How to become an information security analyst: The degrees and skills you’ll need

August 08, 2023 · 5 min read · By ASU Online
If you’re just starting your career or you’re a seasoned professional looking to upskill, there’s an online degree that can help you advance your career as an information security analyst. Get the details on the job market for the role, the skills you’ll need to succeed, and the online bachelor’s and master’s degrees that’ll benefit you.

What does an information security analyst do?

Information security analysts plan, implement and upgrade systems to ensure appropriate security controls are in place for an organization's computer networks. From encrypting data transmissions to erecting firewalls, they work to conceal confidential information, especially as it’s being transferred. These professionals not only safeguard digital files but also protect companies’ electronic infrastructures.

Information security analysts must thoroughly grasp the risks and responses necessary to keep an organization safe from cyber threats. In this position, you’re responsible for providing cybersecurity solutions for your company, which may involve extensive research to develop secure strategies that help maximize productivity. Once you’re familiar with your company’s security needs, you may be involved in tasks such as:

  • Collecting feedback from users to assess needs and properly addressing them from a security perspective.
  • Developing security standards and best practices to share with colleagues.
  • Establishing safeguards for computer files against unauthorized modification, destruction or disclosure.
  • Implementing security principles that follow privacy policies.
  • Investigating violations and reporting the details of any breaches and the extent of the damages to key stakeholders.
  • Locating security threats, breaches or vulnerabilities through frequent monitoring of digital logs and computer traffic along with regular risk assessment.
  • Upgrading software to minimize risk.

In addition to reacting to threats, it’s important for an information security analyst to be prepared for incidents before they occur. This involves testing systems and running attack simulations to identify potential vulnerabilities in an organization’s operations before an outside source does. You’ll need to be informed of the latest research in IT security to recommend enhancements to keep existing systems well protected.


The skills you need to succeed in information security

The skillset for an information security analyst includes a combination of critical thinking skills and tactical operational skills to improve how organizations safely use technology.

  • Some of the common technical skills include learning the most commonly used IT languages such as Python, Java, Unix and SQL. It’s also helpful to master tools such as PowerShell and BASH that help facilitate various types of information security tasks.
  • Since you’ll be working on identifying and preventing security threats, having proficient problem solving skills will help you respond efficiently to these issues. 
  • You must also have strong communication skills and a team player attitude in order to work effectively with key stakeholders and teach team members at every level how to practice safe protocols.

Specific requirements may vary between each company but first earning an undergraduate degree can teach you how to use these skills interchangeably and prepare you for a career as an information security analyst.


Information security analyst salary and job outlook

Information security analysts are paid well and in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of an information security analysts is expected to grow 35% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average for all occupations. And the median annual salary for an information security analyst was $102,600 as of May 2021.


The online degrees that prepare you to be an information security analyst

An online degree focused on advancing technology skills in cybersecurity, networking and information systems can improve your technical expertise and knowledge of today’s cyber system infrastructure. Some of Arizona State University’s online degrees for a career in information security include:

This online IT degree is an interdisciplinary program that gives you the flexibility to choose between three areas of focus including cybersecurity, information systems and networking. Depending on your specialization, your courses may focus on cloud computing, computer architecture, data management, software development and more. You’ll also practice essential programming languages in your courses, including Python, Java, Unix and SQL.

You’ll learn how to design, build and maintain information systems that support business operations and managerial decision-making. This program’s curriculum focuses on using information technology to enable positive business outcomes. This includes developing more effective operational strategies and identifying opportunities to improve the customer's experience.

This program focuses specifically on securing, organizing and managing a business’s private information. You’ll be prepared to lead businesses in managing their digital assets, preventing cyberthreats and understanding privacy regulations. The curriculum includes courses in finance, statistics, calculus and analytics. Upon completing this program you’ll develop a deeper understanding of business data analysis, the principles of privacy and data forensics.

You’ll gain the technical skills to design and develop information systems that connect people, processes and technology. This program includes core courses such as Advanced Information Systems Security and specialized electives such as Developing Security Policy.

Additionally, this program can be completed as part of an Accelerated Master’s program in one year after completing the bachelor's in information technology.

Everything you need to know about ASU Online classes and degree programs

We’ve compiled what you need to know about online classes and degree programs at Arizona State University. Read on to learn all about what to expect from the ASU Online learning experience.


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