ITEEA The Elementary STEM Journal, Vol. 24, Issue 4
PublisherInternational Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Reston, VA
ReleasedMay 1, 2020
The Elementary STEM Journal, Volume 24, Issue 4 - May, 2020

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Career Connections - Information Security Analysts

Career Connections

109462648.jpgInformation Security Analysts 
by Virginia R. Jones, DTE 


The emerging STEM career of Ethical Hacker is also known as an Information Security Analyst. Their primary job is to plan and carry out security measures to ensure their company or organization is protected from outside threats to their networks and computer systems.

Ethical hacking became a career from companies’ desire to understand the threats and security issues that hackers could introduce into their computer systems to cause a shutdown or compromise the company's data, whether about the company itself or its customers. Hacking became prevalent as a “hidden danger” when computer systems automated many of the services companies offer. There are three generally recognized categories of hackers—white hat, gray hat, and black hat.

According to Tech Target (2020), the definition includes: “An ethical hacker, also referred to as a white hat hacker, is an information security expert who systematically attempts to penetrate a computer system, network, application, or other computing resource on behalf of its owners—and with their permission—to find security vulnerabilities that a malicious hacker could potentially exploit” (para 1). A white hat hacker is a “good” guy. This person has good intentions and follows all rules and regulations when checking out computer networks. This white hat person makes sure all regulations, rules, and laws are followed. An ethical hacker keeps a company ahead of threats and unwanted intrusions into their systems. This analyst uses a method called “pen tests” or penetration tests to break through the company’s firewalls and other methods of protection. These tests are routinely run to discover vulnerabilities or possible targets so that companies can develop protective measures—firewalls—to protect their sensitive data from outside threats. Ethical hackers often run “attacks” to understand where the possible weaknesses are and develop computer programs or countermeasures to protect against them. They are the first line of defense for most companies in protecting their systems.

image-250.pngInformation Security Analysts usually have at least an associates degree or a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. Hackers also need to have a strong background in computer programming, especially multiple computer languages. There are also industry-recognized credentials such as Certified Ethical Hacker. This credential was developed in 2003 and has become one of the leading credentials recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense (EC-council, 2020).

Ethical hacking careers will continue to grow and expand in their scope and operations. According to Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy Core Disciplinary Standards (ITEEA, 2020), the impacts, influences, and application and maintenance of technological products and systems are core criteria for defining technology and engineering STEM education.  


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2020). Occupational outlook handbook, Information security analysts. Retrieved from (2020). Retrieved from

EC-Council. (2020). Retrieved from

International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA). (2020). Standards for technological and engineering literacy: The role of technology and engineering in STEM education, Core disciplinary standards. Reston, VA: Author (in progress).


Virginia R. Jones, Ph.D., DTE, Dean of Student Success and Enrollment Services at Patrick Henry Community College, is co-field editor of The Elementary STEM Journal and ITEEA President-Elect. She can be reached at

Quick Facts: Security Analysts

2018 Median Pay

$98,350 per year/$47.28 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-Job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2018  112,300
Job Outlook, 2018-28 32% (much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2018-28 35,500