In this digital age, security trends are becoming more crucial to protect data. Cyber criminals are finding increasingly sophisticated ways to hack into and disrupt organizational systems. Information security is becoming a concern for people, government agencies, and private companies, resulting in a demand for information security professionals.
If a job in the security space sparks your interest, you might be wondering how to get a job in information security. This article will highlight the essential information security skills and the education requirements to break into this field. We will also touch on the highest-paying information security jobs, where to find the best jobs, and how to prepare for the job interview.
What Is Information Security?
Information security is the practice of checking networks for security breaches and protecting them from unauthorized inspection, use, distribution, or disruption. Information security falls under the cyber security field but primarily focuses on network security.
Information security covers a wide range of areas including mobile computing, cryptography, cyber forensics, social media data, cloud security, disaster recovery, and more. Generally, information security upholds the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.
Information Security Job Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 33 percent growth rate between 2020 and 2030 for information security analysts, which is much faster than average. This growth rate applies to most careers under information security, which shows that the industry is bound to grow exponentially.
BLS projects over 16,000 job openings as information security becomes a priority for many organizations. You also stand a chance to earn a median wage of over $103,590, annually working as an information security analyst in the cyber security industry.
What Education Do I Need to Become an Information Security Professional?
You only need an associate degree or equivalent to become an information security professional. An associate degree makes you eligible for an entry-level job in cyber security. However, employers prioritize bachelor’s degree holders for mid-level and senior roles due to their practical experience and technical skills.
Can I Get an Information Security Job Without a Degree?
Yes, you don’t need a formal degree to pursue an information security career path. Alternative learning paths include trade schools and coding bootcamps. These educational institutions focus on hands-on and project-based learning, equipping you with essential information security knowledge and the practical experience required to pursue a career in cyber security.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get a Job in Information Security?
Yes, coding bootcamps are perfect for anyone pursuing tech programs such as information security. The bootcamps are career-focused, offering courses that focus on specific information security skills. Furthermore, you can attend a cyber security bootcamp, which offers information security courses and other cyber security topics.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Job in Information Security
The education time frame depends on your learning path and the job titles. If you pursue a coding bootcamp, it can take three months to a year. Community colleges take two years and an undergraduate degree will take you up to four years. However, you can always pursue accelerated programs that allow you to launch an information security career sooner.
Common Information Security Education Paths
Aspiring information security professionals can pursue a broad range of learning paths. You can enroll in a coding bootcamp, trade school, community college, four-year university, or online program. All the education paths prepare you with the technical skills required for entry-level and mid-level positions within the industry. Below is an overview of three popular learning paths.
Information Security Bootcamp
Bootcamps are short-term, immersive programs that focus on job-ready skills, including data analytics, cloud security, and computer forensics. These programs have become popular because of their affordability, expert instructors, career services, and job placement programs. You can attend an information security bootcamp, which covers areas like app security, infrastructure security, data governance, and more.
Community colleges are also popular because they are affordable, short-term, and accessible. Community colleges are two-year institutions that award certificates and associate degrees. In addition, you don’t need to leave your state or county to attend a community college because these colleges are designed to serve the community.
Information Security Degrees
You can pursue information security degrees at the university level. These four-year institutions offer extensive majors covering theoretical and practical aspects of information security. You can also enroll for a graduate degree, which gives you access to senior-level careers in information security.
Key Information Security Skills to List on Your Resume
Although education is essential, hiring managers will also analyze your skill level to determine whether you’re a good fit for the job. Therefore your information security resume should comprise vital skills like programming, information security processes, risk assessment, problem-solving, network control, communication skills, computer forensics, and more. Below is an overview of three crucial skills.
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Risk assessment and problem-solving skills go hand in hand. You need to know how to perform a risk assessment and implement risk management protocols. Risk assessment is an important skill because it allows you to identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems, preventing hacking and data loss.
Information Security Processes
Information security processes are the strategies that guide information security professionals to implement their duties without compromising an organization’s data security. This skill is crucial for every professional, including those in entry-level positions. You must demonstrate password management, firewall installation, configuration, maintenance, penetration testing, and incident response.
Information security is a collaborative industry. Many organizations hire various cyber security professionals who tackle different aspects of the system’s security. Your communication skills should help you engage these team members and work collectively to protect data. Open communication and interpersonal skills are essential soft skills.
Where to Find Information Security Jobs
Luckily, information security professionals don’t have to endure a long job search process. There’s a wide range of job search platforms where you can find cyber security roles, including company websites, information security forums, job boards, and social media sites.
Using company websites is straightforward. All you have to do is search for your dream company’s websites, check the careers section and apply for open information security job listings. These websites have a clear application process, which features several requirements.
Online Job Boards
Job boards are the most popular job search platforms worldwide. People visit sites like Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, or ZipRecruiter to choose from a wide selection of information security job opportunities. Furthermore, these job postings include company information, such as salary ranges, employee reviews, benefits and perks, and work culture.
Information Security Forums
Popular information security forums include Netsecstudents on Reddit, Hacklido, Wilders Security Forums. These forums are online communities that connect you to like-minded professionals interested in information security. You can network and connect with people who can refer you to jobs. Additionally, members post many job openings on forums.
How to Prepare for Your Information Security Interview
Like all other job opportunities in tech, the interview process for information security jobs can be nerve-wracking. You will participate in several interview stages and answer critical interview questions that gauge your skill and expertise.
You can prepare for the process by researching your employer, honing your skills, understanding current cyber security trends and security technologies, and practicing mock questions.
Information Security Interview Questions
- How did you learn of this position and why are you interested in an information security career?
- How can you prevent identity theft?
- What do you understand about risk, threat, and vulnerability in an organization’s network?
- What is the role of programming in information security?
- How often should you perform patch management?
The Five Highest-Paying Information Security Jobs
|Information Security Jobs||Average Salary||Projected Growth|
|Computer and Information Systems Manager||$151,150||11%|
|Computer Network Architect||$116,780||5%|
|Information Security Analyst||$103,590||33%|
*All salary and projected growth statistics have been sourced from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Its report features jobs with the same data under information security analysts.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Salary: $151,150
This job group comprises identity managers, cyber security managers, risk managers, and many other management roles in information security. The role involves analyzing the organization’s system needs, recommending upgrades, planning projects and installations, assessing costs, and leading the team in maintaining data security.
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Computer Network Architect
- Salary: $116,780
Computer network architects can also be cloud engineers who create plans for data communication networks while prioritizing information security. You must also be up-to-date on modern networking technologies and trends. This role is crucial in ensuring the systems serve multiple users.
Information Security Analyst
- Salary: $103,590
Information security analysts are in high demand because they design and implement security measures that protect computer networks and systems. You will identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, maintain software, research the latest technologies, and recommend improvements. Demonstration of exemplary disaster recovery skills is an added advantage.
- Salary: $103,590
Penetration testers are crucial in assessing the security system’s performance and vulnerability level. Your job involves intentionally penetrating computer systems and software within the organization. You will help analysts and engineers identify vulnerabilities and apply risk management protocols.
- Salary: $91,250
A cloud consultant is responsible for helping organizations identify and implement their cloud security needs. You will assess the systems, help write code, develop cloud programs, and offer guidance to programmers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that consultants can earn a median salary of $91,250 under information technology occupations.
Information Security Career Path
Information security careers range from entry-level positions to senior-level roles. The job level is primarily based on your education level and experience in the field. Below are popular job roles under each level.
Entry-Level Information Security Jobs
- Security Administrator. Your role involves managing security systems, installing security solutions, and troubleshooting.
- Cloud Engineer. You will design, implement, and maintain cloud-based security systems.
- Help Desk Manager. You will manage your team as they troubleshoot IT security issues. You are also in charge of subordinate staff’s daily performance.
Mid-Level Information Security Jobs
- Information Security Analyst. You will install security software like a firewall and carry out security measures that protect an organization’s systems.
- Information Security Compliance Officer. Your job is to oversee security programs and ensure they meet industry security standards, including compliance testing and risk management.
- Cyber Security Consultant. You are responsible for improving technologies and helping organizations meet their business goals.
Senior-Level Information Security Jobs
- Director of Security. You will oversee the security department, manage security intelligence, and determine the security team.
- Information Security Senior Manager. This advanced role identifies and reports risks within the compliance and regulations of the organization. You will oversee security analysis and risk management.
- IT Security Engineer. You facilitate a thorough risk assessment and create firewalls and configuring systems that enhance an organization’s security features.
Information Security Certifications
Professional certification is essential in every industry. Pursuing a certification course improves your knowledge of information security fundamentals, gauges your skill level, and qualifies you as an information security expert. You can always use your relevant certifications to apply for senior-level roles and negotiate a higher salary. Below are popular information security certifications.
Certified Information Security Systems Professional (CISSP)
This certification program ranks amongst the most sought-after cyber security certifications worldwide. It is available under the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)². You must have an undergraduate degree and five years of work experience. The exam costs $749.
This is an outstanding certification for entry-level professionals. The certification examines your knowledge of the cyber security field and your ability to implement security clearance. The certifications also indicate you can secure cloud systems, mobile systems, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The exam costs $381.
Certified Information Systems Auditor
The IT professional association, ISACA, offers this certification to mid-level professionals. It demonstrates your expertise in identifying and troubleshooting security vulnerabilities, designing and implementing controls, and analyzing compliance. You need an associate or undergraduate degree or two years of relevant work experience to pursue this certification. The exam ranges from $575 to $760.
Tips on How to Get a Job in Information Security
Information security is not a complex career path to follow. However, preparing in advance gives you an upper hand in the interview process. Below are the top tips for every aspiring information security professional.
Understand Information Security Fundamentals
Information security is based on specific core principles, including confidentiality, integrity, and availability. You must uphold these principles and understand how they apply to information security. Research the CIA or AIC triad to understand how the core principles function.
Work on Your Resume
Your information security resume plays a crucial role in convincing your prospective employer. Therefore, prepare a well-written resume that highlights your skills, relevant experience, accomplishments, and education level relevant to the job description. You can choose from a wide selection of resume templates online to help you write a catchy resume.
Include Your Projects
Your projects are your selling point for most tech jobs. Presenting a project portfolio allows the recruiter to assess your practical skills, knowledge of programming languages, and information security expertise. Remember, hands-on experience is more important in technology than theoretical knowledge.
Don’t Stop Learning
Learning is continuous in information security and cyber security as a whole. New technologies and trends are always emerging and you must always be at the forefront of learning these trends. You can learn through flexible online courses or bootcamps. Moreover, you can also pursue advanced industry certifications, which are essential in the cyber security job market.
Should You Get a Job in Information Security in 2022?
Yes, information security is a fast-growing industry, providing millions of job opportunities in the US and worldwide. In addition, as many organizations resort to using computer and network systems, the demand for cyber security professionals increases, ensuring job security.
You can work in any tech company and pursue your dream information security job anywhere in the world. The security field is a highly-lucrative industry as a whole with many opportunities for career advancement.
Information Security FAQ
Yes. Employers hire experienced information security professionals from trade schools, coding bootcamps, or self-trained professionals. All you need is the skill level and expertise to join an entry-level role.
No, you can join the industry with entry-level experience and advance your skills on the job. Moreover, the extensive learning paths make it easier to join information security.
Some of the highest-paying jobs include chief information security officers, GIAC certified incident handlers, security specialists, network administrators, and security architects. However, you will need a bachelor’s degree or higher to apply for these positions.
Information security touches on application security, vulnerability management, disaster recovery, social engineering attacks, incident response, cloud security, infrastructure security, and cryptography.
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