What is a realistic Cybersecurity Analyst Salary for an entry level position? One popular entry level role is to become a Cybersecurity Analyst. With little experience, a Cybersecurity analyst can help organizations across a wide variety of cyber activities ranging from developing policies and standards or assisting with vulnerability management. This sounds like the perfect entry level role, but how much does a Cybersecurity Analyst make? Let’s explore 5 secrets to a Cybersecurity Analyst Salary to help you negotiate.
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What is the Average Entry Level Cybersecurity Analyst Salary?
First, let’s define entry level. Across industries, it is widely recognized that 0 to 5 years of experience is considered entry level. While the range is rather wide, it is used as a general benchmark since many aspiring professionals have different backgrounds and a mixed skillset.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median entry level Cybersecurity Analyst salary or Information Security Analyst salary is $102,600 per year.
Many might be surprised by the high salary, but cybersecurity is very much in demand due to increasing cyber attacks, and is expected to grow another 35% over the next 10 years (much faster than other occupations). Although the median information security analyst salary is six figures, it is not guaranteed, and depends on many factors including your background and skillset.
Secret #1 – Years of Experience and Education Matter!
As with all jobs, your collective working experience does matter as it represents the skills you bring. According to Salary.com, most entry level Cyber Security Analysts with a Bachelor’s degree can expect a salary around $65,000 annually. The annual salary is also higher for those with more advanced degrees such as a Master’s or PhD.
If we assume an annual raise of 5% each year, here is what you can expect to earn in an entry level role as Cybersecurity Analyst or Information Security Analyst.
|Years of Experience||Cybersecurity Analyst Salary (USD)|
|0||$65,000 (Bachelor’s) / $68,000 (Master’s)|
|1 year||$68,250 / $71,400|
|2 years||$71,663 / $74,970|
|3 years||$75,246 / $78718|
|4 years||$79,007 / $82,654|
|5 years||$82,958 / $86,787|
Secret #2 – Certifications Are Key!
Many employers look for certifications to understand your knowledge in the cybersecurity industry. This credential demonstrates your commitment to learning as well as staying up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity topics. Today, almost all cybersecurity certifications require annual continuing professional education or CPEs to remain certified.
Let’s take a look at the average salary across the various cybersecurity certifications. Please keep in mind that this is independent of working experience. The experience requirement listed below is generally what is required to become certified, and also assumes the experience is relevant to the covered cybersecurity domains.
|Cybersecurity Certification||Experience Requirement||Annual Salary (USD)|
|CompTIA Security+||2 years||$115,170|
|Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)||2 years||$109,468|
|Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)||5 years||$154,186|
|Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)||5 years||$158,590|
|Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)||5 years||$140,654|
|Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)||3 years||$167,145|
|AWS Certified Security Specialty||5 years||$146,300|
Secret #3 – Industry and Location are Huge Factors!
Intuitively, a Cybersecurity Analyst salary is somewhat defined by the company you work for and what industry it is in. As you can imagine, it is simply a function of profit and revenue. For example, cybersecurity professionals generally make less in the Education and Government industries when compared to for profit companies like Financial Services, Technology, or Retail.
Also, it should not be a surprise that your pay is based on where you live or work. The cost of living varies dramatically across different countries, regions, or states. For example, the difference in salary from California to Rhode Island can be upwards of $30,000.
Secret #4 – Switch Companies and Get a 10%+ Raise!
Within the past ten years, it is not uncommon to encounter professionals that switch jobs every 2 years. The trend is expected to continue across technology roles with many companies competing for the same talent. As a result of a hot cybersecurity job market, salaries are often higher and provides flexibility for job seekers. After all, you’re not going to leave your existing company for the same compensation package.
If you’re looking for a boost in Cybersecurity Analyst salary, one option is to switch roles every 2 years. You can often expect to receive anywhere from a 10-25% increase depending on the role and your background. Just make sure you have a good story to tell during the interview process to explain the job moves.
Secret #5 – Research Salary Ranges, Know Your Value, and Remember to Negotiate!
Did the recruiter ask for your salary range? Remember to do your research ahead of time and be prepared to answer the most important question. The starting number or range you provide will set the tone for the negotiation. Don’t wait to arm yourself with the right data and understand what value you bring to the organization.
With the age of the Internet, you can find out many examples of a Cybersecurity Analyst salary across various companies. Treat what you find as a guide but factor in some wiggle room by providing a salary range that you feel comfortable with. Usually, I recommend starting with your bottom line and add 25% on top. For example, let’s say that you are looking for a minimum Cybersecurity Analyst salary of $100,000, you would provide a salary range of $100,000 to $125,000.
Aside from using Google to search for salary information, here are 2 useful tools to consider.
- levels.fyi: Levels is great because it is not behind a login or paywall making it easier to use. It has a lot of information providing accurate salary ranges for various roles organized by company.
- H1B Salary Database: If you’re not familiar with H1B, it is a visa in the U.S. that allows companies to employ foreign workers. As part of the regulation, employers are required to provide actual salary information and make it publicly available.
*Bonus Secret to Supercharge Your Career* – Stack Experience with Education and Certifications!
Early in your career, you have the choice to define a path and set your goals. One secret I’ve learned is how to accelerate the rapid growth of skills on the job, pursue an advanced degree, and also obtain cybersecurity certifications in parallel. The secret of stacking helps you build a strong cybersecurity foundation, which can propel you forward and lead to many opportunities. In turn, this will lead to a higher Cybersecurity Analyst salary.
This strategy is not for everyone and you have to stay disciplined. Time management will be the key to success and you may also have to make some sacrifices. With ambition and energy, your hard work will payoff over the course of your career and you will thank your younger self later.
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