How To Become an Information Security Analyst

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 29, 2022 | Published May 3, 2021

Updated September 29, 2022

Published May 3, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: Becoming an Information Security Analyst

Are you interested in a career as an Information Security Analyst but are not sure how to start preparing for it? We have you covered!

Information security analysts are important security professionals in the IT sector. Becoming an information security analyst is a career path that requires higher education and on-the-job training. In this article, we discuss the steps to becoming a professional information security analyst.

What is an information security analyst?

An information security analyst is a professional who protects digital data for businesses of all sizes. As companies start to depend more on technology and store more of their information digitally, cyber attacks are increasing in frequency as well. This rise in cyber crimes has created a demand for experienced IT security professionals who can help companies and clients keep their information safe.

Some basic duties of an information security analyst include:

  • Managing and updating company firewalls

  • Controlling file access and credentialling

  • Implementing network updates

  • Ethically hacking systems to scan for vulnerabilities

  • Updating software

  • Performing network systems audits

  • Translating IT issues to management

  • Ethical hacking

As an information security analyst, you're a business's first line of defense against cyber attacks and data breaches, which can cost millions of dollars and potentially ruin a business' reputation.

Skills for information security analysts

These skills are what typical information security analysts bring to the job and learn during their training:

  • Network security management: Information security analysts maintain the company's network security via frequent testing and addressing potential risks. In most cases, they manage a team of IT specialists and report to upper management, acting as a translator for technical problems.

  • Security risk management: Analysts assess security risks, potential threats from outside sources and vulnerabilities in the company's network. They also create strategies to address threats of all sizes.

  • Cybersecurity expertise: I nformation security analysts are the company's cybersecurity experts. The job requires a background in cybersecurity fundamentals, including ethical hacking, coding and more.

  • Ethical hacking: To beat hackers, an information security analyst must understand the hackers' way of thinking. You learn how to ethically hack into systems to locate—and fix—vulnerabilities.

  • Problem-solving skills: Information security analysts identify and analyze problems and create viable and sustainable solutions.

  • Communication: Being able to communicate effectively is the cornerstone of any job, but an information security analyst has a specific requirement in communication. The information security analyst must effectively and comprehensibly translate technical network terms and issues to upper management.

How to become an information security analyst

Becoming an information security analyst can open up a new world of opportunity in the IT sector, but there are specific steps most prospective i nformation security analysts need to follow:

1. Find your industry

Decide what industry you'd like to work in. This is important because data and security rules vary across different industries. Look closer at industries' security protocols and decide which industry best fits your skills and desire.

2. Get a bachelor's degree

Once you know what industry you want to work in, pursue an education. There are thousands of universities both on and offline that offer a fast-track career path into IT. Most i nformation security analyst positions require a four-year degree in information cybersecurity or a similar discipline.

3. Advance your career with certifications

Once you've completed your education, you can add credentials to your portfolio by earning relevant certifications.

Information security analysts can gain certifications such as:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): Ethical hacking involves hacking the company's own systems to find vulnerabilities.

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP): A certified cloud security professional manages and secures cloud-based systems and testing for vulnerabilities.

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): The CISA performs risk management and security audits and creates security policies to increase security and safety.

You can get these certifications and more online through various programs, which usually have an exam fee specific to each certification. Having one or more certifications can diversify your opportunities and even help increase your annual salary. The IT sector regularly changes, so look for new certification opportunities as technology develops.

Related: 10 Cybersecurity Analyst Certifications

Information security career paths

Information security analysts are in-demand security professionals. Getting a bachelor's degree in cyber security or a related field can lead to new career opportunities with some of the world's top technology companies. Information security analysts can work for larger IT teams, in help desk positions or in a higher-tier position like senior systems administrator.

Here are some potential career paths for those who have worked as information security analysts.

1. Senior help desk manager

National average salary: $60,232 per year

Primary duties: The senior help desk manager supervises the IT help desk team and ticket requests. They also answer phones and address customers' complaints and comments. The help desk manager then reports to the IT manager for any major problems.

2. IT project manager

National average salary: $99,720 per year

Primary duties: An IT project manager deals with security networks and other large-scale security/IT projects and teams. The project manager leads the team in tech innovation and best practices and simplifies IT problems when communicating with higher management.

Read more: Learn About Being an IT Project Manager

3. Senior systems administrator

National average salary: $102,205 per year

Primary duties: A senior systems administrator oversees a company's network and connected devices and answers ticket requests. The administrator also implements new systems to increase a network's speed and security.

Read more: Learn About Being a System Administrator

4. Infrastructure project manager

National average salary: $105,493 per year

Primary duties: The infrastructure project manager leads IT teams in the design, implementation and auditing of IT projects, including software, network systems and more. The manager also oversees high-level software and network projects and the teams responsible for them.

5. Security engineer

National average salary: $106,725 per year

Primary duties: The security engineer handles the design and implementation of network systems, cybersecurity tools and more. Engineers build security protocols and tend to the security needs of the entire system.

Average salary and job outlook for information security analysts

While i nformation security analyst salaries differ depending on certifications, place of employment and experience level, the average salary for an information security analyst is about $91,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects careers for i nformation security analysts to grow 31% by 2029, which is much faster than the national average.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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