Identity and access management is a growing field that focuses on controlling access to data and systems throughout an enterprise. Although data is extremely valuable for organizations, it can also be very harmful if it falls into the wrong hands. Many data breaches occur because of unauthorized access that ultimately stems from mistakes that are made internally within a company. Therefore, IAM professionals focus on ensuring that data systems are made available only to individuals who need to have access.
The IAM field is growing rapidly, so there are a broad range of jobs that people who specialize in IAM can obtain after completing their education. Companies often define identity and access management roles in different ways, but people with IAM backgrounds are still generally preferred for these positions.
Additionally, some jobs require training in additional areas that go beyond IAM. Many professionals in the IAM space have substantial backgrounds in technology, so you may be able to get one of these jobs if you have additional training. Some of the most common jobs for IAM specialists are explained below.
Identity and Access Management Engineer
Identity and access management engineers are responsible for the technical aspects of implementing IAM best practices. In large organizations, IAM engineers often work under an individual who is designated as the organization’s IAM manager. IAM engineers usually fall under the data management organization in a large corporate environment. Smaller organizations, on the other hand, may hire IAM engineers to manage a wide range of access tasks, including system development, implementation, and configuration, IT administration, access provisioning, de-provisioning, and monitoring, registering new users, and other related tasks.
Requirements: IAM engineers should have a strong understanding of a wide range of programming languages, including C, C++, and Java. Most importantly, IAM engineers must be highly trained and experienced in role-based access control protocols. It can also be helpful for job seekers to have a strong general background in IT administration.
Median salary: $51,881
Data Solutions Specialist
Data solutions specialists assist organizations by supporting their decision-making with data solutions. In practice, data solutions specialists often help with KPIs, dashboards, analytics, and data-based processes. Some data solutions specialists are also responsible for reducing risk derived from unauthorized access.
Requirements: You should at least have a bachelor’s degree in computer science to qualify for the best data solutions jobs. Many employers are looking for candidates with at least three years of experience. Data solutions specialists have to work with a wide range of stakeholders, so job candidates should have strong interpersonal skills and leadership experience.
Median salary: $42,616
IT Security Administrator
IT security administrators are responsible for installing and managing the security solutions that an organization uses. Data management is only one part of an IT security administrator’s work since practitioners are responsible for securing data as it moves throughout a network and is used on end-user nodes. Other responsibilities include preventing the unauthorized deletion of data and troubleshooting problems that arise.
Requirements: You should ideally have a bachelor’s degree, but some employers are willing to consider people who have an associate’s degree and sufficient real-world experience. Many applicants have advanced training certificates, so you should work to accumulate plenty of additional credentials to remain competitive in the IT marketplace. Most importantly, you should have a strong overall understanding of computers, networks, and data systems.
Median salary: $71,321
Information Security Operations Manager
Information security operations managers are tasked with overseeing IAM staff members within an organization. A major part of an information security operations manager’s work involves managing the individual employees who work under them. However, the job is challenging because these managers are ultimately responsible for more security operations than they could possibly manage on their own. Delegation and effective organization are, thus, crucial tools that information security operations managers must know how to rely on.
Requirements: Having a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement. Some employers who hire for senior-level roles prefer a candidate with a master’s degree. Your educational background should be in both IAM and management.
Median salary: $83,332
Solutions architects are tasked with developing an application that is used by an organization. Since solutions architects are responsible for all aspects of developing an application, they need to have a strong background in application development, negotiation, management, and system security. IAM professionals are highly sought by employers looking to hire solutions architects because of their background in information security. If you are an IAM professional with a background in application development, solutions architect jobs can provide enormous opportunities for career development.
Requirements: Candidates should have a good balance of business and technical skills. You are likely to work directly with your company’s senior management team, so you should have strong interpersonal skills to explain technical matters in layman’s terms.
Median salary: $110,663
How Can New College Graduates Enter the IAM Job Market?
The best way to become an IAM professional is to major in a field that is relevant to IAM. However, many employers are only concerned about whether a potential candidate has an undergraduate degree. Therefore, you can transition to IAM by either going back to school to get a second degree in IAM or by obtaining relevant certifications on your own. To decide between getting a second degree or obtaining certifications, consider how closely your major and resume are related to IAM.
Ideal Majors for Entering the IAM Field?
In an ideal world, you should try to attend a university that offers undergraduate or graduate degrees in identity and access management. Otherwise, you should consider majoring in related fields, such as information technology, software engineering, or cybersecurity.
Getting an IAM Job
To increase your chances of getting an IAM job, you should consider taking several steps to stand out in the job market. Some of the actions you can take include:
Optimize your resume: If you plan to canvass employers with your resume to get a job, it is crucial that your resume is perfect. After spending more than 10,000 hours getting the skills necessary to perform as an IAM professional, putting in another 100 hours to perfect your resume makes sense.
Get an internship: Nothing shows you are serious about becoming an IAM professional more than taking on an internship in the field. Keep in mind that IAM is in a period of very rapid growth, so people who complete an IAM internship program are usually snapped up by employers very quickly. Additionally, the company that hires you for an IAM internship will hire you most of the time.
Become active on LinkedIn: In today’s job market, LinkedIn is a crucial tool for highly specialized professionals. Since demand is very high for IAM professionals, it is not uncommon for new graduates with IAM majors to get calls or messages from employers asking for an interview. When employers reach out to you, job offers usually come with much higher salaries and an elevated level of respect from senior management.
Network with IAM professionals: One of the fastest ways to get top jobs in IAM is to get to know professionals who are currently active in the field. Attend IAM industry events, join local cybersecurity groups, and attend cybersecurity or data-related open houses hosted by companies. More importantly, join Identity Management Institute (IMI) to get certified in IAM, follow IMI on LinkedIn, and join various LinkedIn groups.
Future Prospects for IAM Professionals
Demand for data systems is growing very rapidly. AWS, for instance, grew 34 percent in 2019. Rapid growth is projected to continue for well over a decade, and this growth will continue to cause demand for IAM professionals to greatly outstrip available supply.
Transitioning from Similar Backgrounds to IAM
If you are in another field and want to transition to a career in IAM, there are many options available. Some employers offer fast-track programs to move proven tech-related employees into IAM roles as quickly as possible. As with new graduates, you can also consider getting a second major or obtaining a certificate.
What Salary Can IAM Professionals Expect?
Overall, IAM analysts make an average of $79,870 per year. However, IAM jobs vary widely in terms of the scope of responsibility that is expected from practitioners. Some IAM-related jobs also require specialized skills that go beyond IAM itself, such as management, cybersecurity, or other specialized technical skills.
Jobs that require more specialization from candidates usually pay dramatically more than ordinary IAM jobs. However, some jobs can also pay on the lower end of the pay scale. Therefore, you should do your research before entering the job market to ensure that you seek out jobs that maximize your earning potential.
Highest-Paying Countries for IAM Professionals
Digitalization has introduced a global job market where professionals are increasingly able to work across international borders. In general, major tech nations, such as the U.S., Western Europe, GCC states, and highly developed Asian countries, have jobs that pay higher salaries. On the other hand, nations with limited development offer much lower salaries for IAM professionals.
IAM Salary Trends
IAM salaries have grown modestly in recent years as the tech field experienced explosive growth. These high salaries are projected to be maintained for decades as businesses continue to rely on advanced data systems to improve their efficiency.
How Important Is an IAM Certification?
Getting an IAM certification is very important if you do not have formal education in IAM or would like to improve your standing in a competitive job market. Overall, almost any professional can benefit from obtaining an IAM certification as it will demonstrate one’s commitment to the industry and increasing knowledge. Identity Management Institute offers the leading IAM certifications for every job in the identity and access management field.
The Future of IAM
The field of IAM is projected to continue offering high-paying careers for professionals in the long term. A wide range of IAM jobs will continue to be available in the future, including data solutions specialists, IAM engineering roles, and solutions architect positions. Therefore, majoring in IAM can provide you with the opportunity to earn a high salary while enjoying additional opportunities in the future to achieve career advancement.