Cyber Systems Analyst Career Guide

There’s no doubt that technology specialists will increasingly be needed in years to come, and employment opportunities for the category that includes cyber systems analysts should be excellent, according to national data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011. In fact, job growth for computer systems analysts is projected to increase by as much as 20% through 2018. These in-demand professionals are on the front line of today’s most advanced technologies, with job opportunities in private organizations, government and military agencies, and global corporations.

Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education and experience.

What is a Cyber Systems Analyst?

Cyber systems analysts are experts in supporting an organization’s information security goals. They provide consulting services, interpret and establish security technologies, and create the information security framework and architecture that protects sensitive data from threats such as viruses, spyware, cyber criminals and hackers.

Why Cyber Systems Analysis Matters

Information is extremely valuable to those who wish to use it for financial gain or to cause harm to individuals, businesses or the government. Whether aimed at government databases, financial institution networks or personal computers, cyber-attacks cause huge losses of time and money – as well as trust – each year.

Cyber systems analysis is an integral aspect of preventing attacks that could potentially bring down the infrastructure that keeps business, the government, and the global financial system working. When hackers infiltrate credit card firms’ networks, for example, millions of dollars in losses can occur in a matter of minutes. Sensitive military information could be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands; and even small businesses must keep their customers’ data secure to maintain trust and protect their brands.

Cyber systems analysts help to optimize the security measures that keep unauthorized users from gaining access to an organization’s systems. They collect and analyze data, and monitor networks to look for trends that signal security risks. They also make recommendations for action. Cyber systems analysts develop processes and mechanisms that support established security guidelines.

Additional duties may include simulating threats and adversarial attacks under various situations. These professionals also typically review new technologies to ensure they conform to security policies and computer infrastructure. In fulfilling their job duties, cyber systems analysts contribute to organizational security and sustainability.

Where Can I Find Jobs in Cyber Systems Analysis?

Across the country and around the globe, businesses of all types and sizes are increasingly recognizing the value of cyber systems analysis to keep valuable information secure. Cyber system analysts’ specialized expertise is in demand by a variety of employers, including information technology firms, government agencies and contractors, military organizations, healthcare providers and education systems.

Education Preparation for Cyber Systems Analyst Jobs

Specific qualifications for cyber systems analyst positions will vary according to the employer, industry and job duties. When preparing for a career in this field, plan on obtaining at least a college degree and a noteworthy amount of related work experience.

  • Associate’s Degree: Certain entry-level computer systems jobs may require a two-year associate’s degree, with additional work experience. Most positions will generally require at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Employers hiring for cyber systems analyst positions will usually require a four-year bachelor’s degree, preferably in computer science, information technology, engineering or a related discipline. Some employers may show preference to candidates with industry certifications and closely related work experience.
  • Master’s Degree: Some cyber systems analyst positions may require extensive work experience and/or an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity with a specialization in Cybersecurity. An advanced degree typically takes an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level.

Potential employers may also assess your interpersonal and business abilities, professional industry training and certifications, and related higher education degree or certificates, such as a Master of Science or a For-Credit Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. Certain positions, such as those with government entities or military organizations, will often require security clearances and additional certifications.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement

Individuals planning on a cyber systems analyst career should possess excellent analytical and problem-solving ability along with proficiency in computer systems and database management. Employers may look for candidates with the following competencies:

  • The ability to prioritize projects and work independently.
  • Flexibility to deal with rapidly changing assignments or work environment.
  • The ability to work effectively on a team or independently.
  • Excellent presentation and communication ability.
  • The ability to learn and apply new technologies and concepts.

Advancing in the cyber systems analysis field may require extensive work experience or an advanced degree. Some employers may offer tuition assistance that could help you attain an advanced degree.

Cyber Systems Analyst – Potential Salary

According to a 2010 national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual salary for the category that includes cyber systems analysts was $81,250. The middle 50% earned average salaries between $61,050 and $97,320. Those in the lowest 10% bracket earned about $48,360, while the highest 10% of earners brought in around $119,070 annually. Because salary potential may vary depending on location, education, experience and other factors, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.

Plan for Success in a Cyber Systems Analyst Career

If you are a natural problem-solver with a good understanding of computer systems with a desire to protect people and businesses from cybercriminals, then you may wish to consider a career as a cyber systems analyst. A Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity or a For-Credit Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity can provide the foundation you need to start off or advance on an exciting technology-based career as a cyber systems analyst.

* Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education, experience and other factors.

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