All digital businesses need to ensure their databases, networks, applications, and devices are secure by hiring a cyber security analyst. Cyber security experts can have a positive impact on businesses worldwide by keeping sensitive data safe.
This guide includes detailed information on the top cyber security positions, job outlook, the median salary you can expect, and essential skills you will need. Read below to learn how to become a cyber security analyst in 2021.
What Is a Cyber Security Analyst?
Cyber security analysts are tech professionals who create IT infrastructures to protect a company’s hardware, software, data, and networks from cyber threats. Professionals use cyber security technologies to identify potential threats and implement security measures to prevent them.
A cyber security analyst and their team play a vital role in every tech company. These professionals use analytical skills, ethical hacking, penetration testing, and cyber security operations to fulfill their job duties. Without cyber security analysts, companies wouldn’t have a strategy to protect sensitive data.
Cyber Security Analyst Job Description
The job description of analysts in the cyber security field entails understanding a company’s current network infrastructure, monitoring it, and determining potential vulnerabilities in the network. They protect every kind of system from malicious intent.
Ask the Expert
What advice would you give to people interested in a career in cybersecurity who are coming from non-technical backgrounds?
Find an area of security that interests you and specialize. Become the resident expert on privacy in the EU, personal health information data management or whatever strikes your fancy! Once you have an understanding of what this area encompasses, figure out why it matters to the business - that’s when you can provide the most value. I found that listening, problem solving and asking attentive questions opened a lot of doors. This isn’t a call to “work harder”, but instead cultivate an ability to work methodically and rigorously, plus an appetite to learn the nuts and bolts of the field. A logical, analytical mind is required as well as a commitment to staying current on vulnerabilities and best practices in a rapidly evolving industry.
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If a cyber security analyst notices a breach in the network security systems, they must report it and initiate a predetermined disaster recovery strategy. You will also have to generate security reports for stakeholders, evaluate security measures, maintain network security infrastructures, and stay ahead of industry trends.
Cyber Security Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t store data on cyber security analysts, we can refer to its report on information security analysts, because the jobs are very similar. The BLS indicates a 33 percent job growth for information security analysts between 2020 and 2030. This means there will be around 47,100 new jobs in that time.
The same data from the BLS confirms that information security analysts earn around $103,590 per year, which is $49.80 per hour. A cyber security analyst has an unusually high job demand and earning potential, which makes it a great career option.
Top Reasons to Become a Cyber Security Analyst in 2021
You should become a cyber security analyst because this job is in-demand, the pay is generous, and you’ll be helping people by preventing cyber crimes from occurring. Additionally, these professionals can often work from home.
- High job demand. Cyber security analysts are in high demand, which means you can rely on job security for the future. The digital world will only grow, and professions like cyber security analysis will expand with it.
- High earning potential. Cyber security analyst careers have a high earning potential. PayScale reports that the average salary for cyber security analysts is $76,623.
- Work that matters. As a cyber security analyst, you’ll be responsible for securing highly classified data. You will protect businesses against cyber attacks and ensure the data of millions of people is secure.
- Remote positions. Many cyber security analysts prefer to work from home on a contract basis and assist freelance clients. You can also land a full-time job while working remotely.
Cyber Security Analyst Job Requirements
If you want to work as a cyber security analyst, it’s crucial to have data analysis, artificial intelligence, and information technology management expertise. The cyber security skills you need may also include ethical hacking. These skills are requirements for cyber security analyst jobs.
- Data analysis. Cyber security analysts will apply data analysis skills to monitor web data and identify any potential security issues. Data analysis will then quickly reveal malicious web activity.
- Artificial intelligence. Professionals in cyber security use artificial intelligence to increase the efficacy of securing network infrastructures and conducting vulnerability testing.
- Information technology management. This skill covers a broad range of components that cyber security analysts have to monitor. Professionals must have the expertise to manage all systems, processes, software, and hardware a company relies on daily.
- Ethical hacking. Any cyber security role must know about ethical hacking. Cyber security job training will teach you that ethical hacking is when professionals hack a system with the owner’s permission to find vulnerabilities.
Types of Cyber Security Analyst Careers
You can choose what cyber security role is right for you depending on your passions and career goals. There are a wide array of possibilities, including cyber security consultant, security administrator, or security architect. Below is a breakdown of each of these cyber security analyst careers.
Cyber Security Consultant
A cyber security consultant will implement a vulnerability assessment to find system weaknesses, then voice suggestions to improve network security. You will also work to strengthen a company’s security by determining its cyber security policy. Many consultants first become cyber security engineers and work their way up.
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As a security administrator, you will help minimize threats by administering and troubleshooting a network infrastructure. Security administrators will also execute a security assessment and monitor web traffic for unusual activity.
A security architect’s role entails designing, building, and monitoring an organization’s network infrastructure. This job forces the professional to think from the perspective of a hacker to identify system weaknesses. Learning computer architecture is an important step for any cyber security job, but especially this one.
Cyber Security Analyst Meaning: What Does a Cyber Security Analyst Do?
Cyber security analysts have to stay updated on industry trends and technologies while monitoring websites. Professionals should be able to evaluate current systems and build new and improved ones. Below are descriptions of the standard duties of cyber security professionals.
Stays Ahead of Cyber Security Trends
When new trends or technology occur in the cyber security industry, cyber security analysts must be a few steps ahead. This enables the network infrastructure to remain protected against hackers because professionals can use the latest technology or create strategies around the latest hacking trends.
Improves Security Systems or Builds New Ones
After conducting a security assessment, a cyber security expert may suggest improvements or create a whole new system. Professionals take this course of action so companies can have adequate security measures.
Monitors Web and Network Traffic
For risk management, cyber security analysts must monitor web traffic to identify and act on malicious activity. Without doing this, cyber security professionals wouldn’t know when cyber attacks occur.
Essential Cyber Security Analyst Skills
The skills needed by cyber security analysts include incident management expertise, understanding of computer networks, and strong communication and documentation abilities. Let’s take a closer look at these skills to help you become a cyber security analyst.
If a threat turns into a successful cyber attack, cyber security analysts must know how to handle this incident. Professionals should know the disaster recovery procedure and help the organization recover from the cyber attack and minimize the fallout. They should also analyze the issue to prevent it from happening again.
Cyber security professionals regularly have to rely on computer networks, so these networks must be closely monitored. This requires technical skills in networking, such as knowing the IOS network model and basic cyber security network protocols.
Communication and Documentation
When a breach or threat occurs, cyber security analysts must document it and communicate the situation to stakeholders. Whether you’re in an entry-level role or senior position, effective communication is critical. In this case, soft skills are just as important as technical skills.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Cyber Security Analyst?
Without technical or cyber security experience, it can take up to four years to become a cyber security analyst. However, this can be shorter for professionals who have some preexisting experience or qualifications in cyber security.
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How long it takes you to become a cyber security analyst also depends on your learning pathway. You can opt for a four-year degree, a two-year degree, online courses that last a few months, or a cyber security bootcamp program.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Cyber Security Analyst?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you land an entry-level position in cyber security. You can gain practical experience at a coding bootcamp and hone your soft skills while learning the skills it takes to become a cyber security professional. Besides hands-on training, coding bootcamps also help students find a job after graduation with their career services teams.
Can I Become A Cyber Security Analyst From Home?
Yes, there are many online degrees and online coding bootcamps that can help you become a cyber security analyst from home. You can also work from home as a cyber security analyst as long as you have a computer and an Internet connection. There are opportunities to work for yourself as a freelancer, or you can join a company remotely.
How to Become a Cyber Security Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide
To break into the cyber security industry, you need to start by learning all the relevant skills. You can then proceed to put your skills to the test through hands-on projects or an apprenticeship. Finally, you might want to get certified so you can prove your skills to potential employers.
Step 1: Learn Cyber Security Expertise
Whether you attend online courses, a degree program, vocational school, or a coding bootcamp, you need to learn cyber security fundamentals. You can also find online resources that offer a series of courses for free, guides, and tutorials to help you self-study cyber security.
Step 2: Practice Cyber Security Skills
Before you gain job experience, you will need to practice your cyber security skills. You can do this by collaborating with fellow cyber security professionals, joining an apprenticeship program, and adding more projects to your portfolio. Having practical experience will maximize your employment chances.
Step 3: Gain Cyber Security Certification
If you chose a formal education path that offers an accredited degree or certificate, you might not have to worry about this step. Otherwise, you should gain cyber security certification to prove you can protect digital assets, configure defense systems, run vulnerability assessments, and conduct ethical hacking.
Best Schools and Education for a Cyber Security Analyst Career
Mastering cyber security takes a lot of work and commitment. You can choose to study at a bootcamp, vocational school, community college, or university. Below are explanations of the best learning pathways for a cyber security analyst career.
Cyber Security Analyst Bootcamps
The best cyber security bootcamps are ideal for students who want to learn cyber security skills in a short time. These bootcamps won’t teach you general tech skills but rather the expertise you need for cyber security. You can also expect to gain soft skills, practical experience, and valuable career guidance.
Vocational school combines cyber security theory and practice. These schools offer programs ranging from a few months to two years and primarily provide job training. You can quickly land entry-level job titles after graduating from these programs. These programs are more affordable and accessible than degrees.
A community college program focuses on a wide variety of cyber security practices while preparing you for a four-year degree. Community colleges are cheaper than four-year institutions, and they allow anybody with a high school diploma or equivalent to study. These learning facilities also provide career support and plenty of online studying options.
Cyber Security Analyst Degrees
Cyber security analyst bachelor’s degree programs take four years to complete. After graduation, you will be able to secure an in-demand role and a high annual salary. Completing a bachelor’s degree will also set you up to gain your master’s degree, which will help you land senior roles. These degree programs include a string of advanced cyber security courses.
The Most Important Cyber Security Analyst Certifications
If you want to become a cyber security analyst with many job opportunities, you will want to strongly consider earning a professional certification. These are the top three certifications for experienced and entry-level cyber security analysts.
If you want to know the basics of a cyber security role, this certification is for you. You don’t need qualifications to write this exam, but you should have experience working with network security for at least a few months. A few skills this certification evaluates are network operations, network infrastructures, and troubleshooting within a network.
This certification teaches cyber security analysts everything they need to think like a hacker. It covers information security laws, system vulnerabilities, and hacking technologies. Upon completion, you will know how to implement hacking techniques and protect the network. To gain this certification, you need prior qualifications and extensive experience in ethical hacking.
This certification provides foundational knowledge in cyber security and evaluates your skills in risk management, conducting vulnerability assessments, and cryptography. Students gain the relevant expertise to secure devices, networks, and applications. While there are no prerequisites, you should have at least two years of experience in network security.
How to Prepare for Your Cyber Security Analyst Job Interview
You will want to prepare for a cyber security analyst job interview by making sure you have the relevant skills and work experience for the position. Below are a few commonly asked cyber security interview questions for you to practice with so you can feel more confident.
Cyber Security Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are the steps you take to secure a device or network on public WiFi?
- If there’s a security breach in the network, what is your first response?
- Define phishing and how to handle it.
- What are the factors you apply to secure a network?
Should I Become a Cyber Security Analyst in 2021?
Yes, if you’re passionate about making a positive impact in the digital world, you should become a cyber security analyst. These professionals have pivotal roles in the cyber security field, their employment growth is high, and you’ll be protecting millions of clients’ data. It is a great career choice if you want to learn more than just basic security for networks.
Cyber Security Analyst FAQ
Yes, you can become a cyber security analyst without a degree. Most employers in the technology field will emphasize your abilities over your educational background. You can attend online courses, bootcamp programs, or vocational school to gain the skills you need.
Yes, it is challenging to become a cyber security analyst because of the wide range of complicated skills you need to learn. Professionals work with data analysis, artificial intelligence, and computer networks, which are all challenging skills to master.
If you have no experience but want to become a cyber security analyst, join a cyber security community and collaborate with professionals to create projects and build a portfolio. You should also gain entry-level certification, apply for apprenticeships or internships, and connect with cyber security networks on platforms like LinkedIn.
You can get certified in cyber security by passing an exam. There are many certifications available for entry-level professionals and experts. Common certifications include CompTIA Network+, CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker, and CompTIA Security+.
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