How to Become an Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts are usually experienced professionals that create, modify or manage security systems and protocols for various computer networks. Security is a rapidly growing industry that touches upon virtually every sector of business.

What Is an IT Information Security Analyst?

Bachelor's Degree
1 to 5 years
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

An information security analyst is someone who creates, maintains and controls a security network. Information security analysts are becoming more necessary today as wireless networks become more common and there are increasing issues with employee devices. As the security issues facing companies become even more complex, information security analysts become more valued. The Bureau of Labor Statistics records the mean annual wage for an information security analyst at $89,290, but those with significant knowledge in the industry will likely make more.

Information security analysts are often educated and hold multiple certifications. These certifications are commonly from either Microsoft or Cisco. Some of these certifications can require extensive training and experience to qualify for. Security analysts will often need to deal with employees and other professionals for training purposes.

What Does an IT Information Security Analyst Do?

An information security analyst will usually begin by determining any weaknesses in a given network. They can sometimes start from scratch building the network itself, but this is usually a task for architects and engineers rather than analysts. An analyst will need to consider potential security risks alongside the company’s needs and budgets. Analysts need to concern themselves with both technological risks and the risks that employees represent. Employees will need to be properly trained in password hygiene and security habits.

The analyst will develop a plan and present it to the company. The company will then decide whether this plan suits their needs and whether they can afford it, and it will be up to the analyst to implement it and to train the staff. Analysts usually work on a contract basis with a company or with specialized IT firms. They are not often the employees of a single company but instead are called in to upgrade and modify systems.

How Do You Become an IT Information Security Analyst?

An information security analyst is usually an extremely experienced professional that comes from a related field. Network administrators, systems administrators, network engineers and systems engineers are all examples of professionals that may choose to move into this field. Usually, someone will need to acquire the appropriate certifications before they can consider themselves qualified for this type of work. Many will work as security management specialists beforehand, which according to O*Net Online is a field with an extremely bright outlook.

Analysts usually, but don’t always, hold a Bachelor’s Degree in an applicable computer science field. This field is biased to those that have degrees, but a degree can be replaced by experience as well. Analysts that work on a contract basis may get their start with military contracts. If military contracts are desired, an analyst will usually need to be able to acquire secret or top secret clearance.

How Do You Advance as an IT Information Security Analyst?

Advancement as an information security analyst usually consists of taking on higher profile clients or larger projects. Information security analysts are already extremely highly paid professionals, however they do usually work long hours and need to take on quite a lot of responsibility.

There are related fields such as systems managers and information architects that have both less responsibility and lower pay. Analysts that work for IT firms can also consider moving on to consulting and self-employment, which will often lead to larger income overall. Eventually, an analyst can hire their own contractors.

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