By DeVry University
Becoming a cyber security analyst takes time and hard work, but can be an achievable goal with the right action plan. As you work toward pursuing a career as a cyber security analyst, you'll need to develop your understanding of information systems and networks while remaining up to date on the latest cyber security practices.
While there’s no one way to become a cyber security analyst, those looking to pursue this career should have a diverse skill set, backed by a strong grasp of cyber security principles and relevant credentials that demonstrate their knowledge.
In this article, we'll help you learn how to become a cyber security analyst by answering a few questions about the profession itself. You'll learn what cyber security analysts are, what they do and how to become one as we explore the following sections (jump to):
What is a Cyber Security Analyst?
A cyber security analyst is an information technology and cyber security professional who uses a wide variety of processes and technologies to keep private data and networks safe from threats. They are in charge of selecting and deploying the technologies that will be used to protect the IT infrastructure at a company. In many cases, they also work with other IT staff to develop best practices and processes that will be used by every member of a company in order to protect infrastructure and data from being accessed or tampered with by cyber criminals.
Skills of a Cyber Security Analyst
To become a cyber security analyst, you should develop an understanding of a variety of IT and technological skills. Some of useful skills for someone looking to become a cyber security analyst may include:
- Firewalls: Being a cyber security analyst means being comfortable with a wide range of technologies, and firewalls are among the most important. Strong comprehension of how firewalls work and how to tactically deploy them across a network is important for anyone who wants to become a cyber security analyst.
- Programming: Having at least a working knowledge of how to code can be a beneficial skill as a cyber security analyst, as you’ll need to be able to look at code and determine whether or not it’s secure or if someone is using programming languages maliciously.
- Software application knowledge: Another aspect of a cyber security analyst's job involves selecting the correct software to protect their network. Having a firm grasp on what different software works is crucial to performing the duties of this profession.
- Research capabilities: As a technology professional, you'll need to remain aware of the ever-shifting landscape of your field. Being able to do research and quickly evaluate information is essential.
- Communication skills: A big part of being a cyber security analyst is developing new best practices and communicating them to coworkers and employees. You may also have to regularly speak to higher-ups in order to communicate why certain security protocols have to be changed or technologies need to be updated.
- Attention to detail: While attention to detail is useful in just about any profession, it's vital in the world of cyber security. This soft skill can help you better identify threats and breaches in your security. It's also helpful for pinpointing areas of weakness in your own work so that they can be addressed.
What Does a Cyber Security Analyst do?
Cyber security analysts play an important role in protecting companies from cyberattacks. By identifying the correct systems and applications needed to build a defensive wall around sensitive technologies and information, cyber security analysts protect the networks that enable a variety of business functions.
Cyber security analysts analyze existing security systems to look for potential improvements. Once they have found an improvement that needs to be made, they perform extensive research in order to identify the best way to solve the issue. Then, they typically have to present their findings to a manager who will either approve or deny their proposed solution.
Steps to Becoming a Cyber Security Analyst
There's no one way to become a cyber security analyst, but as the field becomes more established, more pathways into the profession may present themselves. The following is one of the pathways that can help you become a cyber security analyst, and may even prepare you for other cyber security professions:
Step 1 – Earn a Degree or Certification
Typically, the path to becoming a cyber security analyst begins with earning some kind of degree or certificate in the field. An undergraduate certificate in cyber security is a great way to dip your toes into the world of cyber security without earning a full degree.
That said, employers may look for cyber security training that includes a bachelor’s degree in the field, such as a bachelor’s degree with a Cyber Security Specialization, depending on the company and the position itself. A bachelor's degree can help show employers that you're serious about your work and have taken the time to develop your skills.
Step 2 – Work in a Cyber Security Internship or Related Field
Once you’ve earned your degree, or if you are in the process of earning one, you may want to take on an internship. If you’re already working in a related field, that can also be beneficial as some skills may transfer over or provide you additional insight you wouldn’t have gained elsewhere. An internship or other job experience can help you build your skills in a real-world setting while providing the opportunity to develop relationships with people who are in your field and who may be able to connect you to other cyber security job opportunities.
Step 3 – Earn Additional Certifications and Credentials
Whether you’re already working in the field as a professional or as an intern, earning some additional credentials may help you stand out in the eyes of employers. In particular, professional certifications such as the CISSP, Security+ and CISM are well-respected certifications that communicate your skill and ability to potential employers.
Step 4 – Find a Cyber Security Job
Once you've built up your resume, the next step is to find a cyber security job. This step may take some time, but persistence is key. Keep an eye out for any open job postings in your area, and consider how far you're willing to commute, or even if you'd be willing to move. Since many roles are now remote, you may be able to find work as a cyber security analyst from home.
Interested in a Career as a Cyber Security Analyst?
We’ve covered different ways of how to become a cyber security analyst, but everyone’s journey is unique. At DeVry, we offer a variety of cyber security programs that are designed to help you build real-world skills and help prepare you to pursue a career in this dynamic field. Learn the inner workings behind operating systems, explore ethical hacking, the Internet of Things (IoT) and security mapping from our experienced faculty.
Contact us today for more information and see how a DeVry can help you prepare to take the first step toward pursuing a career as a cyber security analyst.