The job market is accelerating at a rocket pace for careers in the information security industry. In fact, the number of information security analysts is projected to rise by 28% through 2026.
This rate of growth is much faster than average employment growth in the United States. Not only are analysts in demand, but the pay is great as well.
Read on to learn more about a prospective career as an information assurance analyst. Explore this comprehensive guide on the occupation. We review a summary of job duties, education, and work environment.
What Is the Average Salary for an Information Assurance Analyst?
People are naturally attracted to high-paying jobs. A four-year college degree is an expensive investment. Students want assurances that the occupation pays well.
The fact is that information assurance analysts get paid well compared to their American peers. The median household income in 2016 was nearly $58,000.
As of May 2017, information security analysts earned a median wage of $95,510. This means an occupation in this field earns 65% more income than a typical American household.
Even more impressive, there’s plenty of room for growth. The top 10% of earners in this field earn over $153,000 per year. By choosing a career in the information security industry, you’re guaranteeing an above-average lifestyle.
What Are the Education Requirements?
The path to a career in information assurance is pretty straightforward. The vast majority of open positions require that you have a bachelor’s degree.
More specifically, employers are looking for a four-year degree in a computer-related field. These fields of study include software programming, computer science, or information assurance.
For those that want to get a leg up on the competition, pursuing a master’s degree is recommended. This will require an extra two years of study at an accredited college or university. The advanced degree of choice is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Systems.
Can Prior Work Experience Be Used as a Substitute for Education?
The answer to this question depends on the employer and their hiring requirements. Many employers do accept work experience in a related occupation as a substitute.
The related occupations that are widely accepted include computer systems or network administrators. Another possible substitution is prior work experience as a database administrator.
What Is the Job Outlook in This Field?
Finding a job in the information security industry should not be difficult. This is true if you meet the eligibility requirements. As alluded to in the introduction, the number of jobs will rise by 28% over the next eight years.
Demand is related to the high profile and frequency of cyber attacks in recent years. Major retailers like Target and even the federal government have fallen victim to mass hacking operations.
As a result, many businesses are hiring information security professionals. Over the next eight years, nearly 30,000 new jobs will get created in this field.
What Industries Are Hiring?
Businesses are responsible for handling personal and financial information. These business types need security analysts on the payroll.
First, this includes financial institutions that have individuals’ most sensitive information. These businesses are responsible for safekeeping credit card numbers. Also, these businesses protect bank routing and account information.
Another area where information assurance analysts are in demand is the medical field. Health care providers are increasingly turning to electronic record keeping.
This makes them a prime candidate for hackers. The medical industry needs to protect patients’ health care records and personal information. They’re turning to information security professionals for help.
The federal government is also hiring information assurance analysts. Foreign entities try to access sensitive information as well. Government security analysts get hired to safeguard it.
What Are Typical Job Duties?
Now that we have demonstrated what an appealing career field this is, it is time to discuss the job duties. The primary responsibility is to safeguard an organization’s critical information and data.
Job duties begin by monitoring for potential network or system breaches. If suspicious activity gets detected, analysts will launch an investigation.
When a security breach is confirmed, analysts take action by executing a recovery plan. This involves restoring the network and recovering data. This data is often stored in a separate location, such as cloud-based services.
The vast majority of job duties are to thwart potential hackers and data thieves from breaching in the first place. This involves installing data encryption programs and firewalls.
Analysts also look for vulnerabilities in the network or other computer systems. This is accomplished via penetration testing. The information assurance analyst performs this testing.
They’re also responsible for staying up to speed with the latest software developments in the Information Technology (IT) world. Software manufacturers frequently release patches and updates to eliminate bugs and vulnerabilities.
By staying current on IT developments, information assurance analysts can recommend enhancements to senior leadership. More advanced analysts may be tasked with the development of security standards. The company or organization will follow these standards in the future.
What Is the Work Environment?
In most cases. security analysts work in an office setting. They may also perform work in a computer lab setting. This occurs when conducting penetration testing.
This occupation may require travel as well. This is true if the organization has extra sites or network locations.
Because the bulk of job duties involve preventing a cyber attack, the work gets performed during regular business hours. However, analysts may be required to work on-call in the event of a cyber emergency.
A hacking can take place at any time of day. This means that information security professionals can be needed at a moment’s notice to execute a recovery plan.
Wrapping It Up
The number of high profile cyber attacks grows each year. This makes the occupation of information assurance analyst a critically important one.
The job field is appealing to students because of employment growth. There is also great earnings potential.