Security Analyst Career and Salary

Security Analyst Career and Salary

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Security analysts, also called information security analysts, prevent cyberattacks on data and network systems. As part of security teams, they solve problems, predict hackers' moves, and help keep the public safe from cybercrime.

These professionals may launch their careers in information technology (IT). By completing a cybersecurity-related degree, bootcamp, or experience, they can transition into a security analytics job.

Information security professionals generally need at least a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity or a related field. Employers may also look for industry certifications and relevant work experience.

According to Payscale, the average security analyst with 20-plus years of experience earned more than $106,000 per year as of January 2022. Analysts who work in top-paying industries, earn advanced degrees, or serve in major metro areas may earn much more.

Read on to explore security analysts' salaries and job prospects in depth.

What Does a Security Analyst Do?

Information security analysts develop plans to protect data and computer information systems. They work as part of an IT or cybersecurity team to secure or recover valuable information. These professionals serve alongside cryptographers, penetration testers, and security engineers.

Depending on their work environment, analysts may focus on developing recovery plans. They may also design disaster prevention measures or restore IT functionality when a security breach occurs.

Many industries rely on cybersecurity professionals; Finance, healthcare, education, and e-commerce all need security analysts. The information services sector and the U.S. government are also major employers.

Analysts usually work full time in office settings. If a cyberattack occurs, they may work extra hours to address the emergency.

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How Much Does a Security Analyst Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $103,590 as of 2020. The top 10% of analysts earned above $163,300.

Factors like experience, education, industry, and location can influence how much an analyst makes. In general, experienced security analysts earn more than entry-level professionals. Professionals with graduate degrees often make more than those with four-year degrees.

Analysts in cybersecurity hotspots such as New York City and Washington, D.C. may earn more than their peers in other locations. Cybersecurity professionals in industries like e-commerce and information services may also earn higher-than-average salaries.

Cybersecurity Professional's Salary

$73,410

Average Annual Salary of Security Analysts, 2022

Source: Payscale

Security Analyst Salary by Experience

Experience matters when calculating an information security analyst's salary. Entry-level work can hone general skills and advance field-specific knowledge. From there, analysts can advance to specialized cybersecurity roles.

Employers value experience because it allows workers to put knowledge into practice. Real-world security analysis helps new professionals master important tools like operating systems, data networks, and scripting languages.

Cybersecurity never stops evolving. Experienced analysts can keep up with the latest developments through self-study, certifications, and continuing education.

Security Analyst Salary by Education

Experience and education go hand in hand. With more education, an analyst can climb higher on the career ladder and make more money. Along with traditional degrees, cybersecurity offers two other educational options: certifications and bootcamps.

Schools do not offer certifications. Instead, vendors and industry associations extend these credentials to applicants who pass the exams and meet other qualifications. The certified information systems security professional (CISSP), for example, calls for an exam plus five years of cybersecurity work experience.

Bootcamps offer an intensive, skills-focused path to a cybersecurity career. Prospective analysts who already hold a bachelor's degree in another field may benefit from a bootcamp.

An early-career analyst may pursue additional certificates or certifications. A midcareer cybersecurity professional may choose to earn a master's degree. In this industry, the most advanced degree, a doctorate, mostly serves prospective teachers and researchers.

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Security Analyst Salary by Location

A security analyst's location can affect their salary. Analysts in New York City, California's Silicon Valley, or Washington, D.C. often earn more than their colleagues in other locations.

New York City is home to global banks, commercial enterprises, a port authority, and the United Nations. Analysts in Silicon Valley might work for some of the world's largest technology companies like Apple. In Washington, D.C., cybersecurity professionals help protect the U.S. government from cyberthreats. The responsibility these jobs carry may affect the salaries they pay.

Other factors also determine how much a security analyst can make in a given location. Some high-paying locations also maintain an above-average cost of living. Major metropolitan areas often cost much more than mid-size cities or rural locations.

For example, Payscale reports that New York City's cost of living runs 129% higher than the U.S. average. Housing costs 369% more, utilities run 25% more, and groceries are 28% more. New York's median home price stands at more than $1.6 million, and median rent exceeds $5,000 per month.

Along with cost of living, analysts may consider personal reasons. Is living near relatives important, for instance? Or does the target location offer preferred recreational experiences?

Top-Paying Cities for Security Analysts, 2022
State Average Annual Salary Percent Above the National Average
Washington, DC $90,430 23.2%
New York, NY $81,530 11.1%
Dallas, TX $78,400 6.8%

Source: Payscale

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Security Analysts, 2020
Metropolitan Area Number of Security Analysts Employed Average Annual Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1,870 $147,160
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 2,590 $136,910
Idaho Falls, ID 210 $130,620
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 8,280 $130,000
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 160 $128,750

Source: BLS

Top-Paying States for Security Analysts, 2020
State Number of Security Analysts Employed Average Annual Salary
California 10,470 $125,990
New York 6,450 $125,920
New Jersey 4,000 $123,280
District of Columbia 1,810 $119,460
Virginia 16,160 $116,920

Source: BLS

Current Outlook for Security Analyst Jobs

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cybercrime will cost the global economy $10.5 trillion by 2025. As cybercrime grows, so will the need for information security experts.

Facing this threat requires companies and government agencies to staff their security teams with well-trained analysts. The BLS projects that the U.S. will add 47,100 new information security analyst jobs from 2020-2030. The projected growth for this role is 33%, which is much higher than the average career's 8% growth rate.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cybercrime will cost the global economy $10.5 trillion by 2025.

The industries projected to add security analyst jobs include data processing; security services; and food, pharmaceutical, chemical, and electronic manufacturing, according to the BLS. Power companies may reduce the number of security analysts on staff.

Overall, large cities with major corporations or government agencies offer more analyst jobs and higher pay. For example, Washington, D.C., New York, Dallas, and Boston are areas where security analysis is thriving.

Change in Projected Employment for Security Analysts

+33% from 2020-2030

Source: BLS

Best Locations for Security Analysts

Security analysts can find work in many locations across the country. Work locations can affect career options, families, and personal lives. So, selecting the right city or state matters.

Cybersecurity jobs tend to cluster in densely populated urban areas. These regions often host major corporations, financial institutions, hospitals, and public agencies.

Major cities offer many opportunities, but they can be expensive. Learn more below about the top states and metro areas for security analysts.

Top States

Employers across America need security analysts. With so many choices, what are the best states to serve in?

Consider factors such as salary, job opportunities, and cost of living. Also think about whether you prefer a rural or urban area and what location fits your lifestyle.

The states listed in the tables below offer more than top employment opportunities. They also provide different lifestyle options.

For instance, Utah's high mountain ranges may appeal to skiers and outdoor buffs. Florida might be the right choice for a surfer or beach lover. Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. offer access to global events and historic architecture.

Information security analysts should also consider the cost of living. A profitable salary can quickly lessen due to high housing, grocery, and transportation costs. Seattle, Washington, for example, runs 49% above the national average according to Payscale. Las Vegas, Nevada, however, runs just 3% higher than the average.

Professionals who command a strong salary and live in a low-cost area can enjoy more financial flexibility.

Top-Employing States for Security Analysts, 2020
Top-Employing States Number of Security Analysts Employed Average Annual Salary
Virginia 16,160 $116,920
Texas 13,410 $113,400
California 10,470 $125,990
Florida 7,600 $95,190
Maryland 7,090 $111,310

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Security Analysts, 2018-28

Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
State Percent Projected Change, 2018-28 Average Annual Openings
Utah 59.3% 80
District of Columbia 52.6% 220
Colorado 50.3% 510
Virginia 45.4% 1,930
Nevada 44.2% 70
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
State Percent Projected Change, 2018-28 Average Annual Openings
Virginia 45.4% 1,930
Texas 38.2% 1,040
New York 34.3% 830
Florida 44% 750
California 32.7% 630

Source: Projections Central

Top Metropolitan Areas

Certain cities or metropolitan regions may appeal particularly to security analysts. Factors like salary, demand, cost of living, and population characteristics change by location.

The list below reveals the U.S. metro locations with the most security analysts. Many of these areas also offer six-figure average salaries. However, they can be expensive places to live. For example, New York City's cost of living rises 129% above average. Washington, D.C.'s cost of living runs 39% higher than the national average according to Payscale.

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Security Analysts, 2020
Metropolitan Area Number of Security Analysts Employed Average Annual Salary
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 15,750 $117,920
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 8,280 $130,000
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 6,130 $117,480
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH 4,520 $109,220
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 4,370 $112,870

Source: BLS

Best Industries for Security Analysts

Industries of all kinds need security analysts. Computer systems design, management, and credit intermediation companies hire more of these professionals than any other industries. However, analysts working in electronic shopping, information services, and electronics manufacturing command the highest salaries.

Security analysts are essential to e-commerce. Online shopping sites provide a prime target for hackers. Since these sites store sensitive data, cybercriminals use various tools and techniques to find and exploit their weaknesses.

Hackers also target computer chip makers. They may inject faults into the hardware or deform the chips so they later leak information. Security analysts in this industry help protect technology companies and government agencies from these threats.

The insurance and credit industry store massive amounts of data in distributed settings. These industries provide cyberattackers with many vulnerable points of entry. These sectors need many skilled security analysts to help keep critical consumer information safe.

Top-Paying Industries for Security Analysts, 2020
Top-Paying Industries Number of Security Analysts Employed Average Annual Salary
Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses 330 $132,150
Other Information Services 680 $131,050
Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing 790 $128,330
Automotive Repair and Maintenance 40 $127,150
Legal Services 660 $125,980

Source: BLS

Employment by Industry for Security Analysts, 2020
Industries With Highest Employment Number of Security Analysts Employed Average Annual Salary
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 36,280 $108,910
Management of Companies and Enterprises 13,330 $104,960
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 10,880 $110,490
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 7,410 $110,440
Insurance Carriers 5,450 $103,230

Source: BLS

Upward Mobility for Security Analysts

Information security analysts can advance to positions as security engineers or security managers. While security analysts focus on cyber weaknesses, engineers construct cyber defenses.

A security engineer builds information security systems, including firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Security engineers may need a master's degree and CISSP certification. According to Payscale, security engineers earned an average annual salary of $95,760 as of January 2022.

Security managers lead teams of analysts and other cybersecurity personnel. These professionals may audit technology plans, conduct training, and manage testing platforms. As of January 2022, Payscale reports that security managers earned an average salary of $119,070 per year.

Analysts can also advance to chief information security officers. This position oversees all aspects of a company's security management. According to Payscale, these executives made an average annual salary of $166,570 as of January 2022.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Security Analyst Careers

What is the average salary of a security analyst just out of college?

Payscale reports that entry-level security analysts earned about $61,000 per year as of January 2022. This figure can vary based on other factors, like location and experience level. The average salary for a security analyst with auditing skills may exceed the average.

How much money does a security analyst make after several years?

Experience matters in cybersecurity. According to Payscale, information security analysts with more than 20 years of experience earn a salary 46% higher than the median wage for the profession. Entry-level analysts earn 17% less.

Where are the highest-paying security analyst jobs?

Densely populated metro areas with data-heavy institutions tend to offer the highest-paying security analyst jobs. According to the BLS, jobs in California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and the District of Columbia pay the highest mean wages.

Is being a security analyst stressful?

Many analysts find their careers rewarding, but security analysis can lead to alert fatigue and burnout. A 2019 Ponemon Institute survey revealed that more than 70% of security professionals say heavy workloads and constant on-call status are leading to burnout.

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