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Career Guide

How to Become a Cybersecurity Analyst

BrainStation’s Cybersecurity Analyst career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in cybersecurity engineering. The guide provides an in-depth overview of the skills you should learn, the best training options, career paths in cybersecurity, how to become a Cybersecurity Analyst, and more.

How to Become a Cybersecurity Analyst
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To become a Cybersecurity Analyst, you need to understand information systems and networks, gain hands-on technical experience, and stay up-to-date in cybersecurity training.

Cybersecurity is a relatively new field compared to other technology careers. This means that there are a variety of paths you can take to become a Cybersecurity Analyst. Many Cybersecurity Analyst jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or a similar field. However, as the demand for cybersecurity increases, companies are more focused on hiring people with the right skills and technical experience, which can be gained through training and practice.

Five steps to becoming a Cybersecurity Analyst:

  1. Learn cybersecurity fundamentals
  2. Practice technical cybersecurity skills
  3. Earn a cybersecurity certificate
  4. Research the industry
  5. Apply to relevant cybersecurity jobs

1. Learn Cybersecurity Fundamentals

When thinking about how to become a Cybersecurity Analyst, your first step should be to learn about the current threat landscape. As technologies change and evolve, it’s important to know how to identify vulnerabilities and threats.

It’s also important to learn cybersecurity fundamentals, including how information systems may be threatened, and how to anticipate and detect threats. You should also get familiar with key elements important to cybersecurity, such as network architecture and protocol, routing and switching, firewalls, and more.

2. Practice Technical Cybersecurity Skills

After learning cybersecurity fundamentals, it’s important to apply your knowledge and practice common cybersecurity tasks, like performing security audits, analyzing network traffic, and securing information through encryption.

There are many online cybersecurity training labs available that simulate workplace environments. These give you the opportunity to put your cybersecurity training to the test and practice handling real-world challenges.

3. Earn a Cybersecurity Certificate

Taking a cybersecurity certificate course is a great way to learn about cybersecurity, the current threat landscape, and the related technology and tools used to detect and protect against threats.

A good cybersecurity course can give you a better understanding of how information systems operate and the tools and best practices to identify threats, and then defend against cyber attacks. The best of these courses will allow you to earn a cybersecurity certificate, which can help you stand out on the job market when applying for a Cybersecurity Analyst job. This is particularly helpful if you don’t have an extensive technical background.

4. Research the Industry

Cybersecurity has to constantly evolve. Technology is always innovating and, in turn, cyber attackers are coming up with new tactics and workarounds.

To be a successful Cybersecurity Analyst, it is important to stay on top of new developments in the cybersecurity and cybercrime world. By understanding new trends in security and information technology, you can ensure your knowledge and skills match current needs.

5. Apply to Relevant Cybersecurity Jobs

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2021, there will be 3.5 million unfulfilled cybersecurity jobs globally.

Here are some of the most in-demand roles in cybersecurity:

  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Cybersecurity Engineer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Systems Engineer
  • Systems Administrator
  • Network Engineer or Architect
  • Security Manager or Administrator
  • Vulnerability Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Cybersecurity Consultant
  • Forensic Computer Analyst
  • Chief Information Security Officer

As you can imagine, there are many other positions and job titles in cybersecurity, and they will likely evolve and grow as technology and the threat landscape changes.

What Is Cybersecurity Used For?

Cybersecurity is used to protect systems and data from cyber attacks. Individuals and organizations use cybersecurity to ensure that their data is safe from unauthorized access.

Any business that relies on internet-connected systems (which is nearly every modern business) needs to put cybersecurity measures in place. A robust cybersecurity strategy involves implementing multiple layers of protection on devices, programs and networks. Tools, such as firewalls and antivirus software, should be used alongside cybersecurity best practices to ensure that data is protected.

Cybersecurity is a crucial practice as the rate of cyber crime skyrockets. Risk Based Security found that, in 2019, over 15.1 billion records were exposed and 7,098 breaches reported. By 2021, it is projected that damage from cyber crime will exceed $6 trillion, making cybersecurity more important now than ever.

Is Cybersecurity a Growing Field?

In a study by Enterprise Strategy Group and the Information Systems Security Association, 70 percent of cybersecurity professionals report that their organization has a cybersecurity skills shortage. As the need for cybersecurity grows, companies are focused on finding people with the right skills.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for Information Security Analysts will grow 28% between 2016 and 2026, which is roughly an increase of 28,500 jobs.

Cyber crime is becoming more common, and no organization or individual that uses online systems are immune to attacks. The results can be devastating—data breaches have resulted in the loss of millions of dollars. Organizations are seeing high-profile companies fall victim to cyber attacks, so the demand for cybersecurity professionals is now at an all-time high.

What Is a Cybersecurity Analyst?

A Cybersecurity Analyst, also called an Information Security Analyst, is responsible for protecting a company’s networks and servers. They plan, evaluate and implement security strategies to prevent breaches and ensure that a company’s digital assets are secure.

In their role, Cybersecurity Analysts determine whether any weaknesses exist in information systems and develop strategies and solutions to fix these vulnerabilities. They install software and encryption, research information technology trends, review suspicious activity, and educate employees about security. In the case a cyber attack occurs, Cybersecurity Analysts often lead efforts to defend against and recover from the attack.

What Is the Salary of a Cybersecurity Analyst?

According to Mondo, the average salary for a Cybersecurity Analyst is between $90,000 and $160,000.

How Do I Become a Cybersecurity Analyst With No Experience?

Even if you have no experience in cybersecurity, you can become a Cybersecurity Analyst by equipping yourself with the right knowledge and training. First, you need to learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity. Taking a course or program in cybersecurity will give you the foundational knowledge about systems and security. You should also build your knowledge around operating systems, databases, and network architecture and administration.

Next, you’ll want to develop the right technical skills. Cybersecurity Analysts work to protect and defend systems and networks, so you’ll need to have basic information technology skills, like system and web application administration. You can also use virtual training labs to practice cybersecurity skills, such as penetration testing and ethical hacking.

While not all Cybersecurity Analyst roles require coding skills, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of some languages, like C, C++, JavaScript, Python, PHP and SQL. This will be especially helpful down the line as you advance in your cybersecurity career.

Attaining a cybersecurity certificate can also be especially useful if you have no experience. These certificates signal to employers that you have the necessary training and are dedicated to staying up to date on your craft. Some popular certificates include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

Finally, you’ll want to continue to update your training, skills and knowledge. Cybersecurity is a quickly evolving field. In order to stand out amongst other job applicants, you’ll need to know about the latest technologies and strategies to prevent cyber attacks.

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