Information security analysts are information technology (IT) professionals who are responsible for securing all data and communications that are stored and shared in network systems. In the financial industry, for example, information security analysts might continually upgrade firewalls that prohibit unwarranted access to sensitive business data and might perform vulnerability tests to assess the effectiveness of security measures. To become an information security analyst, it is essential that you earn an undergraduate degree in a field such as computer science or computer engineering, and it is a good idea to gain experience by working as an intern. In most programs, a person who would like to become an information security analyst is able to take courses that focus on issues of network and information security. Information security technology undergoes continual development, so professionals in this field also tend to engage in continual professional development by attending workshops, seminars and trade shows.
A person who would like to become an information security analyst usually can benefit from earning a graduate degree in a related field. Some employers might prefer that applicants have this credential, and others might state that it is mandatory. Aside from making you a more impressive job candidate, a graduate degree program also can enable you to network with like-minded professionals who might later become references and leads to new job openings.
Any person who would like to become an information security analyst also should work as an intern while in a college program. In most cases, interns receive academic credit for this kind of work. It also is common for internships to provide information that can be used in required research products. Many people who work as interns while in school find that they are qualified to take higher-level positions after graduation because they already have experience working in IT security contexts.
In most cases, a person who wants to become an information security analyst should plan to work for at least five years in information security. Individuals who act as analysts normally are considered to be experts in their fields. They report to chief information officers (CIOs), develop all information security plans and might oversee implementation.
An individual who wants to become an information security analyst should have a cover letter and résumé that explains his or her skills, qualifications and experiences. It is important in these documents to focus on experience in areas such as security policy creation, network penetration testing and compliance testing. In most cases, you should tailor these documents to meet the requirements of individual positions.