IT security is a booming business. The number of security analysts employed reached a record high in 2016, and given the high possibility for under reporting in that labor category, the actual number could be much higher.
Just about anyone working in the information technology field will be asked about security or put in charge of some aspect of it by their employers. That is why it can be difficult to measure the growth. But U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics is trying.
The BLS’s monthly household survey asks a number of questions, including about employment. The job title “information security analyst” is one of the choices, and the only one specific to IT security in the survey. “BLS defines information security analysts as individuals who plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.”
Using data from the BLS, the Career Info Security reports that about 89,000 people held a position as an information security analyst in 2016. That was an increase of 27 percent from the previous year and more than double the number of positions reported in 2011.
While the increase is numerically significant, George Washington University Professor Diana Burley states that part of the increase is almost certainly due to reclassification of existing positions. The professor notes that the career is also attracting IT professionals in other positions, who are transitioning into security-specific roles.
A Money-Making Move
It can be a lucrative switch. A 2015 report from the BLS showed that the average salary for an information security analyst in that year was $93,250. Ten percent of the people employed in that category received a yearly salary of $143,770 or more.
The IT security issue has attracted the attention of a significant number of private sector firms and their boards of directors. A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers released in 2016 shows that over 2/3 of the companies surveyed said that their boards are very engaged in overseeing IT security and understanding the risks of cyberattacks.
Larry Clinton, CEO of the Internet Security Alliance, states that the field is growing rapidly. The problem, he told the website Career Info Security, is “on the supply side. We don’t have enough people to fill these jobs.“ The good news for those looking to enter the field or who are in the field is that there is little or no unemployment in that occupation category.