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  • Post last modified:May 17, 2021

Cyber Security is one of the most important fields in the current technological era. Cyber Security analyst job is one of the most sought after employment option due to the growing demand.

Working as a cyber security analyst (also known as a information security analyst or cyber intelligence analyst) is challenging, rewarding, and lucrative.

The median annual wage is currently $99,730, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals. It’s also a job in high demand with an increase of 4000 new job openings in the last year alone. Employment of cyber security analysts is also expected to grow by 31% between 2019-2029. 

Please find below all the details you would want to know about the cyber security analyst job.

Typical duties

A cyber security analyst is responsible for protecting computing infrastructure (software, hardware, and networks) from criminal activity. For example, many businesses use an IP video surveillance system to monitor their premises in real-time, including overnight, to prevent crimes occurring.

A cyber security analyst may be consulted to determine the best camera position for maximum range and to avoid blind spots.

Cyber security analysts also build firewalls into network infrastructures, constantly monitor security systems and networks, look for vulnerabilities, detect threats and unusual or illegal activity, and investigate and resolve them.

It’s also necessary to stay abreast of the latest developments in security technology, test the newest security products on the market, and design new security systems or upgrade existing ones.

You’ll be responsible for helping create and teach cyber security awareness training for employees.

Generally, you’ll either offer consulting services to clients or work for a single organisation, protecting their security. 

Necessary qualifications

A graduate position in cybersecurity may require a degree in a technical field like computer science, information security, computing, software engineering, mathematics, physics, or another security-related subject.

However, graduate schemes may also welcome graduates with unrelated and non-technical degrees.

Your degree subject won’t be so pivotal over time as you gain working experience and employers become more interested in your professional history. 

Alternatively, if you don’t have a degree, you could begin your cybersecurity career in an entry-level IT position.

After gaining experience and industry certifications, you’d be ready to move into a cybersecurity role.

Apprenticeships in cybersecurity are also available at a number of levels, including university level. Apprenticeships combine study and employment, allowing you to earn a recognised qualification. 

Work experience

Relevant work experience is usually a prerequisite for a role as a cybersecurity analyst.

If possible, you can choose to take a year-long work placement as part of your degree. Or, you could contact a company that employs cyber security analysts and ask if they’d be willing to let you do work experience with them.

Otherwise, some graduate schemes and internships don’t require work experience.

Overall, you’ll need to show employers you’re enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the field.

Attending local cyber and IT security events is a great networking opportunity, which can help you make important contacts and discover work experience opportunities you may not otherwise hear about.

Essential hard skills

As a cyber security analyst, you’ll need to have strong skills in diverse systems and networks. Specifically, you’ll need to have deep knowledge of all the different elements of network systems, as well as how each element can affect security levels.

You’ll also need a working knowledge of application design: this allows you to create secure interfaces within specific applications and test how they hold up at every stage of the software development life cycle.

In turn, you’ll need to prioritize data loss prevention and have a solid understanding of security software concepts, such as, availability, confidentiality, and integrity.  

Firewall administration is a key hard skill. You need to be proficient at installing and maintaining firewalls in order to filter incoming traffic and oversee access to the company’s computer networks.

Obtaining an ethical hacking certificate can also be a useful step. As a cyber security analyst, you’ll need to understand the ins and outs of hacking in order to prevent and block cyber attacks and protect systems. 

Reverse engineering is another essential hard skill you’ll need to disassemble code, evaluate software, perform malware analysis, and fix bugs.

As such, you’ll need solid knowledge of all types of operating systems and platforms, particularly iOs, Windows, and Linux.

Reverse engineering also requires a thorough working knowledge of programming and scripting with languages like Java, Shell, C++, and Python. This will allow you to comprehend encoded security threats and write and edit software. 

And, since cyber security threats and their solutions are continually changing and evolving, you’ll need to make sure your knowledge of information technology stays up to date with them.

As a cyber security analyst, you must stay abreast of the latest cyber security legislation, data-protection news, and cyber security methods and practices. The best cyber security analysts endeavor to keep up with this information and use it to direct their problem-solving strategies.

Main soft skills

You’ll also need a range of soft skills to be successful as a cyber security analyst. In particular, you should be a strong communicator.

Written and verbal communication skills are needed to educate users, explain the benefits of cyber security, and demonstrate how they can best protect their personal data. This information should be communicated in a simple, clear, and engaging style.

Analytical skills are also required.

You need to be able to study computer systems, evaluate potential threats and risks, and generate potential solutions.

You also need to be detail orientated because it’s often not so easy to detect threats to cyber security. So, as a security analyst, you need to be able to easily focus on the details of each security system, detect the smallest of changes, and foresee and prevent possible problems from developing. 

Creativity may be an unexpected necessary soft skill, but it plays a key role in the job. You need to have the ability to continually think one step ahead and anticipate cyber attacks. As such, maintaining a forward-thinking and creative mindset is crucial. 

Working as a cyber security analyst is an engaging, fulfilling, and financially-rewarding career. If you have an analytical mind and are passionate about security, it could be the perfect role for you.

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