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Systems Security Analyst

Systems security analysts are computer specialists. They assess administrative, physical, and technical security risks to data, software, and hardware. They develop policies, procedures, and contingency plans. They strive to detect, prevent, or minimize the effects of security breaches and concerns.

  • Avg. Salary $87,074.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.70
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 19,600
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Computer Security Specialist, Computer Specialist, Cybersecurity Analyst / Specialist, Information Technology Specialist, IT Security Analyst, Risk and Compliance Specialist, Security Analyst, Systems Analyst, Technology Risk Analyst

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Systems Security Analysts (2171.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Information Systems Analysts and Consultants (C071) 
  • 2011 NOC: Information systems analysts and consultants (2171) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

12%
12%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Systems Security Analyst is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Systems Security Analysts
METHODICAL

Interest in precision working to implement and administer system security infrastructure and security tools, and in maintaining security practices and procedures

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing physical and technical security risks to data, software and hardware in order to develop policies and contingency plans that minimize the effects of security breaches

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise on systems security issues and on enhancing security tools, techniques and business practices; in enforcing security practices and procedures, and in addressing security problems such as computer viruses and unauthorized information access, modification or deletion

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Systems security analysts research, plan, design, co-ordinate, implement, and support security measures for information systems. Their duties include:

  • controlling access to data and working with privacy officers to protect private information (when and as required by law)
  • helping authorized users avoid action that might compromise data availability, integrity, or privacy
  • preventing hackers (people who are not supposed to have access) from disabling computers or seeing, modifying, or destroying data on servers and media
  • performing vulnerability testing, risk analyses, and security assessments of technology infrastructure
  • designing, implementing and maintaining security infrastructure within technical services (such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, VPN devices, authentication systems)
  • monitoring alerts and events and responding appropriately (as per defined security handling processes).

Duties vary depending on the employer and the sensitivity of the data. In general, systems security analysts:

  • develop plans to safeguard computer files and meet emergency data processing needs
  • co-ordinate the rollout of computer systems plans (with other people in the organization and outside vendors)
  • assist in meeting legislated information protection requirements (such as privacy requirements)
  • test systems and procedures to make sure security measures work
  • modify security files to change user permissions, correct errors, or install new software
  • consult with others (computer specialists and company personnel) about issues such as data access needs and programming changes
  • monitor the use of data and regulate access to keep it safe
  • write reports (to document computer security and emergency measures policies, procedures, and test results)
  • conduct compliance audits to make sure security standards and policies are followed
  • develop security awareness by providing orientation, educational programs, and ongoing communication
  • recommend security enhancements to management or senior IT staff
  • act as a security resource and representative for technical services in supporting digital security concerns (for new and existing business projects)
  • establish and update security procedures for responding to security alerts
  • research and recommend security paths and procedures for other technical services departments (to meet corporate security objectives)
  • maintain and update the corporate network admission control system (for wired and wireless access)
  • perform security audits and administer security documents.

Systems security analysts must keep up to date with new developments. To do this, they:

  • share information via email
  • use web-based resources that send out alerts about new threats (such as computer viruses)
  • attend technical training (such as courses and conferences)
  • read computer-related journals, magazines, and newsletters.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Most systems security analysts work standard office hours. They work in offices equipped with advanced information technology.

They may have to work overtime, such as in the event of a security breach. They may have to be on call. For instance, they may need to respond to emergencies or digital security alerts within their company.

They may experience high-stress situations in response to a security breach.

Analysts who work for consulting companies may have to travel.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Systems security analysts need to possess:

  • logical thinking
  • mental alertness while performing routine tasks
  • organizational skills
  • decisiveness, creativity, and flexibility (to meet security challenges and solve problems quickly)
  • the skills to study complex problems
  • speaking, listening, and writing skills
  • the ability to get along well with others (such as users, other computer specialists, and managers throughout the company)
  • a keen interest in keeping up to date with changes in technology
  • the ability to work under pressure and manage time well
  • the ability to work with little to no supervision
  • honesty and integrity.

They should enjoy:

  • studying information and solving problems
  • taking a step-by-step approach to precision tasks
  • consulting with others.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Most employers prefer to hire applicants who have a 4-year bachelor’s degree or a 2-year diploma in computer science or a related discipline. They also prefer applicants with several years’ experience. A security background check normally is required.

Systems and security threats are constantly changing. As a result, systems security analysts must continuously upgrade their knowledge.

In Alberta, there are many degree, diploma, and certificate programs related to computer science. These are offered by numerous universities, colleges, technical institutes, and private vocational schools.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Canford Institute of Technology

Evergreen College - Calgary

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

Robertson College - Calgary NW

Robertson College - Edmonton

University of Lethbridge

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Many systems security analysts become certified in a security designation. These can include:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Systems Manager (CISM)
  • Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
  • CompTIA Security.

They may also become certified in many other security designations (vendor-specific and vendor-neutral). To learn more about education and certification see Other Sources of Information.

Information Systems Professional

Information systems professionals investigate, analyze, design, develop or manage information systems based on computer and related technologies through the objective application of specialized knowledge and professional judgement.

Legislation

Information Systems Professional is a protected title under Alberta's Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act. This means that to call yourself an Information Systems Professional or use the I.S.P. designation, you must be a registered member of the Canadian Information Processing Society of Alberta (CIPS Alberta). You do not have to be registered if you do not call yourself an Information Systems Professional.

What You Need

The Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) has defined the body of knowledge required for certification and recognizes the many different ways this standard may be achieved. Applicants must provide documented evidence for 1 of the following I.S.P. designation criteria routes: (1) Established Academic, (2) IT Industry Leader, (3) Established IT Professional, (4) Education Plus Experience, (5) Exam, (6) Professional Experience Only (applicants must have entered the field prior to 1976), or (7) Upgrade from Candidate Status. For official, detailed information, visit the CIPS website, CIPS Alberta website or contact CIPS Alberta.

Working in Alberta

Information systems professionals who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered professionals in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Canadian Information Processing Society of Alberta
PO Box 21085
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6R 2V4
Phone Number: 780-431-9311
Toll-free phone number: 1-844-431-9311
Fax number: 780-413-0076
E-mail: alberta@cips.ca
Website: ab.cips.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Systems security analysts work for organizations that have an online presence (such as websites, FTP sites, and email services). They also work for consulting firms.

Many companies hire consulting firms to perform security functions. However, they still need in-house personnel to ensure that consulting agreements work as intended. Most in-house positions have a strong internal compliance component. This is related to auditing and privacy compliance.

In general, advancement takes the form of more duties. The best and brightest systems security analysts may become “sneakers” or “pen testers.” They identify security holes and flaws by cracking systems on purpose. They also perform penetration tests.

Systems security analysts are part of a larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2171: Information systems analysts and consultants. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the C071: Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 212 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Salaries for systems security analysts vary depending on their education, experience, and the duties they perform.

Information systems analysts and consultants

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.56 $48.59 $33.95 $34.65
Overall $23.68 $70.03 $43.70 $43.41
Top $29.34 $78.95 $52.30 $49.88

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Information, Culture, Recreation
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

36%
36%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

12%
12%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

9%
9%

Vacancy Rate

4%
Related High School Subjects
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Computing Science
    • Financial Management
    • Management and Marketing
    • Networking
  • Science
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) of Alberta website: www.cipsalberta.ca

Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) website: www.ictc-ctic.ca

International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc., (ISC)² website: www.isc2.org

International Systems Security Association (ISSA) website: www.issa.org

System Administration, Networking and Security Institute website: www.sans.org

Technology Alberta website: technologyalberta.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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