How to Become a Cyber Security Analyst

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By DeVry University

December 13, 2021
6 min read

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 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 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 a 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.

Projected Career Growth for a Cyber Security Analyst

Based on available data, there is strong evidence to suggest cyber security analysts will continue to play a significant role in cyber security to reinforce information security and protect data systems in government, healthcare, banking and other industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Growth Handbook, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow at a rate of 35% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Cyber Security Analyst Certifications

As the cyber security field evolves to keep pace with new technologies and threats presented by cybercriminals, individuals looking for success in this field are encouraged to earn relevant credentials and certifications. Courses within our cyber security programs may help you prepare to pursue industry-relevant cyber security certifications like:

  • CompTIA A+: A certification earned after passing two exams designed by IT professionals. This certification focuses on troubleshooting, hardware, operating systems and networks.
  • CompTIA Cloud+: A globally recognized certification that confirms an individual's ability to troubleshoot, set up and manage cloud computing systems in a secure fashion.
  • CompTIA LINUX+: A certification designed for professionals that use the Linux operating system to manage networks and devices. This is particularly useful for carefully managing each aspect of a system or network.
  • CompTIA Network+: Network+ certifies your knowledge and proficiency with emerging technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things.
  • CompTIA Security+: This certification demonstrates your skills in keeping network devices, services and traffic secure.
  • CEH Certification: Short for Certified Ethical Hacker, this qualification certifies your ability to assess security and look for vulnerable points in computer systems.
  • CompTIA CySA+: This intermediate-level certification is for cyber security analysts, and measures proficiency in analytics, intrusion detection and response to threats.
  • CompTIA CASP+: A technical certification ideally suited for practitioner-level professionals, this involves solution implementation within existing frameworks.
  • CompTIA PenTest+: This intermediate-level certification measures skills in vulnerability assessment and network penetration testing (also known as ethical hacking).

DeVry University’s cyber security curriculum is acknowledged and verified as an approved provider by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies.

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.

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