Information Assurance Salary and Career Facts

Explore what it takes to become an information assurance professional. Learn more about education requirements, salary potential, and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Information Assurance Professionals Do?

Information assurance professionals safeguard digital materials for business or government entities. Using their knowledge of security and computers, they devise strategies to secure important documents for their employers through cryptography and authentication. They must also create fail safes and recovery points for computers in the event disaster does befall them and information is compromised, though their main job is to ensure that this does not happen to begin with.

The chart below outlines the education requirements, earning potential and job growth outlook for this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Computer Science, programming, or related field
Licensure Required Certification is helpful
Job Growth (2014-2024) 18% (all information security analysts)*
Median Salary (2015) $90,120 (all information security analysts)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is Information Assurance?

Businesses and organizations store sensitive and classified information in computers. An information assurance specialist is responsible for seeing that this information is not at risk of being manipulated or stolen. As an information assurance specialist, you would design systems that would limit the possibility of attacks on information systems, as well as develop systems for responding to and recovering from such attacks. Some of the ways that you would protect information is with cryptography, a system of concealing information through unreadable codes, and authentication, a system that keeps intruders out of networks.

What Education Do I Need?

Most jobs in information assurance require at least a bachelor's degree. You can enroll in a variety of degree programs to prepare you for this career. Bachelor's degree options are a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Information Systems, or Management Information Systems. These 4-year programs will teach you database management, computing, networking, systems analysis, and more. You will also receive training in computer labs where you can practice your technical skills.

If you want an education beyond a bachelor's degree you can enroll in a master's degree program in information assurance, which can lead to more advanced management positions. After you graduate, you might consider getting certified in an area of information assurance. One option is Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), which offers certifications such as the Certified ISO (information security officer) Specialist, Certified Intrusion Analyst, and GIAC Information Professional (www.giac.org).

Where Do Professionals Work?

A career in this field could lead you to a job at large and small businesses, government agencies, and more. Businesses depend on information assurance specialists to protect employee records and customer information. If you worked for a large corporation you might protect trade secrets and corporate documents. A job at a government agency might require you to protect information such as classified documents, veterans' records, or financial information.

What Kind of Salary Can I Expect to Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), information security analysts held over 88,000 jobs in the U.S. in 2015 (www.bls.gov). You could work in the computer systems design industry or for telecommunications companies. The BLS reports that the median annual salary of information security analysts in 2015 was $90,120 and noted that the field is growing much faster than average.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Database administrators organize and store an organization's electronic data, encrypting and securing it to prevent unauthorized access to files. Computer systems analysts study an organization's computer systems and how they are used, devising strategies to fix issues they find and suggesting changes to management to improve efficiency. Computer programmers write and edit computer code, creating software and other technology. These careers typically require a bachelor's degree in order to be employed.

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