Information security practices help companies protect their data, processes and customers from external parties. Due to the importance many industries place on information security, there are several careers technology- and security-oriented professionals can pursue. Understanding more about the different career opportunities within information security can help you determine which career aligns with your interests, experiences and skills. In this article, we define information security, review its importance and explore 14 high-paying jobs within the data protection field.
What is information security?
Information security, also known as infosec, is the processes or methods a company employs to protect its systems and data from unauthorized access. This helps a company minimize the disclosure, disruption, modification or destruction of crucial company information. Companies also often include data protection as part of their risk management strategies to help protect company operations.
Why is information security important?
Information security is important because it helps organizations protect their data against unauthorized access. Companies in nearly every industry rely on robust security strategies to protect their information. Information security can also increase customer loyalty and their experiences because these practices help foster trust and ensure safety.
14 high-paying jobs in information security
Review these 14 high-paying jobs in information security that earn over $60,000 per year on average to help you determine the right career for you:
National average salary: $62,841 per year
Primary duties: An information technology security manager is responsible for monitoring a company's digital operations and infrastructure. These professionals also help maintain a company's digital security tools or technology. Often, these managers oversee a team of IT professionals to implement and fortify a company's information security strategies.
National average salary: $67,964 per year
Primary duties: A network analyst helps design and implement a company's data security strategies. They help identify and mitigate data, network and computer system risks. These analysts also draft security reports that can help a company improve its future network security procedures.
National average salary: $73,045 per year
Primary duties: Vulnerability researchers analyze software vulnerabilities by researching methods unauthorized users might use to gain access to the software's information. They also help a company mitigate software vulnerabilities by providing recommendations about software security. These researchers might also reverse engineer programs to understand more about code vulnerabilities or malicious code, which is unauthorized files or documents that can harm data.
National average salary: $78,550 per year
Primary duties: Forensic computer analysts gather and analyze cyberattacks and online activity to enhance a company's information security practices. These professionals also retrieve and safeguard data related to digital crime investigations. Sometimes, forensic computer analysts also provide recommendations for investigators relating to digital criminal activity.
National average salary: $81,556 per year
Primary duties: Cybersecurity sales engineers collaborate with a company's sales team to create products that align with components or characteristics that customers want. They also help create persuasive cybersecurity marketing strategies to generate consumer interest. These sales engineers may provide feedback to a company's sales and software development teams to ensure that created products align with customer expectations.
Read more: Learn About Being a Sales Engineer
National average salary: $85,839 per year
Primary duties: A malware analyst researches and analyzes various forms of malware. They also research the ways in which external parties introduce malware into a company's software or code. Some common forms of malware these analysts examine include adware, bugs, spyware, ransomware, Trojan horses, viruses and worms. Understanding how these malware programs operate can help analysts provide recommendations that improve a company's information security practices.
National average salary: $87,889 per year
Primary duties: An information technology (IT) manager evaluates a company's IT systems to certify their productivity, security and efficiency. They also help develop robust IT policies to increase employee awareness regarding information security. These managers also supervise a team of IT professionals who install system upgrades, migrations and systems updates that enhance a company's data protection practices.
Read more: Learn About Being an IT Manager
National average salary: $91,017 per year
Primary duties: Software test engineers evaluate the functionality of a company's software. These engineers create a multitude of software tests to evaluate various aspects of a program to improve future customer experiences with the software. They also report any coding errors or bugs to improve the function and security of the software.
National average salary: $94,386 per year
Primary duties: An IT auditor is responsible for analyzing a company's information technology infrastructure to ensure its security and efficiency. They verify whether a company's systems comply with established security regulations, which help a company maintain its data security. They also assess an organization's security protocols to ensure it can effectively identify, mitigate and recover from unauthorized data usage.
National average salary: $94,761 per year
Primary duties: Cybersecurity consultants help improve their clients' security procedures by reviewing and analyzing current security protocols. They often create security protocols and plans to help a company better protect its data and information. These consultants might also help a company create programs or codes to help improve a company's data security measures.
National average salary: $102,050 per year
Primary duties: Forensic engineers apply scientific methods to determine the causes of an information system failure. Analyzing the specific elements that contributed to a system's or device's failure can help a company improve its processes. They also report findings that allow a company to analyze and apply improvement measures to enhance customer experiences.
National average salary: $113,141 per year
Primary duties: Application security engineers collaborate with software developers to ensure that each stage of a software development life cycle aligns with security best practices. They also help test a company's software to certify operation and security before releasing the software to consumers. Application security engineers also help software developers anticipate and mitigate potential application risks to enhance customer experiences with an application.
National average salary: $113,372 per year
Primary duties: A chief information security officer (CIO) is responsible for evaluating and creating a company's information security strategies. They oversee all information technology operations within a company to certify alignment with security best practices. A CIO also supervises the development of a company's software or applications to ensure they meet customer expectations while maintaining optimal security measures.
National average salary: $113,474 per year
Primary duties: Senior system engineers support a company's information systems that directly contribute to core organizational functions. They accomplish this by creating network and system operation strategies and developing system engineer teams to oversee a system's operations and security. These engineers also help identify, communicate and resolve any IT system obstacles to ensure data security and maximize IT system investments.
Read more: Learn About Being a Systems Engineer