By: U.S. News University Connection
Launching a rewarding, high-paying career in post-military life may not be difficult for those with computer skills or a desire to obtain them. The information security analyst field is growing in leaps and bounds, providing professionals an opportunity for a salary that's well above average in a job that demands intelligence, foresight and strong critical thinking skills.
A Day in the Life
Information security analysts are charged with protecting organizations' computer systems and networks from cyber-attacks. As these attacks become more sophisticated and frequent, the need for analysts to thwart cyber-criminals while safeguarding organizational data is rising.
Professionals in this field tend to work in office environments typically computer companies, consulting firms and other related businesses. Top employers in the field also include finance and insurance companies, information and management enterprises.
Duties of the JobTasks can vary based on post and responsibility level, but they tend to include:
- Monitoring an organization's networks for security breaches and investigating them should they occur
- Installing software, such as firewalls and encryption programs, to protect sensitive information
- Preparing reports that document breaches and analyze the damage done
- Conducting penetration testing meant to simulate attacks to uncover vulnerabilities that must be shored up
- Researching the latest technology and security trends
- Developing and executing security protocols
- Helping end users with security issues, including the installation of security software
Entering the Field
Entering this high-demand, ever-evolving field calls for a bachelor's degree in computer science at a minimum or in a related field such as programming. A Master's of Business Administration in information systems is very helpful for advancing as well as obtaining the Certified Information Systems Security Professional designation.
Skills for the JobA number of skills lend themselves to this particular field. They include:
- Analytical abilities: The job calls for studying computer systems and investigating problems to see if compromises have occurred.
- Attention to detail: Since cyber-attacks can be difficult to detect, this skill is critical for having the ability to notice even the smallest changes in network performance.
- Ingenuity: Having the ability to outthink cyberattackers to protect systems can be crucial.
- Problem-solving: Uncovering and solving flaws in defenses is a critical part of the job.
- The field is anticipated to grow at a 37% rate through 2022. (U.S. Department of Labor)
*This is significantly higher than the anticipated growth of all job fields, which comes in at 11%.
- Professionals in the field earned a median pay of $86,170 a year. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) *The median annual wage across all fields is only $34,750.
Since job availability, qualifications and salaries can vary based on location and employer, students are urged to conduct their own research before pursing this field.To learn more about other positions in the information technology field or find a specific job, check out theInformation Technology Job Description page here.