How to become a Cybersecurity Analyst by Sai Digbijay Patnaik

Today the issue of cybersecurity is a growing concern all over the world. With rising incidence and complexity of cyberattacks, more and more companies are compelled to hire specially trained people to apply the best set of ideas, principles or guidelines that stand for the most effective or discrete mode of action towards protecting business resources. Therefore, today, Cybersecurity Analysts (CSA) are in high demand.

A Cybersecurity Analyst has expertise in issues related to finding the weaknesses in a system; to figure out the methods that could be applied to take advantage of the vulnerabilities, and reverse-engineering attacks. The analyst can take on diverse roles to guarantee proper security controls are ready for the safekeeping of computer systems and information.

A Cybersecurity Analyst's role is very dynamic and exciting, equipping one with an expansive variety of technical skills and a lot of experience in auditing, exposing trespass, pen testing, and more. While some use this opportunity as a foothold to open the way for more significant opportunities, including higher positions in management, others opt to stick to the job for the better part of their careers.

Qualifications in Cybersecurity

Associate’s Degree: 

This is the quickest option to get the right to work as an analyst, providing the shortest way to begin a career in this profession. This degree requires you to enroll for a short program of study, and therefore, offers little experience. The Associate's degree can land one in general networking positions followed by roles that concentrate on enhanced security. As the fight against cybercrime requires well-trained system administrators, the primary roles give one a chance to excel in this field while gaining knowledge and understanding of the subject, and also, getting paid.

Bachelor's Degree: 

The next level is a Bachelor's degree for which one has to undergo training for a period of 2.5 to 4 years. Besides the entire syllabus covered under the Associate's degree program, further detailed courses in each category and several new groups are included in the Bachelor's degree curriculum. These courses take a more penetrating look at significant subsections of cybersecurity, for example, safety measures in a healthcare set-up. 

Master's Degree: 

This is the final step towards becoming a skilled Cybersecurity Analyst. The curriculum for the Master's degree provides wide-ranging information and a deep understanding of the functioning of digital systems. The program of study is long, elaborate, and challenging, requiring an enormous amount of patience and diligence on the part of an aspirant. Hence, those with a Bachelor's degree in hand should be confident and determined enough to embark on this course. For a few people, it is always more exciting to go back to studies to achieve further specializations and higher qualifications, after having spent a considerable amount of time in a profession.

 Job Responsibilities

  • Planning, implementing and upgrading security parameters.
  • Create plans and policies to safeguard digital files and information systems from unauthorized and malicious access that can lead to alteration and damage of data. 
  • Responsible for storing data safely and monitoring security access continuously.
  • Do susceptibility test, risk analysis and security assessments of systems, applications, devices, and network.
  • Organize internal and external security audits.
  • Foresee potential security risks and damages and implement processes to reduce their possibility.
  • Should be able to manage the network, detection of intrusion and systems to prevent risks.
  • Analyse drawbacks in the system security to find out their cause.
  • Is responsible for recommending and implementing the right tools and right risk management measures. 
  • Design, implement and follow corporate security policies.
  • Supervising and training fellow professionals in cybersecurity procedures.
  • Organize plans to create a secure system with external vendors.

Qualification Requirements

The position of Security Analyst does not have any hard and fast qualification requirements. Almost every employer would like to hire candidates with a minimum bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Cyber Security, or in similar fields.

However, many candidates with exceptional quality and the right cybersecurity certification training do get a job in this position even if they don't hold a degree in computer science. Some organizations give more importance to relevant experience and aptitude instead of a degrees. 


Career Growth

Consistent career growth of a Cybersecurity Analyst would include the roles of a Security Architect, Security Engineer, Security Manager, and Security Consultant. Subsequently, with increasing experience and efficiency, you can go on to become a Security Director, and then a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

The role of the Cybersecurity Analyst includes designations like IT Security Analyst, Data Security Analyst, and Information System Security Analyst

Work Experience

Work experience is wholly based on the requirement of the organization you are applying to for the job. Small organizations generally hire candidates with just a year of experience and the organization that has complex security needs ask for a minimum of 5 years’ experience. There are many more with 5+ years of experience, who are the first choice of employers. 

Required Hard Skills

The hard skills below are necessary for the position: 

  • IDS/IPS, penetration and vulnerability testing
  • TCP/IP, computer networking, routing, and switching
  • Firewall and intrusion detection/prevention protocols
  • DLP, anti-virus, and anti-malware
  • Network protocols and packet analysis tools
  • Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
  • Cloud computing
  • SaaS models
  • C, C++, C#, Java or PHP programming languages
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Required Soft Skills

A Cybersecurity Analyst needs to possess soft skills, too. As an analyst, one will need to draw up policies, speak about issues with higher authorities, and make clear how her/his security plans suit the larger corporate picture.

In general, analysts should be curious and innovative. They must be genuinely interested in the most up-to-date instruments and developments in the field of cybersecurity. 

Important Certifications

Security certifications are not always compulsory for all positions. It depends on the prerequisites of a particular role. Moreover, one has to have considerable work experience to acquire some certifications such as CISSP. Mentioned below are some of the most desired certifications:

  • CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
  • ECSA: EC-Council Certified Security Analyst
  • GSEC / GCIH / GCIA: GIAC Security Certifications
  • CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

About the Author:

Sai Digbijay is a content specialist for Cyber Security courses at Simplilearn. He writes about a range of topics that include data science, project management, cloud computing, and marketing. He values curious minds and scrambles to learn new things.

November 14, 2019
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