Protecting the security and integrity of data is becoming ever-more vital for businesses and organizations worldwide, pushing demand for qualified cybersecurity analysts. These professionals monitor computer networks to ensure safeguards are in place to protect sensitive data and information from cyber criminals.
If you’re considering a future in the sphere of information technology (IT), you may want to learn more about a cybersecurity analyst career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), information security analyst jobs are projected to increase by 37% through 2022, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations.
What is Cybersecurity Analysis?
Cybersecurity analysis is the process of protecting websites and networks from cyber threats, such as malware, denial-of-service attacks and viruses. Without constant monitoring and analysis, businesses, public organizations, government agencies and individuals are vulnerable to harmful infiltration of their computer information systems. With a growing number of threats from cyber attacks, the need for effective cybersecurity analysis has grown rapidly and should continue to grow, according to the BLS.
Why Cybersecurity Analysts Matter
Cybersecurity analysts help prevent attacks through their expertise and knowledge of databases, networks, hardware, firewalls and encryption. These professionals aid in keeping businesses’ computer systems running smoothly, help prevent the theft of sensitive financial and personal information, and seek to prevent hackers from accessing and divulging military secrets and other government data. Through constant monitoring and analysis, cybersecurity analysts help avert untold losses in productivity and dollars.
In performing their job duties, cybersecurity analysts assess and mitigate risk while enhancing system security. They are typically responsible for identifying and “patching” any security weaknesses they may find, and making recommendations for security hardware and software.
These professionals are often tasked with establishing information security policies and procedures, as well as reviewing violations to help prevent future occurrences. Cybersecurity analysts may also regulate access to computer files, develop firewalls, perform risk assessments and test data processing systems to verify security measures.
Where Can I Find Jobs in Cybersecurity Analysis?
Organizations that deal with sensitive data often need the services of cybersecurity analysts. Job opportunities may be found in the healthcare, financial services and insurance industries, as well as in education systems.
Cybersecurity professionals also are in high demand in the military and government agencies. The Department of Defense announced it was seeking to hire up to 3,000 cyber-savvy civilians during 2015 to be part of the U.S. Cyber Command. The federal agency is seeking candidates who can analyze malware, respond to incidents, manage cyber drills and detect vulnerabilities. The White House is also staffing its new cyber policymaking unit.
Educational Preparation for Cybersecurity Analyst Jobs
Attaining a career as a cybersecurity analyst will require preparation and dedication in order to obtain the education and expertise sought by employers, including a college degree.
- Associate’s Degree: Certain entry-level cybersecurity analyst positions may be obtainable with a two-year associate’s degree in computer science or a related field, plus work experience. Advancing in the field usually requires at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree: Plan on obtaining a four-year degree to compete for most cybersecurity analyst jobs. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, engineering or a related discipline can be a good start. Some employers may also look for advanced training, industry certifications or work experience.
- Master’s Degree: Some employers hiring for cybersecurity analyst positions may require candidates to have an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. An advanced degree typically takes an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level.
If you’re interested in working for the military or a government agency, you may be required to obtain security clearances and industry certifications. Prospective employers may offer tuition assistance to help employees obtain a master’s degree.
Other Qualifications and Advancement
In addition to advanced educational qualifications, interpersonal skills and general business expertise are important attributes for cybersecurity analysts. Employers also may seek the following qualities in cybersecurity analyst candidates:
- Experience with multiple computer systems and programs
- Logical thinking and analytical ability
- Aptitude in solving problems independently
- Strong verbal and written communications
- Sound decision-making ability
Cybersecurity Analyst Potential Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), information security analyst jobs are projected to increase by 18% through 2022, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations.
Salary potential and employment opportunities vary depending on geographic location and market conditions, as well as an applicant’s education and experience.
Are You a Good Fit For a Cybersecurity Analyst Career?
If you’re interested in working with data and computer networks, and would enjoy combating and preventing cyber crimes, a career as a cybersecurity analyst could be a good option. Use this career guide to get started on the road to this challenging, rewarding and in-demand profession.