As companies start to move more data online, it’s no surprise that the need for qualified information security analysts is growing.
Information security analysts play a critical role in the modern technology-driven company. These analysts are responsible for protecting internal computer networks and systems from data breaches, and safeguarding a company’s data. Indeed, information security analysts are in high demand, and as a result salaries are high in this field.
How do you become an information security analyst?
That’s the question we’re going to answer in this guide. In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need to decide whether a career as an information security analyst is for you. You’ll also find other helpful resources on salaries for information security analysts, training programs, and more.
What is an Information Security Analyst?
Information security analysts are a type of cybersecurity engineer who are responsible for protecting a company’s networks and systems from data breaches. These analysts will install data encryption software to protect data, and document potential and active threats to the company’s networks.
Information Security Analyst Job Description - What Does an Information Security Analyst Do?
The information security analyst is also responsible for testing systems to identify any areas of improvement for their security protocols.
Whereas a cybersecurity engineer may be involved with programming solutions, information security analysts are often involved with identifying potential problems, and coordinating a response with the rest of a security team.
Ultimately, security analysts ensure a company’s data is protected from unauthorized access, which includes both online and on-premise infrastructure.
Security analysts will also generate reports for IT administrators and other members of a business to evaluate whether existing policies are properly protecting an organization.
The responsibilities of an information security analyst vary between companies, but there are a few common responsibilities you can expect, which include:
- Monitoring security access
- Performing security audits on company infrastructure
- Analyzing security breaches to identify the cause
- Writing and updating a company’s disaster recovery plans
- Verifying the security of third-party software and working with them to meet security standards
Security analysts can find jobs in companies of all sizes, but many of the better roles in the industry are available in healthcare, finance, and other industries with strict data regulations.
If you’re interested in learning more about broader roles in cybersecurity, check out our guide on careers in cybersecurity.
Information Security Analyst Job Outlook
Information security analysts have a strong job outlook, as experts predict the demand for people who can safeguard digital infrastructure will grow. According to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 32 percent by 2028. The Bureau describes this as “much faster than the average for all occupations.”
Information Security Analyst Salaries - How Much Do Information Security Analysts Earn?
Information security analysts can earn high salaries. According to ZipRecruiter, average salaries fall between $76,000 per year and $119,000 per year. The overall average salary for information security analysts is almost $100,000 per year.
It’s difficult to know exactly what salary you can expect to earn because salaries vary between companies and locations.
Information security analysts in Chicago earn an average of over $102,000 per year, whereas the same analyst would earn over $117,000 in San Francisco. This difference shows how much location can influence your salary.
In addition, information security analyst salaries will depend on your experience. Senior information security analysts can earn, on average, almost $115,000 per year. Keep in mind this does not include employee perks or stock options, which may influence how much you earn each year.
Some information security analysts work as a freelancer as well, rather than operating in a traditional office space. This work is typically reserved for information security analysts who have extensive industry experience, however. These jobs can pay thousands for only a few hours of work, and can be a great way to make a living if you have the right experience.
How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)
How Can You Become an Information Security Analyst?
There are many different paths you may want to consider when becoming an information security analyst. However, the most common routes people take usually fall into one of the following categories:
- Earn a degree in Computer Science at a college or university
- Attend a short-term coding bootcamp specializing in cybersecurity
- Learn cybersecurity on your own through self-learning
The path you choose will depend on your needs, and each path has its own benefits and drawbacks. In the past, most cybersecurity roles were reserved for those who had a computer science degree, due to the complexity of the work. However, more people have started to become cybersecurity engineers after teaching themselves about the industry.
There’s also the option of attending a coding bootcamp: a short-term, employment-focused training program. Instead of spending four years in a university and taking on debt, prospective information security analysts can spend less than a year in a cybersecurity bootcamp and learn all of the practical skills they need to succeed.
Companies that Hire Bootcamp Grads
How to Learn Information Security Analysis
There are many ways you can learn to become an information security analyst. Some analysts attend a college or university and pursue a degree in computer science; other developers opt to teach themselves about cybersecurity and do not have any formal education.
However, there’s a new way to learn about cybersecurity that is growing in popularity.
Coding bootcamps are now a viable alternative to a traditional college education. In a coding bootcamp, which usually last between three months and nine months, you’ll learn everything you need to get started on your career in tech.
In a cybersecurity bootcamp, you’ll learn the tools of the trade, and develop a portfolio which you can use to showcase your skills to prospective employers.
Top Skills Needed for Information Security Analyst Careers
To succeed as an information security analyst, there are a few essential skills that you’ll need to know. Let’s break these down into two categories: technical skills and soft skills. We’ll start with technical skills.
Essential Technical Skills for Information Security Analysts
There are a couple of essential skills you’ll need to have in order to succeed as an information security analyst. These skills include technical processes, programming languages, and other abilities.
- Penetration Testing.
Penetration testing is the process of identifying potential threats so that an organization can protect itself from malicious attackers. You should be able to conduct a penetration test on networks, computers, applications, and other systems to identify potential vulnerabilities which need to be fixed.
- Intrusion Prevention.
As an information security analyst, you should be able to monitor network traffic to detect potential threats, and act as soon as a threat is detected. You should be able to manage a network in case of an attack, and ensure that a company’s systems are kept safe.
- Computer Forensics.
Computer forensics is the process of preventing a potential attack through analyzing data and security policies. You should be able to analyze potential vulnerabilities in a system, and resolve those problems. You should also be able to conduct forensics in the case of a breach to determine how an attacker compromised a system.
- Incident Response.
You should be able to coordinate your team in the case of an attack to ensure a company’s data or systems are not compromised. This will involve responding to any potential attacks, ensuring a system is not breached, and implementing plans to respond to any incident.
- Cybersecurity Planning.
Cyberattacks can happen to any company, even if they have qualified analysts who actively protect the company’s networks. Information security analysts should be able to effectively plan for future incidents, and create workflows to ensure an organization can respond to any threat.
Essential Soft Skills for Information Security Analysts
To be a successful information security analyst, you’ll need to have more than just technical skills. You’ll need to have a set of “soft” skills - interpersonal skills - to be a great information security analyst. Here are a couple of soft skills you should have:
- Problem Solving.
Cybersecurity is all about solving problems. When you identify a potential vulnerability in a system, you should be able to come up with a solution to the problem quickly and effectively to prevent an attack. Further, you should be able to think critically to solve problems.
- Attention to Detail.
Prospective attackers will look for any small opening to compromise a system. As a result, you need to pay attention to every detail as an information security analyst. You should pay attention to every detail of an organization’s networks, and be diligent when making changes to any policies or code.
- Research Skills.
As an information security analyst, you should be good at finding information. You should be able to research new vulnerabilities, and figure out whether your company is vulnerable to those problems. You should also be able to find out information which you may need to write cybersecurity policies, which may involve extensive research.
How to Become an Information Security Analyst: Step-by-Step
There are a couple of steps you’ll need to follow to become an information security analyst, which are as follows:
- Choose a cybersecurity career path
- Learn about information security analysis through a bootcamp, college, or self-study
- Build up and refine your technical skills
- Create a cybersecurity portfolio
- Write your technical resume
- Start the job search
- Prepare for your interview
Good news! Career Karma is here to help you through every step along your journey to becoming an information security analyst. We’ll provide you with free mentorship, access to a community of your peers, and coaching, which will help you get started on your path to becoming an information security analyst.
We’ll also help you prepare for and get accepted to one of the top cybersecurity bootcamps, so you can get the training you need to thrive in your new career.
Learn about other top in-demand careers in technologies