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How to Become a Network Security Analyst

Network security analysts ensure that the digital assets of a company are protected from intrusion. This important role also involves conducting security assessments to check for potential vulnerabilities.

If you want to pursue a career in network security analysis, you are in the right place. The purpose of this guide is to teach you how to become a network security analyst. We’ll show you relevant courses and the different pathways to becoming a network security analyst. We also cover the roles and responsibilities of the experts in the field as well as their salary expectations.

What Is a Network Security Analyst?

Network security analysts ensure the safety of a company’s digital data by managing its computer and information security systems. They prevent data loss and any other service interruptions that may arise.

These experts in the security field analyze traffic to find anomalies and determine the best solutions to fix them. They also collaborate with other professionals as part of a large IT team. The main roles and responsibilities of these security professionals can vary depending on the size and type of company they work for.

Network Security Analyst Job Description

Network security analysts are responsible for implementing security measures to protect a company’s data, computers, and networks. They monitor networks and detect hostile or suspicious activities. They also take measures to defend against cyber attacks on company systems.

These experts deal with other security issues as well. Network security analysts conduct intrusion detection and network monitoring periodically to find out if the system has been breached. They also analyze the network traffic to check for anomalies and test systems for any potential weaknesses.

Network Security Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

Network security analysts are usually paid well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for network security analysts was $103,590 in 2020. This is a lot higher than the annual salary for all occupations.

The job outlook is also impressive as employment opportunities are projected to grow by 33 percent from 2020 to 2030. This employment growth is driven by the need for analysts to create innovative solutions and prevent hackers from causing problems or stealing critical data. Generally speaking, all cyber security careers will enjoy great demand in the upcoming years.

Top Reasons to Become a Network Security Analyst in 2021

There are several reasons to pursue a career in network security analysis. It is an interesting field that offers lots of opportunities for growth. Here are some other top reasons to become a network security analyst.

  • Diverse field. This cyber security field is diverse with many specializations and career tracks. As a network security analyst, you will develop a set of skills that can easily be applied to other roles in the industry. We take a look at some of these job titles below.
  • Continuous learning. This is a rapidly changing field that requires you to adapt to emerging security technologies. As such, you will always be learning new technologies and techniques.
  • High salary. Network security analysts are well paid due to their specialized skillset and the vital role they play in keeping companies safe.
  • Job security. Jobs opportunities for skilled network security analysts are abundant across many industries as companies rely more and more on the services of these experts.

Network Security Analyst Job Requirements

Most employers are looking for candidates with at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a computer-related field. They may also require on-the-job experience. We take a look at these and other common requirements in job listings for network security analysts.

  • College degree. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is often listed as a requirement. In addition, many companies prefer candidates with an advanced degree, such as a Master’s in Information Systems.
  • Practical experience. Experience in network security analysis or another area of cyber security may be required by some employers.
  • Technical skills. Candidates should be familiar and able to work with proxies, firewalls, security information and event management (SIEM) solutions, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), and antivirus software.
  • Teamwork. The role involves working with other members of the IT team, making it essential for these security professionals to collaborate with others.

Types of Network Security Analyst Careers

Your career prospects as a network security analyst are wide. The skills you would have developed on the job will allow you to take on other roles, including business systems analyst or cyber security analyst. These are other exciting job titles you could access with your skills:

Network Systems Administrator

Network systems administrators are responsible for overseeing the daily functions of an organization’s computer systems. They also work with other professionals to install new hardware and software and handle other IT needs as they arise. To become a network systems administrator, you need above-average analytical skills and critical thinking.

Ethical Hacker

Ethical hackers, also called penetration testers, assess an organization’s system security by testing it for weaknesses. The job also involves providing recommendations to update software and protocols. You should consider becoming an ethical hacker if you enjoy using your hacking skills to protect businesses and their assets.

Cyber Security Engineer

Cyber security engineers develop security systems and networks and regularly work with other professionals like consultants and architects. They also test and install development tools and troubleshoot problems. Becoming a cyber security engineer is not easy, but you should consider this career path if you have skills in malware analysis, risk analysis, and languages like Bash, C, C++, and Python.

Network Security Analyst Meaning: What Does a Network Security Analyst Do?

Network security analysts are part of an organization’s IT team and they design, implement and maintain information security and computer systems. Their job responsibilities vary from organization to organization, but below we take a look at the three most common ones.

Policy Development

Network security analysts maintain and design security policies that organizations put into effect. These professionals are also charged with training others in the organization on the best information security practices.

Network Vulnerability Scans

These experts perform network vulnerability scans to locate any weaknesses in the system. The job also involves providing assistance in resolving information security incidents. They also review user access to the networks and to the applications of the organization.

Review and Testing

The role also involves reviewing and testing as part of the incident response process. Network security analysts test information systems periodically to determine if they are working as intended.

Essential Network Security Analyst Skills

To work as a network security analyst, you’ll need a plethora of skills, from networking and security to communication and documenting incidents. However, the three we list below are particularly important if you are considering a career in the field.

Ethical Hacking

This technical skill is important because it helps expose and identify weak points in an organization’s system. Your ethical hacking prowess will allow you to protect information and computer systems from malicious hackers.

Analytical Thinking

These experts also need to be able to analyze the computer systems and networks regularly. This means they need strong attention to detail as well as analytical skills to be able to find weak points and come up with useful security measures to fix problems.

Network Security Management

Network security management skills are used to implement strategies that enhance the security of a computer system. Network security analysts should also be able to manage the testing process and respond appropriately to risks when they arise.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Network Security Analyst?

Becoming a network security analyst can take anywhere from a few months to six years. It all depends on the education route you choose. If you go down the academic route, you are looking at four years if you pursue a bachelor’s degree and an additional two if you go for a master’s.

There are shorter programs that give you the training you need to join the workforce faster. If you enroll in a coding bootcamp, you will likely complete your training in three to nine months and be ready to apply to entry-level roles. Coding bootcamps have a very intensive curriculum that covers key concepts and skills through a hands-on, practical learning approach.

Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Network Security Analyst?

Yes, a coding bootcamp is an efficient way of becoming a network security analyst. These programs are tailored to students looking to enter the competitive tech industry as well as career changers. Coding bootcamps come in a variety of formats to fit the needs of every student. Most bootcamp providers offer part-time, full-time, in-person, online, self-paced, and instructed-led courses.

The best cyber security bootcamps teach you the technical and soft skills you need to land a well-paying job in the field. The emphasis here is on practical in-demand skills to get you ready to join the workforce as soon as possible. In addition, coding bootcamps have reliable career assistance services to aid you during the job search and beyond.

Can I Become a Network Security Analyst from Home?

It is possible to become a network security analyst from home. You can enroll in a coding bootcamp remotely or take online courses. In addition, many universities nowadays offer online degrees in cyber security and related subjects.

How to Become a Network Security Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are several educational paths available that can help you become a network security analyst. You can enroll in coding bootcamp or get a college degree. This guide will focus on the academic path because many employers request job candidates to have a bachelor’s degree.

Step 1: Earn Your Degree

Most employers require candidates to have a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, or Software Engineering. An associate degree in any of these fields can also help you land an entry-level role and start a career in cyber security.

Step 2: Complete an Internship

While you may be able to find a job without a degree, landing a well-paying position without experience will be almost impossible. If you are a recent graduate, an internship can be the best way of getting the experience you need to enter the workforce as a full-time employee.

Step 3: Get Certified

Earning professional certification is a great way to stand out among your peers. It also shows that you are skilled in a particular field and willing to learn more to enhance your skillset and stay ahead of the curve.

Best Schools and Education for a Network Security Analyst Career

You have several schooling and training options at your disposal. You can become a network security analyst by earning a degree or attending a coding bootcamp. Below, we examine the main educational pathways for a career in the industry.

Network Security Analyst Bootcamps

Lots of bootcamps offer network security analysis training in the form of cyber security programs. The programs cover crucial topics such as penetration tests and cyber defense to prepare you for the role. Despite its short duration, a coding bootcamp will thoroughly prepare you for the role through a combination of hands-on learning and career assistance.

Vocational School

Vocational schools, also known as technical schools, offer only trades training programs that usually take two years to complete. It will be hard to find a program that teaches you what you need for a network security analyst role, but you can find an IT course to learn the basics and then continue your training at another type of institution.

Community College

Enrolling in a community college will get you started on your path to becoming a network security analyst. Within two years, most full-time students can finish an associate degree program. At the end of the program, students can choose to enter the workforce or push for a bachelor's degree.

At community colleges, you’ll often find courses covering switching and routing, Windows Server Administration, and network and infrastructure defense. You may also learn penetration testing and data visualization depending on the program.

Network Security Analyst Degrees

A Bachelor's Degree in Network Security or Cyber Security will prepare you well for a job as a network security analyst. You will learn about applied statistics and technical communication. You will also likely study digital forensics, legal issues related to personal privacy, and cloud technologies. Some schools even offer internships and laboratory training.

Bachelor’s degree programs take four years to complete for most full-time students. The programs often culminate in a project where you get to apply everything you have learned throughout your studies.

The Most Important Network Security Analyst Certificates

As a network security analyst, it can be hugely beneficial to get certified by an independent body. This shows potential employers that you are up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices. It also shows that you are skilled enough to do the job.

Certified Ethical Hacker

This certification is offered by the EC-Council and shows that you understand how to find vulnerabilities and weaknesses in computer systems. It also shows that you are skilled with tools used by malicious hackers.

CompTIA Network+

The CompTIA Network+ certification verifies that you have the essential skills and knowledge in networking to build a career in information technology infrastructure. This certification is not vendor-specific and prepares candidates to support networks regardless of platform.

CWAPT Certified Penetration Tester

This certification shows that candidates have skills and working knowledge in penetration testing. It involves nine domains related to penetration, including network protocol attacks, network reconnaissance, and vulnerability identification. This credential proves that you can identify potential threats from cyber attackers.

How to Prepare for Your Network Security Analyst Job Interview

In an interview for a network security analyst position, you can expect a mix of behavioral and technical questions. To help you prepare for your next interview, here are some potential questions you can expect.

Network Security Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions

  • What is the biggest threat to a company’s network security?
  • How can you assess the security needs of a company and how will you fix the common weaknesses?
  • How do you stay updated on new security threats?
  • How do you handle resistance to the implementation of a new policy or idea in a workgroup?

Should I Become a Network Security Analyst in 2021?

Yes, you should. There is a high demand for network security analysts, with the job outlook projected to rise 33 percent within this decade. Not only that, but these key members of any security team earn an average salary well above that of most other occupations. If you have a flair for IT and you want to join a field with high job growth, this is the career path for you.


Can You Become a Network Security Analyst Without a Degree?
You can become a network security analyst without a degree if you attend a coding bootcamp. Bootcamp providers offer relevant training programs, including courses that focus on cyber security. A bootcamp will thoroughly train you to take on entry-level roles.
Is It Hard to Become a Network Security Analyst?
This can be considered a challenging career path as it encompasses a slew of complex topics like security tools, encryption programs, and vulnerability testing, to name a few. However, if you have a knack for information technology, you may find it easier than the average person.
How Much Do Network Security Analysts Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, experts in this field earned a median wage of $103,590 in 2020. This figure is higher than the average for all occupations. Network security analysts are well paid even at the entry level.
What Is the Role of a Network Security Analyst?
Network security analysts design, implement, and maintain network security for an organization. They also review and test computer systems, perform risk analysis to ensure that they are working optimally, and prevent security breaches.
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