Cybercrimes have been a longstanding concern even before the pandemic. With the economy's unexpected and accelerated transition to the cloud, virtual security dramatically increased in both volume and reach. Last year, sophisticated hacking activities rose by 273 percent.
These security specialists run tests for vulnerable areas, and examine the security of company networks and computer systems. This position requires knowledge of computer networking, computer security, and ethical hacking.
The role is ranked the 16th fastest-growing occupation throughout all industries by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information security analysts’ yearly wages start at around $52,000 and can be as high as $111,000.
A penetration tester’s job is to search for vulnerable areas and potential security risks in a network, application, or system. They pinpoint potential security problems before they occur.
This way, steps can be taken to prevent hacks. While the average salary is $86,034, you can expect anywhere from $58,000 to $139,000 depending on your company, location, and qualifications.
Forensic computer analysts are the crime scene investigators of the cyber world. They work with law enforcement to gather evidence from computers and technology.
These analysts can provide expert testimony during trials, create technical reports, and compile evidence. Knowledge of forensics software, cryptography, eDiscovery tools, and programming languages is important. Expect to see wages anywhere between $50,000 to $119,000.
This position is typically for mid-level employees. Responsibilities include building firewalls, researching intrusions, and testing new security software.
To thrive in this role, one must have a strong background in penetration testing, encryption technology, and troubleshooting network systems. While the yearly salary can go as high as $136,000 per year, starting at $63,000 is to be expected.
Technical skills are skills that you acquire throughout your chosen program. These are developed through education and practice and designed to increase your productivity. Here are the technical skills critical to information security analysts.
To be a successful information security analyst, you’ll need to have more than just technical skills. Here are a couple of soft skills you should have:
There are many paths you may want to consider when becoming an information security analyst. The path you choose will depend on your needs and preferences. However, the most common routes people take are usually one of the following options: attending a university or a coding bootcamp.
Honing your information security analyst skills entails not just developing your technical skills but your soft skills, too. While technical skills get you in the door, soft skills help you thrive and stay. So, make sure to strengthen both areas.
Because the field relies heavily on hands-on activities, most hiring employers favor candidates with practical IT experience. Fortunately, there are numerous internship programs out there that you can tap into.
While not necessary, earning a certification can bolster your resume. Certifications will also come in handy when negotiating your salary or employment opportunities.
Program Offered: Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security Online
Tuition: About $320 per credit hour
Southern New Hampshire Southern New Hampshire is a private university with online and on-campus classes. It has a 300-acre campus catering to 3,000 students. Its online programs give 135,000 students access to remote education. In 2020, it was named the “most innovative university in the North.” It was also one of the “nation’s best regional universities” according to US News & World Report.
Students may choose the general cyber security track. They may also add a concentration, whether in data analytics or project management. Students undergo hands-on training via virtual labs with the most current industry tools.
Program Offered: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology-Cyber Security
Tuition: $1,480 plus a technology fee of $65
This school serves 50,000 students with more than 400 courses, 31 degree programs, and 75 concentrations. It offers great financial incentives and has flexible programs as 89 percent of its students are part-time. In addition, Strayer University is currently offering a new laptop to any new student joining any of its bachelor’s degree programs, whether in person or online.
The cyber security curriculum covers computer forensic technology, perimeter defense techniques, and network penetration testing. Students are expected to be ready for cyber security certification exams post-program.
Program Offered: Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and Cyber Security
Tuition: $235 per credit hour
For over 25 years, Columbia Southern University has strived to help adult learners use education to advance their careers. The school boasts tuition costs that are less than half that of its competitors. It offers flexible programs that suit any student profile, whether working or not.
A key takeaway from its cyber security program is the ability to analyze legal requirements for information systems security. Students also learn how to classify potential threats in the IT infrastructure and apply the appropriate security practices.
Career Karma recognized Flatiron School's bootcamp as one of the best cybersecurity bootcamps last year. And for good reason. Over 12 weeks, students learn how to handle large-scale and advanced threats to security. The curriculum covers eight foundational courses that include network administration, threat intelligence, and a capstone project.
Not quite ready? Flatiron School offers a preparatory course for the field. Hacking 101: Intro to Cyber Security is just what the name implies. It's a two-hour prep course that teaches you the basics of the field. It's for those who want to get a glimpse of a typical day in the life of an IT security professional.
This bootcamp prepares students for two specific cybersecurity roles: security operations center analyst and penetration tester. The module is a combination of lectures and workshops via hands-on cyberattack simulations.
Fullstack Academy's partner cybersecurity and tech firms attend the live stream presentation of the students' final projects. An in-house job fair is also held at the end of the bootcamp to help graduates secure jobs as soon as possible.
This newly-launched bootcamp offers a fully online learning experience for aspiring web security professionals. Students gain access to prep materials essential for the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and CISSP certifications. What sets the bootcamp apart is its heavy emphasis on a mentor-led education. Mentors in the program are vetted experts in cybersecurity and can thus provide tips on how to thrive in the field.
This government initiative walks students through the cyber security world with guidance from industry experts. The key learning areas include identifying and analyzing malicious code, forensics analysis, and software assurance.
The program will last for 10 weeks and pays approximately $5,800. If selected, some interns may attend DHS's Cyber Fellows Program.
The premier multinational tech company offers a summer internship program to aspiring cyber security analysts. Chosen interns will be providing support to IBM’s Security Services group in Atlanta, Georgia.
Interns will work on innovation projects that seek to train them on the end-to-end cycle of security analysis. This includes software development, business analysis, and network and security engineering. Knowledge and experience in IT security fundamentals are required, along with a high school diploma or a GED.
As an intern, you'll provide technical support to McAfee's field engineers and technicians in diagnosing and troubleshooting computer systems and networks. Students pursuing an education in computer science, software engineering, or information security are eligible for the program.
McAfee is one of the top computer security software companies so participation in this program will surely generate interest among employers. The internship is a three-month program based in Plano, Texas.
This certification is awarded by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)². It's considered one of the highest standards in information security. This is why not just any candidate can sign up.
Candidates must have five years' worth of paid experience in cyber security analysis to be eligible. They must also demonstrate proficiency in the eight domains of security analysis.
Granted by the prestigious Global Information Assurance Certification body, this is one of the most difficult certifications to obtain. The exam covers three main areas: the fundamentals of traffic analysis, open-source intrusion detection systems, and network traffic forensics. The exam lasts four hours. Candidates who obtain a score of at least 68 percent pass the exam.
This advanced certification is offered by ISACA, a professional association working on information technology governance. As its name implies, CISM is business-oriented. It targets IT security professionals in managerial roles. These include information security managers, security consultants and managers, and security auditors.
Like the CISSP, this certification also requires applicants to have at least five years of work experience in IT security. Holders of CISM have proven knowledge in incident management, security risk management, and program development.
This certification for professionals in the audit control, assurance, and information security fields is globally recognized and highly respected. Certified Information System Auditors have proven that they are experts in auditing, asset protection, acquisition, and service management.
Security analysts have a strong job outlook, even made stronger with the unexpected and accelerated shifts to digital. Job growth projections stand at 31 percent, which is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Security analysts can find jobs in companies of all sizes. Many of the better roles are available in healthcare, finance, computer companies, and other industries with strict data regulations.
Also, an information security analyst’s salary depends on 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 freelancers as well, rather than operating in a traditional office space. This work is typically reserved for information security analysts who have extensive industry experience. Freelance jobs can pay thousands for only a few hours of work, making them a great way to make a living.