Information Security Analyst vs Cyber Security Analyst

An Information Security Analyst or Info Sec Analyst is not the same as a Cyber Security Analyst.

But, they do share a goal. To secure data and make sure it is safe. Both from malicious users. And from threats.

That aside, info sec is a wider field. And cyber security, a subset of it.

As a result, a few things that set these two kinds of analysts apart.

For one, cyber security analysts protect data from cyber space. So, not only the internet.

This means any kind of cybercrime. Like frauds, phishing and other threats.

Info sec analysts are different. They deal with all realms. And any form of threat.

For instance, one place they work is in a company. So here, they might set up tiers of network access. While a cyber security pro might scan social media for imposters.

Because of this, their job is distinct. And, means they protect info from any unauthorized user.

Also, from anyone who wants to access, modify or remove any part of this info.  While still keeping data confidential, integral and available.

 

What is an information security analyst?

A key goal of any info sec analyst is to protect company data. They often do this by taking security measures. And focus these on computer networks and systems.
 
But the number and frequency of cyber attacks is growing. As such, the scope of an info sec’s duties is also changing.
For instance, take their daily tasks. Now they do more than check for security breaches. They also craft recovery plans.
 
Also, new tools emerge all the time. So, an info sec analyst must stay in the know. And up on trends.
One thing this means is they must research a lot. And this means knowing not only what types of threats exist. But also, which methods work to stave them off.
 
As analysts, they also assess situations. For instance, by gaging risks. Or being able to spot weak areas in systems.
Yet other skills are technical. So, they must also know how to encrypt data. And, set up firewalls. 

Why Pursue A Career in Cyber Security?

There are a few reasons why it is a perfect time to pursue a career in info sec. For one, cyber attacks are on the rise.
There is also a gap of skilled pros. So, not enough people who know how to combat the problem.
 
As a result of this gap, there is high demand for workers. And this one thing makes InfoSec a fast growing field.
In fact, the BLS.gov now predicts 55% more jobs for info sec analysts by 2028. And that’s only in computer system design.
 
But even in other aspects of info sec, job prospects are positive. For instance, by 2028 about 32% more jobs are forecast.
 
Another desirable thing are salaries. And for info sec analysts, these range from 5 to 6 figures.
For instance, in 2018, info sec analysts earned a median annual wage of $98,350. But, the range goes higher. And up to $156,580.

 

Education Requirements for an Information Security Analyst

Most InfoSec Analysts enter the field with a bachelor’s degree. And it is usually in one of these fields.

  • Computer science
  • Information Assurance
  • Programming

That said, there are roles of all types. So employers may look for other things. Like experience.

Also, for manager roles, you may need a master’s degree. Or, an MBA in information systems.

Another way to prep yourself is with a tech certificate. These are test based and often help boost a resume.

Types of Cyber Security Degrees

You may find cyber security degrees at all levels. From associate and bachelor. To master’s and PhD.

Associates

These two year degrees may serve as starters. It’s a great way to dip your toe into cyber security. And see if the field suits you.

Some programs (AS / AA) are transfer degrees. This means the goal is for you to earn the credits. Then, use them towards a bachelor’s later.

Others (AAS) intend to prep you to pursue a career. So, they focus more on helping you gain job skills.

Bachelor’s

This is a four year college degree. So, dives deeper into info sec and areas within it.

Also, the goal is to prep you to pursue a range of entry jobs. As such, they cover a wider range of concepts. And, ways to apply them in real time.

Master’s

Many pursue a master’s in cyber security with a goal. For instance, to focus their career through niche classes. Like how to manage risk.

Or to prep for c-suite or other high-level positions. As such, many programs cover ways to lead. And may take from 18 months to 2 years.

PhD

A PhD is a research degree. It is also the highest award you may earn in cyber security.

As such, many who seek a PhD want to do two things. One is to teach. And, the other to publish their research.

So, PhD holders may be the ones who innovate in the field.

 

How to Get into Cyber Security With no Experience

There are a few ways to get into cyber security. We covered the degree part. But what if you have no degree or experience?

One way to get started may be to use military training. In fact, some military friendly schools may offer college credit for it.

Another is to look into cyber security scholarships. These may cover the costs of college or even a certification.

You might also take some community college classes. While you do this, you might want to work in a related field.

For instance, as a Computer Support Specialist . Or another starter job like Apple Genius.

What Skills Do You Need to Become an Information Security Analyst?

You may need two sets of skills to become an Info Sec Analyst. One set technical. The other, personality and job related. Here are three examples of each.

3 Tech Skills

  • Web development platform software
  • Network monitoring software
  • Operating system software

3 Job Skills

  • Complex problem solving
  • Quality control analysis
  • Decision making
Many of these skills are key to every day duties.

One way to validate these skills is through an industry credential. Or, certification.

These are shortcut resume boosts. So, here are a few to think about.

These certifications aren’t a guarantee. But they may enhance a resume. And thus help you stand out.

 

How to start a career as an Information Security Analyst

How Much Cyber Security Analysts Make

The BLS.gov compiles salary data for cyber security analysts.
Per May 2018 figures, the median annual wage for info sec analysts was $98,350. 
 
Of course, as an average, some people earned less. Others, more.
In this field, the lowest 10 % earned less than $56,750. And the highest 10 % earned more than $156,580.

 

Where to Find a Job

There are many places to look for info sec jobs. In 2018, for instance, Information security analysts held about 112,300 jobs. 

These jobs take place in many companies. But there are a few that stand out. So below you can look at the main employers. And, hopefully get a better feel.

Computer systems design and related services26%
Finance and insurance18
Management of companies and enterprises10
Information8
Administrative and support services6

That said, each state has different jobs. And opportunities.

 

States with highest InfoSec Analyst employment level

StateEmployment
Virginia14,180
Texas8,520
California7,830
New York6,930

Source

 

Similar Information Security Job Titles

There are many job titles for info sec analysts. So, when you scout for jobs, be flexible.

To give you an idea, here are a 6 of these titles. All sourced on O’Net.

  1. Data Security Administrator
  2. Information Security Officer
  3. IT Security Analyst)
  4. Network Security Analyst

Another thing that impacts job title is the level of the position. As an example, take Computer and Information Systems Managers.

These pros plan and direct computer activities in a company. So, may do less analysis. And more leading.

Top Paying States

StateEmploymentMean Salary
New York6,930$122,000
New Jersey3,480$121,600
DC1,660$118,080
Connecticut980$112,900
Virginia14,180$111,780

 

Top Paying Industries

Pharma is the highest paying industry for Cyber Security degree holders. That’s because their industry is most under attack. In fact, over 300 cyber-attacks occurred in pharma last year.

Electronics is the next highest paying industry. That’s because of its enormous customer base. So, it’s no surprise that 34% of phishing attacks hit their industry.

Third in the top highest paying trio, Legal Services. That is due to cyber crime. It causes major legal issues that only an expert can handle.

 

 

Professional Resources

Many professional agencies for info sec pros exist. So, to narrow it down, here are a few to think about.

Association for Computing Machinery

The ACM promotes computer professions as a science. And do this with honors like the Turing award. They also grant many prizes for those at the top of their profession.

CompTIA

There are two branches to CompTIA.

The first is membership. It grants access. For instance, to IT channel education and research. Also, it connects members with vendors and distributors.

Second are certifications. So, training programs that come with tests.

GMIS International

The GMIS is part of the of US gov’t. And for IT leaders works as a home for their data.

Members are thus able to share their metrics. Plus, they hold conferences and events.

So, it’s a place to network. They also grant awards and accreditation.

Digital Defense, Inc. (DDI) 

At Digital Defense, Inc. (DDI) they train students. And do this to measure security risk. They are also expert at security assessments.

SecurED® is their main service. It’s also an industry known training program.

Infosec Institute 

InfoSec Institute provides high quality training since 1998. The institute also offers a diverse lineup of relevant courses. And, the website is a solid source for cyber security data.

Johns Hopkins University

You’ve likely heard of JHU. As they have a history and reputation. Both as a world leader in research and teaching.

JHU also has many strengths too. Like in info sec which is the back bone of cyber security.

MIS Training Institute

Launched 1978, MIS specializes in a few things. For instance in audits. And in information security training.

They are also a global presence. So they maintain offices in the USA, UK, and Asia. As such, they’ve trained more than 200,000. across five continents.

EC-Council CCISO Program

CCISO Certification is also an industry-leader. And one that focuses on the highest level of skill sets.

For instance, they unite the main skills for c-suite positions. Like how to perform an audit. Also, how to work with laws and privacy.