are computer engineers who work in areas specifically related to the protection of important information. As the title would suggest, these professionals are responsible for keeping private information safe from hackers, internet pirates, and other digital criminals.
Due to the increased complexity of the digital landscape, the exact duties of the job will vary greatly from one industry to the next.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Problem-solving skills, analytical thinking, ingenuity, attention to detail|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$95,510|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||28% increase|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
In order to become an information security analyst, candidates will need to have a bachelor's degree. Students should focus on a quantitative major that includes programming courses, such as computer science, information technology, or computer engineering.
Certain industries may prefer a graduate degree as well, such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration) with a focus in information systems. These programs provide the opportunity to continue improving one's programming skills, and they also offer courses in management and business strategy, essential skills for larger organizations and management positions.
As one might expect, computer programming skills are absolutely required in order to pursue this career.
The same skills that make one adept at programming will also make one adept at being a security analyst. Attention to detail, quantitative aptitude, and analytical thinking all contribute to successful careers in the field.
Softer skills include good interpersonal communication and a 'calm under pressure' nature. Analysts frequently coordinate with their peers and superiors, so clear and concise communication is a must. Security analysts often encounter high-stress situations (such as cyberattacks or security breaches) that call for fast and decisive action. Professionals will need to remain calm and react quickly without losing their composure.
Career Outlook and Salary
The job outlook is extremely positive for information security analysts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that opportunities in this profession will grow 28% between 2016 and 2026.
The reason for this predicted expansion stems from the heightened demand for cybersecurity. All types of information are being converted to digital storage: public records, customer data, government documents, and more. With so much data being available, companies need to make sure that it is secure, and this is where information security analysts come into play.
The BLS reported a median yearly salary of $95,510 for information security analysts as of May 2017. With experience comes a higher salary. Payscale.com reported an overall salary range going past $104,000 on the high end as of January 2019. Advancement opportunities include becoming a chief security officer or information security manager.
The information security field is rapidly expanding and now encompasses multiple professions. Those interested in becoming a security analyst may also want to consider the following career paths, which work on similar projects and require similar skill sets: