With businesses and organizations using computer technology more than ever, keeping information secure is a major concern across all industries. If you like working with computers, a career as an information security analyst will give you the chance to use your technical skills to help companies and other organizations keep their computer networks safe from cyberattacks. Unlike intelligence analysts, who work primarily for government entities like the military, the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, information security analysts work for a variety of private-sector employers like computer services companies, consulting firms and companies in the field of business and finance. The path to a career in information security analysis begins with a college education.
Earning a Degree
Information security analysts need a broad range of computer skills to protect their employers or clients from hackers and other cyber security threats. To develop these skills, students should enroll in an undergraduate degree program in a computer-related field. Currently, employers prefer candidates who majored in computer science, computer programming or computer engineering over those that study a narrower subject like information security, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as information security programs evolve and more schools follow suit in creating such a degree path, studying information security specifically may become more popular among aspiring information security analysts. Whatever degree path they choose, students should learn how to assess computer security risks, evaluate how vulnerable an employer’s or client’s computer network is and implement the right programs to protect the system.
If you want to gain an edge over the competition, you can expand your education. After earning a computer-related bachelor’s degree, some candidates go on to pursue a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in information systems. Others seek certifications – and the relevant training – from professional organizations.
Professional Experience in Information Technology
If information security analyst is your dream job, you should be prepared to “pay your dues” and build your skills – and résumé – as you work up to this position. When you graduate with your degree, you will likely start your career in entry-level roles in information technology departments. In jobs such as database administrator or computer systems analyst, you can gain the right experience and develop the abilities you will need to be promoted to an information security analyst position.
As an information security analyst, you will enjoy a high salary and particularly rapid job growth. The median salary for information security analysts is $86,170 per year, the BLS reported. Over just one decade, career opportunities in the field should increase by 37 percent, according to the BLS. The combination of the profitably salary, the promising job outlook and a high rate of upward mobility prompted U.S. News & World Report to rank information security analyst high on its lists of the Best STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Jobs, Best Technology Jobs, Best Paying Jobs and 100 Best Jobs.