Security Analyst Career and Salary


Updated May 18, 2023

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Security analysts, or information security analysts, prevent cyberattacks on data and network systems. They solve problems, predict hackers' moves, and help prevent cybercrime.

Information security professionals generally need at least a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity or a related field. These professionals may first launch their careers in information technology (IT). Employers may also look for industry certifications and relevant work experience.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), information security analysts earn a median annual salary of $102,600, over double the national median salary. Analysts who work in top-paying industries, earn advanced degrees, or serve in major metro areas may earn much more.

What Does a Security Analyst Do?

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

Depending on their work environment, these 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, including finance, healthcare, education, and e-commerce. The information services sector and the U.S. government are also major employers.

Security analysts usually work full time in office settings. If a cyberattack occurs, they often work overtime to address the emergency.

How Much Does a Security Analyst Make?

According to the (BLS, information security analysts earned over $100,000 in median annual salary in 2021. Those working in the information sector earned nearly $130,000.

Experience, education, industry, and location can influence how much a security analyst makes. Professionals with graduate degrees or significant experience 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 information services may also earn higher salaries.

Average Annual Salary of Information Security Analysts, 2021
Source: BLS

Security Analyst Salary by Experience

Like all jobs, relevant experience can increase an information security analyst's salary. Entry-level professionals can hone general skills and advance field-specific knowledge. From there, security analysts can pursue industry certifications and specialized cybersecurity roles.

Employers value experience because it allows workers to put knowledge into practice. Real-world security analysis helps 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

With more education, a security analyst can pursue higher-paying jobs in the field. Along with traditional degrees, other educational options include cybersecurity certifications and bootcamps.

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. Those who already hold a bachelor's degree in another field or want additional training may benefit from a bootcamp.

Other options include earning a cybersecurity certificate or master's degree. In this industry, the most advanced degree, a doctorate, mostly serves prospective instructors and researchers.

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Security Analyst Salary by Location

A security analyst's location can affect their salary. Analysts in California's Silicon Valley, New York City, and 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 level of 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 areas also have an above-average cost of living. Living in a major metro area often costs much more than a mid-size city or rural location.

For example, Payscale reports that New York City's cost of living is 128% higher than the U.S. average; Housing costs 385% more, utilities run 3% more, and groceries are 35% more. New York's median home price is more than $2.1 million, and the median rent exceeds $6,000 per month.

Along with the cost of living, analysts may consider personal reasons. Is living near relatives important, for instance? Or does the location allow you to live the lifestyle you want?

Top-Paying Cities for Security Analysts, March 2023
City Average Annual Salary Percent Above the National Average
San Francisco $117,060 55%
Washington, DC $93,060 23%
New York, NY $85,700 14%

Source: Payscale

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Security Analysts, 2022
Metropolitan Area Number of Security Analysts Employed Annual Mean Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 3,860 $164,360
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 810 $152,640
Idaho Falls, ID 190 $147,720
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 10,270 $139,930
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 3,920 $139,740

Source: BLS

Top-Paying States for Security Analysts, 2022
State Number of Security Analysts Employed Annual Mean Salary
New York 7,260 $135,200
California 7,260 $133,210
Maryland 7,330 $126,110
New Hampshire 1,280 $125,650
Washington 2,130 $124,980

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 56,500 new information security analyst jobs from 2021-2031. The projected growth for this role is 35%, which is much higher than average.

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.

+35% from 2021-2031
Change in Projected Employment for Security Analysts
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 has less earning power in an area with high housing, grocery, and transportation costs. For example, Seattle, Washington, runs 50% above the national average, according to Payscale. Las Vegas, Nevada, however, runs just 1% 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, 2022
Top-Employing States Number of Security Analysts Employed Annual Mean Salary
Virginia 17,960 $131,340
California 15,110 $137,600
Texas 14,910 $115,570
Florida 10,830 $111,870
Maryland 9,070 $135,920

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Security Analysts, 2018-28
State Percent Projected Change, 2018-28 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
Virgin Islands 66.7% 10
Utah 59.4% 160
Arizona 53% 590
Florida 52% 1,080
North Carolina 51.1% 1,030
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
Virginia 36.8% 1,970
Ohio 2.3% 1,730
Texas 49.5% 1,720
Florida 52% 1,080
North Carolina 51.1% 1,030

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 vary 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 128% 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, 2022
Metropolitan Area Number of Security Analysts Employed Annual Mean Salary
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 17,150 $137,890
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 10,270 $139,930
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 6,430 $121,860
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 4,720 $136,450
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 4,280 $136,430

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 industry. However, analysts working in electronic shopping, information services, and electronics manufacturing earn the highest average 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 stores massive amounts of data in distributed settings. These industries provide cyber attackers 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, 2022
Top-Paying Industries Number of Security Analysts Employed Mean Annual Salary
Web Search Portals, Libraries, Archives, and Other Information Services 2,740 $165,110
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 360 $161,240
Social Advocacy Organizations 120 $152,450
Motion Picture and Video Industries 110 $151,380
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing 210 $143,770

Source: BLS

Employment by Industry for Security Analysts, 2022
Industries With Highest Employment Number of Security Analysts Employed Average Mean Salary
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 42,220 $122,430
Management of Companies and Enterprises 15,760 $ 117,520
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 12,170 $122,590
Other Information Services 10,040 $117,900
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 6,690 $136,810

Source: BLS

Upward Mobility for Security Analysts

Information security analysts can pursue advanced 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 $98,080 as of March 2023.

Security managers lead teams of analysts and other cybersecurity personnel. These professionals may audit technology plans, conduct training, and manage testing platforms. As of March 2023, Payscale reports that security managers earned an average salary of $122,522 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 $173,130 as of March 2023.

Learn More About Security Analysts

What Is a Security Analyst?

What Is a Security Analyst?

Explore the world of security analysis. This page details what security analysts do, how much they earn, and where they work. Learn how to advance in this career.

How to Become a Security Analyst

How to Become a Security Analyst

Find out the career paths you can take to become a security analyst. This page discusses required education, credentials, and job-hunting advice.

Day in the Life of a Security Analyst

Day in the Life of a Security Analyst

Discover a security analyst's daily responsibilities and tasks. This page also looks at what it takes to become a security analyst.

Certifications for Security Analysts

Certifications for Security Analysts

Professional certifications hold value in the cybersecurity world. Learn about what certifications can help you advance your career as a security analyst.

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 $75,500 per year as of March 2023. 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 40% 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, and Maryland pay the highest average 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 65% of security professionals say heavy workloads and constant on-call status are leading to burnout.

Page last reviewed on March 29, 2023

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