In a world with rapid globalization and interconnectivity through the internet, security is a growing concern for both personal computer users and large organizations. This means the need for information security experts to help protect user information is also growing exponentially.
A career in information security starts with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related major, which will take about four years to complete and will provide you with a well-rounded education in the computer and security field. As this field develops, many schools are beginning to offer information security-specific programs.
Employers sometimes prefer applicants that hold a master’s degree, which will take an additional two years after completing your undergraduate degree and allows for future career advancement.
Over the course of your education, it will be useful to pursue internships in the field. Having real-world experience will give you a leg up in the industry when you enter the workforce.
You’ll also want to consider receiving an information security certification, in addition to a degree. There are general certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Profession (CISSP), as well as more specific certifications in areas such as systems auditing and penetration testing.
Information security analysts are responsible for protecting computer networks from hacking and cyber attacks. Through testing, they determine a computer systems weaknesses and carry out a plan to improve an organization’s security. They’ll conduct penetration testing to see how difficult (or easy) it is to break through a networks defenses and then create a plan to improve any insecurities.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for an Information security analyst is $90,120, with some variation in salary depending on the specific department you work in. The field is also expected to grow by 18 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
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