Information Technology

How to Become an IT Auditor

How to Become an IT Auditor
An IT auditor is responsible for assessing a company's technology infrastructure, hardware, and software to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement. Image from Unsplash
Kayla Matthews profile
Kayla Matthews March 22, 2023

IT auditors check information technology setups and maintenance to ensure networks and computer systems are secure and efficient. IT auditing is a well-paying job with room for growth.

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In these tech-centric times, most organizations are fundamentally dependent on the work of information technology teams. In any given industry, IT departments handle a variety of tasks, ranging from setting up computers to maintaining network security. If you have a mind for details and a knowledge of what makes computers tick, you could have a future as an IT auditor.

So, how do you become an IT auditor? This article explores that question by discussing:

  • What does an IT auditor do?
  • IT auditor skills
  • IT auditor education requirements
  • Where do IT auditors work?
  • How much do IT auditors make?
  • Why the world needs capable IT auditors
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What does an IT auditor do?

IT auditors are responsible for assessing a company’s technology infrastructure, hardware, and software. They identify strengths as well as areas for improvement. A client might call upon an IT auditor to troubleshoot known issues and to determine the most appropriate ways to fix them based on the company’s resources.

Besides checking a company’s current system for functionality, an IT auditor might design new systems to meet present or anticipated needs. In such cases, the IT auditor would configure new setups and verify their functionality.

IT auditors must also collaborate with cyber security teams. Together, IT auditors and cyber security professionals look for vulnerabilities and keep their networks protected. If a company does not already have processes in place for internal audits and reporting, the organization’s IT auditor will typically take a lead role in creating them.

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“I’m Interested in Information Technology!”

I.T. encompasses a vast spectrum of systems and applications. They include common networks most of us use every day, such as telephone and point-of-sale systems. At the other end of the spectrum are comparatively obscure, poorly understood systems like blockchain, used in cryptocurrencies and other transactions. In between lie background systems such as databases and inventory management, crucial to businesses, corporations, and government agencies. (source)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the computer and information technology job market should grow by 15 percent between 2021 and 2031, creating more than 682,000 new jobs. Earning a Master of Science in Information Technology builds skill sets in critical areas that include cloud computing, algorithms, big data, business intelligence, cybersecurity, data science, machine learning, and IT management, among others. (source)

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IT auditor skills

IT auditors must have solid technical and networking skills because they must navigate varied tech infrastructures. They must engage in continual education — even after entering the workforce — because the world of IT changes frequently.

They also need robust communication skills. IT auditors frequently translate technical jargon into language that non-tech stakeholders can understand. This is particularly important for developing and implementing network security policies. The best security system in the world is no good if users don’t know how to implement it. Making sure they do is an IT auditor’s job.

Ideally, you should also be highly self-motivated; you should operate well without constant supervision. Clients might hire you on a contract basis for a short period of time. They will expect you to come into their pre-existing environment to meet defined needs. To perform your job effectively, you will need to have a flexible mindset and a task-oriented nature.

IT auditor education requirements

Success in this field generally requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Degrees in computer information systems or information technology are best but not mandatory. Previous IT experience will probably be necessary to land your first auditing job.

If you have your sights set on master’s-level education, consider a cyber security master’s degree. Some programs in computer systems auditing cover cyber security.

Whether you have a bachelor’s or a master’s, you’ll likely need at least one certification. This will require registering for an exam and passing it, then maintaining your certification by acquiring certified professional education (CPE) hours.

The ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a globally recognized certification requiring at least five years of professional experience. The GIAC Systems and Network Auditor certification offers another option. It has no prerequisites.

Where do IT auditors work?

IT auditors can choose from virtually endless employment opportunities many areas of business. Recent job postings for the role show openings across the United States at companies including Goldman Sachs, Dropbox, Devcare Solutions, Johnson & Johnson, JCPenney, Liberty Mutual, and Ford Motor Company.

You will also find plenty of opportunities to work as a consultant contractor. Most of these will be short-term positions, which may require frequent travel. If a company has an online presence, it may be open to hiring a full-time or consultant IT auditor.

Another indicator that a company may be interested in hiring an IT auditor? If they allow employees to use internet-connected tools for their roles or have a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. Several years ago, ISACA launched programs for IT auditors that encompassed BYOD policies and other in-demand topics for IT auditors.

How much do IT auditors make?

Glassdoor indicates the average salary for experienced IT auditors is $80,000 per year. The median entry-level salary is $56,000 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.

If you possess an IT auditor certification, have an above-average level of training, or have gained experience through a previous job or internship, your earning potential) should improve.

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Why the world needs capable IT auditors

When companies fail to properly set up and maintain their information technology, the resulting issues can be time-consuming and costly. As an IT auditor, you will have the experience and authority to thoroughly check systems and make recommendations to avoid many of these problems.

Your own career path may differ slightly from the information provided here. Even so, this guide should give you a good idea of what’s ahead should you choose to pursue this exciting career.

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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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