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Posted On: January 8, 2018 by Henry R. Steele

The following article discusses the career path of IT Security Specialist. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of IT Security Specialists.

Job Duties

IT security specialists are responsible for putting security measures in place to ensure that computer systems and networks of the organization are protected. Their role changes very often as there are more cyberattacks and more sophisticated methods of cybercrime.

These professionals also work on creating a disaster recovery plan for the organization. This is the procedure that all IT employees have to follow if there is an emergency of any kind. Doing so ensures that the department can continue to function at all times and does not experience downtime. This means that this plan includes being proactive and putting preventative measures in place, such as regularly backing up data and storing these backups off site, and also coming up with methods to restore the functioning of IT systems if there has been some sort of disaster. IT security specialists continuously test each of the steps listed in the plan to ensure that it is fit for purpose.

It is important that these specialists always keep their knowledge up to date. They must be familiar with the existing IT systems, but also with latest methods cybercriminals use in order to get into computer systems. Hence, they must learn about the latest security technology and determine which one is most suitable for their organization.

Other job duties of an IT security specialists include:

  • Monitoring the networks to avoid security breaches, and to determine what caused one if it did occur
  • Installing and deploying software such as data encryption and firewalls, and ensure they work to keep sensitive information safe
  • Creating reports on any security breaches, outlining the damage that has been caused
  • Performing penetration testing, whereby attacks are simulated to spot any vulnerabilities in the system that a cybercriminal could exploit
  • Keeping up to date with new IT security trends
  • Putting best practices in place for security standards in their organization
  • Determining whether security can be enhanced and reporting this to senior management
  • Helping users in the organization in getting to know the security procedures, policies, and products

Where We Work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 100,000 information security analysts in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals were:

  • Computer systems design and related services: 28%
  • Finance and insurance: 19%
  • Management of companies and enterprises: 9%
  • Information: 8%
  • Administrative and support services: 6%

How to Become

The majority of IT security specialists hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Work experience is usually preferred as well.

Education Requirements

An IT security specialist generally holds a bachelor’s degree in a field such as programming, information assurance, computer science, or a related subject. Sometimes, employers look for those who have a master in business administration (MBA) degree with an information systems concentration. This usually takes an additional two years of study and ensures students already have work experience and take more enhanced computer and business-related courses.

Work experience is very important. Usually, these specialists have spent a number of years working in IT departments as computer or network systems administrators. It is also recommended for IT security specialists to work in the field in which they want to specialize, such as databases or firewalls.

There are also a few certifications that an IT security specialist could choose to obtain. Some employers prefer to hire those who are certified, as it proves they have the necessary knowledge and experience required. The CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) is particularly popular, as are those that focus on specific areas of work such as systems auditing or penetration testing.

Traits & Qualities

The most effective IT security specialists have the following traits to some degree or other:

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Ingenuity
  • Excellent problem solving skills

Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

National Salary

The national average salary estimate for IT Security Specialist was $113,452. This number is estimated from over 2,103,024 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $59.09 and monthly of $9,454.

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$35,000

$234,000

Salary Distribution

Salary by State

The following section lists IT Security Specialist salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, Connecticut had the largest quoted salary of $132,911 while Maine had the smallest quoted salary of $55,159.

Alabama Kansas Nevada
Arkansas Kentucky New York
Arizona Louisiana Ohio
California Massachusetts Oklahoma
Colorado Maryland Oregon
Connecticut Maine Pennsylvania
DC Michigan South Carolina
Delaware Minnesota Tennessee
Florida Missouri Texas
Georgia North Carolina Utah
Hawaii Nebraska Virginia
Iowa New Hampshire Washington
Illinois New Jersey Wisconsin
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Alabama$94,867 Rank: 32nd
The average salary ranks 32nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders, World IT Solutions, and World IT Solutions LLC.

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$21,000

$221,000

Salary Distribution
Arkansas$65,805 Rank: 41st
The average salary ranks 41st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Arkansas Department Of Human Services.

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$14,000

$168,000

Salary Distribution
Arizona$97,367 Rank: 29th
The average salary ranks 29th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Ascendo Resources, State of Arizona, West-MEC, and Akraya Inc..

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$24,000

$220,000

Salary Distribution
California$123,323 Rank: 5th
The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like TEEMA Solutions Group Inc., Gina’s Tech Jobs, GinasTechJobs.com, and Motion Recruitment Partners Prod.

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$36,000

$261,000

Salary Distribution
Colorado$107,873 Rank: 20th
The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like University of Colorado, CyberCoders, SNI Technology, and Client of Roland & Associates.

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$31,000

$229,000

Salary Distribution
Connecticut$132,911 Rank: 1st
The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Experis, Sullivan and Cogliano, Global Channel Management, Inc., and Bryant Associates, Inc..

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$41,000

$275,000

Salary Distribution
DC$110,490 Rank: 16th
The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Hrd, ProVision, At-Tech, and Department of Energy.

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$34,000

$230,000

Salary Distribution
Delaware$124,243 Rank: 4th
The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like On-Board.

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$22,000

$313,000

Salary Distribution
Florida$105,085 Rank: 23rd
The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Alliance IT, CyberEpic, Gina’s Tech Jobs, and GinasTechJobs.com.

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$26,000

$236,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$100,334 Rank: 26th
The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like M9 Solutions, Recruit Tek LLC, North Star Staffing Solutions, and Cube Management.

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$35,000

$199,000

Salary Distribution
Hawaii$73,351 Rank: 39th
The average salary ranks 39th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Staffing Solutions of Hawaii, ACI Federal, Strategic Data Systems, and World IT Solutions.

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$27,000

$141,000

Salary Distribution
Iowa$96,905 Rank: 30th
The average salary ranks 30th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Technology, Palmer Group, and TEKsystems.

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$19,000

$233,000

Salary Distribution
Illinois$119,298 Rank: 8th
The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like GinasTechJobs.com, Gina’s Tech Jobs, Responsive Search, Inc., and Cube Management.

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$57,000

$204,000

Salary Distribution
Indiana$116,294 Rank: 10th
The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Cube Management, Robert Half Technology, and Liberty Mutual.

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$25,000

$275,000

Salary Distribution
Kansas$104,518 Rank: 24th
The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like World IT Solutions LLC, LaborMAX Staffing, and Career Brokers, Inc..

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$39,000

$201,000

Salary Distribution
Kentucky$110,102 Rank: 17th
The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like TEKsystems, Global Technology Associates, Amer Technology, Inc, and Solution Partners Inc..

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$33,000

$231,000

Salary Distribution
Louisiana$71,821 Rank: 40th
The average salary ranks 40th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders, Techead, World IT Solutions, and Apex Systems.

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$17,000

$164,000

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$114,147 Rank: 11th
The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Scadea Solutions Inc, Softnice, GinasTechJobs.com, and Selby Jennings.

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$39,000

$227,000

Salary Distribution
Maryland$119,560 Rank: 7th
The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CorTech, LLC, InfoAge Solutions Inc, Technocraft solutions LLc, and Horizon Technology Partners.

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$43,000

$233,000

Salary Distribution
Maine$55,159 Rank: 42nd
The average salary ranks 42nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Manpower.

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$14,000

$158,000

Salary Distribution
Michigan$112,105 Rank: 12th
The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like negociosit.com, VIMRO, Bryant Associates, Inc., and Executive Search Partners.

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$48,000

$202,000

Salary Distribution
Minnesota$111,464 Rank: 14th
The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Others, Minnesota Judicial Branch, Itech US, Inc., and TEKsystems.

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$29,000

$246,000

Salary Distribution
Missouri$106,136 Rank: 21st
The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Amdocs, Atlantic CommTech Corporation, Strategic Staffing Solutions, and World IT Solutions LLC.

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$33,000

$221,000

Salary Distribution
North Carolina$97,768 Rank: 27th
The average salary ranks 27th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like M9 Solutions, ACT-Consulting, CRG Workforce, and technocraft.

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$23,000

$224,000

Salary Distribution
Nebraska$95,016 Rank: 31st
The average salary ranks 31st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders.

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$29,000

$198,000

Salary Distribution
New Hampshire$108,643 Rank: 19th
The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders and Liberty Mutual.

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$26,000

$246,000

Salary Distribution
New Jersey$126,328 Rank: 3rd
The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like FI TechPro LLC, BOC Staffing Solutions, Gina’s Tech Jobs, and GinasTechJobs.com.

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$43,000

$253,000

Salary Distribution
New Mexico$94,794 Rank: 33rd
The average salary ranks 33rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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$17,000

$238,000

Salary Distribution
Nevada$94,195 Rank: 34th
The average salary ranks 34th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Frias Transportation Management, TEKsystems, and VISIONPRO.

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$21,000

$219,000

Salary Distribution
New York$123,106 Rank: 6th
The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Bryant Associates, Inc., WJT Client, Glocomms, and GinasTechJobs.com.

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$38,000

$255,000

Salary Distribution
Ohio$97,402 Rank: 28th
The average salary ranks 28th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Maganti IT Resources LLC, MAMSYS Consulting Services Ltd, Robert Half Technology, and Matchpoint Solutions.

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$24,000

$221,000

Salary Distribution
Oklahoma$77,529 Rank: 38th
The average salary ranks 38th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like GDH Consulting, Robert Half Technology, and Request Technology.

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$16.30

$74.90

Salary Distribution
Oregon$117,732 Rank: 9th
The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Oregon and CyberCoders.

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$28,000

$269,000

Salary Distribution
Pennsylvania$101,506 Rank: 25th
The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Computer Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), RBF Holdings, Corp., Brainhunter, and SecurityHeadhunter.com, Inc..

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$30,000

$215,000

Salary Distribution
South Carolina$93,979 Rank: 35th
The average salary ranks 35th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Chandra Technologies, Inc., USM Business Systems, GDKN Corp, and Ward ENG Support Services, INC..

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$22,000

$215,000

Salary Distribution
Tennessee$105,156 Rank: 22nd
The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like TEKsystems, Premier Staffing Partners, Johnson Service Group, Inc., and Zycron.

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$30,000

$223,000

Salary Distribution
Texas$111,565 Rank: 13th
The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like COMTEC INFORMATION SYSTEMS, Fortis Talent, Virtu tech consultant, and Energy Sourcing.

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$38,000

$221,000

Salary Distribution
Utah$92,749 Rank: 36th
The average salary ranks 36th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders.

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$25,000

$202,000

Salary Distribution
Virginia$111,087 Rank: 15th
The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like metadimensionsinc, Eng Solutions Inc., CRW Innovations, and Piper Companies.

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$38,000

$221,000

Salary Distribution
Washington$127,448 Rank: 2nd
The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Energy Northwest, U.S. Air Force, State of Washington, and Ravin Consultancy Service.

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$34,000

$278,000

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$109,802 Rank: 18th
The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like TEKsystems, Request Technology, and Saviance Technologies inc.

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$25,000

$255,000

Salary Distribution
West Virginia$77,670 Rank: 37th
The average salary ranks 37th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders.

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$24,000

$160,000

Salary Distribution

Top 20 National Employers

According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a IT Security Specialist. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.

Employer Name Location Average Salary

Learn More

Related Careers

Career Name Average Salary
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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