How to Become
an Information Security Analyst
Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications
With an increase in dependency on digital devices to process and store data, security threats are common. Potential employers recognize the need for professionals with extensive skills in cyber security. In our comprehensive guide, you can explore pathways to become an information security analyst.
This guide can tell you everything you need to know to become an information security analyst in 2021. Regardless of your level of experience, coding ability, or education, you can work in this lucrative field.
What Is an Information Security Analyst?
An information security analyst puts security measures to protect sensitive data from cyberattacks. They formulate innovative solutions that prevent outsiders from gaining access to important information.
Information security analysts have strong analytical skills. They mine data to find the best solutions for specific clients. Given the rise in technology, information security analysts must be on top of emerging security systems and cyberattack methods.
What Does an Information Security Analyst Do?
Information security analysts are responsible for monitoring, preventing, and stopping attacks on private data. They implement software to protect the data and network infrastructures of businesses.
Below are some of the top responsibilities of information security analysts.
As an information security analyst, you must be aware of impending danger. You will constantly test security policies, protocols, and policies to ensure no one can access your data. This means you must improve network and server efficiency to avoid slip-ups.
Plan Defense Tactics
It is your job as an information security analyst to identify threats and implement measures to stop them. As part of defense planning, you can train users on security measures, monitor data access, and even create plans for emergency use.
It is part of your job to find weaknesses that cyber attackers may use against your organization. To establish the vulnerability of the company you work for, you must read through computer virus reports regularly. This will help you determine what you need to boost your security.
Report and Research
You may need to compile various reports on network system safety. These are crucial reports that help inform the best measures to use in case of security issues. You should also have research skills to stay up-to-date with current practices.
Information Security Analyst Education Pathways
If you want to learn information security, you should consider the paths below. There are degree programs, bootcamps, and courses available to help you start your tech career.
Information Security Analyst Degrees
The most popular information security analyst degree is a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Some institutions have degrees in programming and information technology, which serve as standard alternatives. The average duration to complete the degree program is four years.
If you want to take your career to the next level, you should look into earning a master’s degree. You can sign up for a master’s degree program in cyber security or a similar topic. It will give you even more training that you can use in the field. A master’s degree will help you gain a competitive advantage as opposed to earning a bachelor’s degree alone.
Information Security Analyst Bootcamps
The best way to get a headstart in your career is by enrolling in a bootcamp. Bootcamps specialize in training students who want to learn tech skills without any filler content. The best information security bootcamps will teach you both basic and advanced topics. You can also study cyber security.
Information Security Analyst Courses
This is a popular option among working professionals in information security. You can take a course from a massive open online course (MOOC) provider to fast-track your career in ethical hacking. These courses are gaining popularity due to the flexibility and affordability they provide.
Top MOOC providers in information security analyst courses are Simplilearn and Udemy. The courses will help you learn the basics of cyber security and launch your career as an information security analyst.
How to Become an Information Security Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are lots of ways to start your career as an information security analyst. You can enroll in a bootcamp, pursue a degree, or learn on your own. No matter what path you choose, you should follow the steps below to become an information security analyst.
Enroll in a bachelor’s degree program
Most information security job opportunities require a bachelor’s degree. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in programming, computer science, or cyber security to qualify for such positions.
Get working experience
Getting a degree is just the start of your journey, and you should start working as soon as possible. Potential employers look at your experience level as part of the hiring process. You should consider getting into an internship program to spearhead your career.
This profession requires you to be constantly updating your cyber security knowledge. Hackers are continually coming up with new ways to bypass computer networks and systems. The best way to be ahead of the curve is by pursuing more than one certification. These also look good on your resume.
Pursue a master’s degree
A master’s program will cement the foundational knowledge you acquired from your bachelor’s. It is an excellent way to refine your cyber security skills and increase your chances of getting hired for an advanced position.
It is essential that you constantly work on your skills. Regular practice can help you become the best information security analyst possible. You can join online communities and participate in practice scenarios.
Top Information Security Analyst Skills
Having a degree in information might be enough to get you through the door of most tech companies. However, if you want to create a lasting impression on your potential employers, you need to show off your skills. Below are the hard skills you need to succeed as an information security analyst.
It is essential that you have good knowledge of scripting languages. You will need to learn C++ and Java, two important languages for security analysts. Good knowledge of coding will help you understand encoded cyber threats and rewrite software.
Your job description will require you to work on different applications and platforms. On a daily basis, you will run checks on multiple operating systems such as iOS, Windows, and Linux.
As an information security analyst, you will need to know how to block or prevent cyberattacks. You can sign up for a certification program to gain an in-depth understanding of cyber threats and network systems.
As part of your job, you will need extensive expertise with different networking systems. Your knowledge of these systems will help you determine how different elements can affect security.
Information Security Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), information security analysts earned a median salary of $103,590 in 2020. This means you will be making an average salary of $47.95 per hour. The BLS also states that the career prospects of these digital professionals are looking up and will increase over the next decade.
The BLS reports that there was an average of 131,000 information security analyst jobs in 2019. This number will increase by 31 percent by 2029. This increase in demand will also stimulate growth in wages. Banks, tech companies, and other corporations all need information security analysts.
Entry-Level Information Security Analyst Job Requirements
According to ZipRecruiter, an information security analyst salary can range from $45,500 to $150,000. The average pay of an entry-level practitioner is about $44,500. This figure can easily increase depending on your skills, location, level of education, and experience.
How to Prepare for Your Information Security Analyst Job Interview
You can successfully pass any interview with extensive preparation. You can have lots of experience, but you still need to prepare for your interview. Use these tech interview questions to practice and get ready for your next job interview.
Information Security Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are your career goals?
- What is your relevant experience in information security?
- What is residual risk?
- How would you secure our network?
- How do you secure a company’s devices if they are in public?
- Why is security important?
Information Security Analyst Certifications
You can find plenty of information security certifications to help you prove your skills. Hiring companies want to see certifications because they are a representation of the skills you have. Along with your unique abilities and experiences, getting certified will help you get noticed. Read on to find out the best certifications for an information security analyst.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional
The CISSP certification is the gold standard for information security analysts. You will receive extensive training in information security. This program will cover IT security design, architecture, management, and controls. If you have this certification, you will have an easy time during your job search.
CompTIA Security+ Certified Information Security Manager
This is the most basic certification you will need to launch your career as an information security analyst. The certification validates that you possess basic knowledge of risk management and network security.
Certified Ethical Hacker Certification
This certification will help you learn how to become an ethical hacker. You will cover all the logistics and strategies hackers rely on for data breaches. It’s a great certification to prove your in-depth understanding of the mind of a hacker.
Certified Information Systems Auditor
A CISA certification is an excellent certification to prove your extensive knowledge in governance and control of IT. This certification test covers development, testing, and implementation of security systems.
How Long Does it Take to Become an Information Security Analyst?
It will take you approximately four months to become an information security analyst if you choose to attend a bootcamp. However, the time frame is subject to change depending on your education path. A bachelor’s degree will take you four years, whereas a MOOC course will only take you a couple of days.
It is advisable that you get certified to increase your chances of employment. This may take you longer than four months, but the rewards will follow you throughout your tech career. You can also get certified once you’re already in the field.
Why You Should Become an Information Security Analyst in 2021
You should become an information security analyst in 2021 because more technology leads to more security issues. According to LinkedIn, there are over 4,000 information security analyst jobs in the US. If you acquire great cyber security skills in 2021, you will have an easy time during your job search.
You can work in any informational technology sector as an information security analyst. The job position can land you a job in a financial institution, a company, or any business. You can also choose to become a freelancer and work on your own terms. Becoming an information security analyst in 2021 will keep you ahead of the technology curve.
Information Security Analyst FAQ
Yes, an information security analyst job is a good career. An entry-level job can help you get started and climb the ladder. The job position requires a bachelor’s degree but can be supplemented by a certificate to increase job prospects.
As much as most employers look for excellent technical skills, soft skills are also important. You need to demonstrate analytical and problem-solving skills for a job position in cyber security. You may also need to display collaboration and writing skills.
On average, information security analysts work for 40 hours each week. You may find yourself working weekends or evenings to meet work deadlines. However, you do not need to work extensively if you practice proper time management.
If you want a career as an information security analyst, you will need to go to school first. The job position requires technical knowledge that you can get from bootcamps, MOOCs, or university programs.