Computer Science

How Much Money Does a Cyber Security Analyst Make?

How Much Money Does a Cyber Security Analyst Make?
With an ever-growing shortage of computer security professionals and the growing risk of cybercrime, companies are paying cyber security analysts top-dollar to protect their most sensitive data. Image from Death to the Stock Photo
Mairead Kelly profile
Mairead Kelly April 10, 2023

Cyber security analysts earn around $105,000 per year on average. Graduate degrees, certifications, and experience can all boost your income considerably.

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In its 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, (ISC)2 estimates the size of the the global cyber security workforce at 4.7 million. That’s a figure any cyber security professional seeking work should find encouraging.

The report includes another number that’s even more encouraging. It indicates that the current workforce is 3.4 million workers short. That’s over 3 million positions waiting to be filled by qualified cyber security experts (nearly half a million of them in North America alone).

Data breaches, hacks, and ransomware are facts of modern-day life. As an ever-increasing number of organizations recognize the growing need to protect their interests, the market for cyber security pros should continue its rapid growth. That means you should find plenty of job listings for IT managers, security engineers, security architects, security analysts, and others.

This article focuses on cyber security analysts. More specifically, it discusses how much cyber security analysts make. In it, we cover:

  • What is a cyber security analyst?
  • What degrees do you need to become a cyber security analyst?
  • The employment outlook for cyber security analysts
  • How much do cyber security analysts earn?
  • What impacts a cyber security analyst’s salary?
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What is a cyber security analyst?

Cyber security analysts (sometimes called information security analysts) protect digital files and information systems (IS) from unauthorized access, keeping intruders and hackers out of their organizations’ networks.

Their work involves discovering weaknesses in their organizations’ infrastructure across software, hardware, and networks, and finding creative ways to bolster security. They also provide managers direction on how to protect the organization, and they advise on safety measures, policies. They also provide training.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cyber security analysts’ key responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring networks for security breaches and investigating a violation when one occurs
  • Installing and using software, such as firewalls and data encryption programs, to protect sensitive information
  • Preparing reports that document security breaches and the extent of the damage they cause
  • Conducting penetration testing, or simulated attacks, to preempt vulnerabilities in their systems
  • Researching the latest information technology (IT) security trends
  • Developing security standards and best practices
  • Recommending security enhancements to management or senior IT staff
  • Helping company employees install or learn about new security products and procedures
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“I’M INTERESTED IN CYBER SECURITY!”

In its 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, (ISC) estimates the size of the the global cyber security workforce at 4.7 million. It also indicates that the current workforce is 3.4 million workers short. That’s over 3 million positions waiting to be filled by qualified cyber security experts (nearly half a million of them in North America alone). (source)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, top-paying employers in cyber security analytics include those in:

- Information services: $149,500
- Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial instruments: $142,000
- Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences: $129,000
- Scientific research and development services: $128,500
- Software publishers: $126,000
- Publishing: $125,700

The average salaries of professionals with a Master's degree are between $91,000 and $109,000, respectively. About half of all professionals in this field hold a graduate degree. (source)

University and Program Name Learn More

What degrees do you need to become a cyber security analyst?

Many degree paths lead to this relatively new profession. Typically, cyber security analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming, or a related area to begin work in the field.

According to the BLS, some employers may prefer applicants who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information systems or information technology, two degree tracks that include both business and computer-related training.

Any MBA can be helpful but you do have other options. Many current analysts start in more generalized IT roles, gaining IT experience and then making the transition. Others may seek out certification in areas ranging from general information systems security to systems auditing.

Common certifications for cyber security analysts include:

According to the (ISC)2 survey, 39 percent of cyber security professionals in 2022 had a bachelor’s degree but no graduate degree. Nearly half held graduate degrees, either a master’s (43 percent) or a doctorate (5 percent). About half all those degrees were in computer and information sciences. Engineering degrees accounted for about 20 percent, with the rest spread across business, communications, mathematics, economics, and biomedical sciences.

The employment outlook for cyber security analysts

According to Data USA, a project by the media lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Deloitte, 116,000 cyber security analysts were employed nationwide in 2022. As demand in the field increases, the BLS notes that the employment of cyber security analysts is projected to grow 35 percent and encompass a workforce of over 163,000 by 2030.

How much do cyber security analysts earn?

According to the BLS, cyber security analysts pulled in a median annual wage of $102,600 in 2021. DataUSA sets the figure at just under $105,000. Their information indicates a significant gender-based wage gap, with men earning an average income of $108,000, nearly $20,000 more annually than women in the field earn. That’s regrettable and hopefully the data can shame employers into rectifying the situation.

What impacts a cyber security analyst’s salary?

Besides gender (which we discussed above), several factors can impact a cyber security analyst’s salary. They include:

  • Employer
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Specialization
  • Location

Employer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, top-paying employers in cyber security analytics include those in:

  • Information services: $149,500
  • Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial instruments: $142,000
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences: $129,000
  • Scientific research and development services: $128,500
  • Software publishers: $126,000
  • Publishing: $125,700

Experience

As in most industries, cyber security analyst salaries increase based on years of experience. Here’s how PayScale breaks down the average annual salary for cyber security analysts as they garner more time in the field:

  • Entry-level: $61,647
  • Early career: $69,972
  • Mid-career: $87,708
  • Experienced: $100,397
  • Late career: $111,442

Education

Not every decision to head back to school can seem like a sound investment, especially for cyber security analysts, who can usually find work with a bachelor’s degree—and sometimes, even less.

But even in a field where candidates with non-traditional educational backgrounds are welcome, professionals who have a master’s degree or above are more likely to see significant salary increases.

According to PayScale, candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in cyber security or a similar field make an average salary of $69,000 per year. Those who have an MBA in information systems or information technology can expect average salaries of $91,000 and $109,000, respectively.

As previously noted, about half of all professionals in this field hold a graduate degree.

Specialization

As hacks and data breaches no longer affect only “the big firms” and the rise in cloud services allow databases to be accessible from virtually anywhere, hackers pose a threat to companies of all sizes.

Harvard University identifies the most in-demand cyber security skills as:

  • Application development security
  • Cloud security
  • Data security
  • Identify and access management (IAM)
  • Incident response
  • Risk management
  • Security compliance
  • Threat intelligence
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Location

The Bay Area may be a hot spot for cyber security analyst jobs, opportunities for employment in this field are available nationwide. So, where should you look?

According to the BLS, the highest cyber security salaries are dominated by another geographic region, the East Coast, with one state offering as much as $23,650 more than the occupation’s median national wage.

Here’s how they break down by average mean income:

  • California: $135,200
  • New York: $133,200
  • Maryland: $126,100
  • Iowa: $125,700
  • District of Columbia: $125,000

Questions or feedback? Email editor@noodle.com

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


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