How to Become an Information Security Analyst: Salary, Skills, and More

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Information security analysts keep organizations' data safe. You can become one by getting a certification, building the right skills, or earning a related degree.

[Featured image] An information security analyst wearing black headphones and a patterned tank top works at a monitor with a printer to their right and colleagues in the background.

The twenty-first century has already seen significant information breaches at big companies in which sensitive data—like credit card numbers, passwords, and social security numbers of hundreds of millions of users—were compromised. Information security analysts work to protect organizations from similar threats, preventing data hacks and breaches.

Here’s what you need to know about becoming an information security analyst.

Information security analyst salary and job outlooks

Information security analysts received a median salary of C$73,396 in Canada as of April  2023. Additional compensation per year can range from around C$4,111 and may represent profit-sharing, commissions, or bonuses [1].

Job prospects in information security are expected to grow rapidly in the next decade. Demand data for similar positions in Canada shows the potential growth of security analyst positions in the near future. For example, Canada's demand for systems security analysts is expected to grow by over 50 per cent from 2019 to 2028 [2].

What does an information security analyst do?

An information security analyst protects an organization's computer networks, systems, and databases from cyber attacks and data breaches. 

An information security analyst’s job description might specifically include:

  • Detecting, monitoring, and mediating various aspects of security—including physical security, software security, and network security

  • Performing compliance control testing

  • Developing recommendations and training programs to minimize security risks in the company

  • Being aware of evolving threats in cybersecurity space by communicating with external sources

  • Collaborating with other teams and management within a company to implement best security practices

Information security analysts are needed in companies that keep sensitive data and information. This can include almost any field—business, governance, technology, finance, energy, etc.

Information security vs. cybersecurity

Information security is often confused or used interchangeably with cybersecurity because of its significant overlap. Cybersecurity, however, refers more broadly to preventing cyber attacks from unauthorized electronic sources.

Information security focuses on protecting the data and information of an organization, employees, or users, which can exist in physical and electronic forms. Information security also means ensuring data is accessible to those authorized to use it.


How to become an information security analyst

You can take several paths to becoming an information security analyst. Ultimately, you’ll need to have certain skills. These include: 

  • Computer security basics: This includes knowledge of firewalls, routers, and other security infrastructure, as well as an understanding of risk management frameworks. Some information security jobs might ask for ethical hacking or penetration testing experience.

  • Familiarity with privacy laws: Information security analyst positions can call for familiarity with data privacy laws in your region. Working in specific sectors, like health care or finance, might also call for an understanding of those sectors’ privacy laws.

  • Communication and teamwork: Knowing where and how security threats happen, and responding to them once they do, means you’ll be communicating frequently with your team and other players. 

You can build out these skills through the following means.

IT certifications: Earning a cybersecurity certification can give you a knowledge base in security issues, while also giving you the credentials to show employers your competency. Certifications in security or networks are a good place to start.

Degrees: Information security analyst positions typically call for at least a bachelor’s degree. The majority of employers look to ideally hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree or a two-year diploma in an appropriate field of study. Majoring in computer science or computer engineering can set you up to be a competitive job candidate for information security jobs upon graduation.

Don’t have a computer science degree? 

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, ensure you have relevant skills and look for entry-level positions that don’t require specific degrees. You can work your way up to being an analyst from there. With a few years of experience, hiring managers may waive degree requirements. Getting an entry-level IT certification may also give you the experience needed.


Get started in information security

Learn in-demand skills for a career in cybersecurity with the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate on Coursera. Gain hands-on experience handling risks, threats, and vulnerabilities with common industry tools, like Python, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools, and intrusion detection systems (IDS), all at your own pace.

Article sources


Glassdoor. “Salary: Information Security Analyst,,6_IN3_KO7,35.htm." Accessed April 24, 2023.

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