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Cybersecurity Analyst Career Guide

Cyber Security Analyst

Effectively protecting the security and integrity of data is becoming a much sought-after talent in businesses worldwide. Because of the increased demand, qualified cybersecurity analysts are in demand. These professionals monitor computer networks to ensure safeguards are in place to protect sensitive data and information from cybercriminals. If you’re thinking of a career in the sphere of information technology, you may want to consider learning more about a cybersecurity analyst career.

If this in-demand career appeals to you, you should have ample employment opportunities in years to come, according to national data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011. The BLS projects information security analyst jobs to increase by 20% or more through 2018. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education and experience. 

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 and government agencies are vulnerable to potentially harmful infiltration of their computer information systems. With a still-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 highly developed 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 to keep military secrets out of the hands of criminals. Through constant monitoring and analysis, cybersecurity analysts help businesses, organizations and individuals avoid untold losses in productivity and actual 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 are likely to hire cybersecurity analysts. Job opportunities may be found in healthcare, financial services, insurance firms, government agencies, the military and education systems.

Education Preparation for Cybersecurity Analyst Jobs

Becoming a cybersecurity analyst will require some preparation. You’ll need to obtain the education and expertise that employers are looking for, 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 is 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 an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Information Assurance & 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 the knowledge you’ll obtain through formal education, you’ll want to be sure to hone your interpersonal and general business expertise, as well. Many employers will look for the following in cybersecurity analyst candidates:

  • Experience with multiple computer systems and programs.
  • Logical thinking and analytical ability.
  • The ability to solve problems independently.
  • Strong verbal and written communication ability.
  • Sound decision-making ability.

Cybersecurity Analyst Potential Salary

According to a 2010 national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual salary for the category that includes cybersecurity analysts was $75,660. 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.

Are You a Good Fit For a Cybersecurity Analyst Career?

If you’re interested in working with data and computer networks, and would enjoy fighting and proactively preventing cybercrimes, you may be a great fit for a career as a cybersecurity analyst. Use this career guide to get started on the road to this challenging, rewarding and in-demand occupation. 

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