How to Become a Security Analyst: A Complete Career Guide

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A security analyst is a broad term that applies to people who are in charge of monitoring computer systems and information networks to ensure that they are safe.

A security analyst’s job duties can include everything from monitoring file access and credentialing to enforcing firewalls and network updates to proactively attempting to hack systems to find vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Cyber Security Analyst School

A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, information technology, or a similar area, like other career titles in the cybersecurity industry, is the best preparation for a security analyst. Job experience and internships, as well as advanced, industry-recognized certifications, all aid in the recruitment of cybersecurity analysts.

Four steps for How to Become a Security Analyst

Research: The good news is that the number of opportunities and new kinds of jobs that fall under the cybersecurity analyst position umbrella continues to evolve, which means plenty of career opportunities for cybersecurity professionals to position themselves correctly. So, the first step in becoming a cybersecurity analyst is to figure out what kind of work you want to do and then match that with the education and qualification you’ll need. It’s best to prepare ahead of time because even entry-level security analyst positions can require advanced training.

Education: According to the Burea of Labor Statistics (BLS) most cybersecurity analysts have a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity (or a closely related field such as mathematics, computer science, or engineering). Security professionals with associate’s degrees and/or appropriate experience or history (such as military service, for example) may be able to obtain entry-level cybersecurity employment in the private sector with the required cybersecurity certifications (see the next point).

Certification: One thing that separates cybersecurity from other professions is many jobs — both entry-level and mid-career — require some level of certification that shows proficiency in some kind of specific skill. When considering a career in cybersecurity, it’s a good idea to look into the types of certifications that are needed for different positions within the sector.

Network: An important part of becoming a security analyst is developing a professional network. Staying informed about the new developments and opportunities in the space is easier with a network that is associated with a particular career track.

What is a security analyst?

Security analysts are capable of working on a wide range of computer and knowledge networks. Security analysts can be found wherever vast volumes of data are being processed, exchanged, or used by a computer, from corporate databases to banking networks, and from office networks to military intelligence.

A well-trained security analyst would most likely have a thorough knowledge of both hardware and software, as well as how data is processed and handled.

Ransomware attacks, social engineering attacks, and the exploitation or compromise of confidential information from inside an agency or corporation are the top three cybersecurity threats facing information technology networks of all sizes. As a result, cybersecurity researchers must be prepared to deal with a wide range of threats as well as look for security issues both internally and externally.

Security analyst skills and experience (How to Become a Security Analyst)

Job-to-job, the cybersecurity skills and experience needed can vary greatly. Some security analyst positions require specialised skills, such as maintaining a proprietary network, educating other staff, or performing penetration testing on the company’s digital assets.

Studying a variety of job descriptions at various types of employers is one main tactic for students and early career professionals to learn what the most important and marketable job skills are. This research should begin to expose patterns and how existing skills and expertise correspond to opportunities. Understanding the current job market would also assist you in determining which security certifications and degrees to seek.

Despite the wide variety of cybersecurity analyst work, the occupation has a range of characteristics or skills in common:

    • Programming experience. Given that cybersecurity analysts are responsible for protecting digital infrastructure, it’s only natural that they have some programming expertise and are acquainted with foundational programming languages such as C, C++, PHP, Perl, and Java.
    • Analytical. Security analysts deal with data from a variety of sources, so they must be able to make decisions based on a variety of inputs.
    • Detail-oriented. Cybersecurity researchers spend a lot of time looking at tiny information — like lines of machine code or network commands — that can have a big effect.
    • Forward-thinking. Based on current data and trends, security analysts must forecast the future and make security recommendations accordingly.

What do security analysts do?

In a company or organisation, a security analyst can wear a variety of hats. They may be a combination of police officer, systems builder, policymaker, and educator or instructor.

Although security analysts are also called upon to triage security incidents, most cybersecurity analysts spend their time establishing policies and procedures, evaluating best practises, and delivering training to company or agency employees.

In an ideal world, a security analyst will be vigilant in preventing security breaches from occurring in the first place. That may mean keeping systems and applications up to date, or actively searching for ways to breach firewalls or exploit flaws in computer code or operating systems.

Security analyst job description

A fast review of the thousands of security analyst job listings shows that the positions available range from entry-level to specialised security and threat reduction professionals.

Although specific qualifications and certifications needed for specific positions vary widely, the California Employment Development Department has released some basic information about what some of the common work specifications for cybersecurity analyst jobs are.

    • To secure sensitive information, encrypt data transfers and create and maintain firewalls.
    • Create strategies and technologies to secure computer data and files from unintentional destruction or alteration by malware or other attack vectors.
    • Prepare plans and procedures to handle data breaches and assaults.
      Keep up with the new attack vectors and devise ways to counter them.
    • To secure networks and organisational data, keep an eye on computer software and current user status.
    • Develop and conduct routine risk assessments to ensure compliance with security best practises.
    • Meet with employees and train other users about security risks and how network and data users can enhance their personal and team information security.

Outlook for security analysts

Security analysts will continue to be in high demand as the digital transformation of industries and sectors accelerates. Traditional cybersecurity researchers worked in niche industries such as the military, finance and banking, and oil and gas companies, all of which are vulnerable sectors of the economy.

Consumer firms and everyday products, on the other hand, are now recruiting cybersecurity experts to assist in the protection of their businesses and operations. The need for well-trained cybersecurity analysts is so great that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job prospects for cybersecurity analysts will increase by 36% by 2024.

Employment growth is expected to be much higher than in other sectors of the economy, and it is expected to continue for many years as more businesses and organisations invest in cybersecurity positions.

How much do security analysts make?

Aside from the allure of interesting work, an increasing number of career options, and a diverse range of ways to train for these positions, being a security analyst can also lead to a high salary.

A security analyst’s median reported salary is $93,250. Over the course of their careers, professionals with more training, experience, and educational background can gain more.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.