A cyber security analyst is quickly becoming one of the most vital additions to any corporation or government rolodex, and as technology increases they are only going to have more work to do.
The duty of a cyber security analyst is to evaluate a company (or agency) and determine the potential risks inherent to their system. They then use this information to help create a bespoke cyber security plan for the client, one created with that particular businesses technology, staff, and customers in mind.
One size does not fit all when it comes to cyber security, and it’s the analyst’s job to tailor their plan for the job ahead.
Earning a Cyber Security Salary Is Well Worth the Work
Over 30% of users report having been hacked or had their various account in some way infiltrated or compromised with malicious intent – and that’s only the percentage that were aware it happened.
Considering how often hackers get away with their crimes or perpetrate them in such a way as to be undetectable, that number is almost certainly higher.
The job of a cyber security analyst is to make sure that number continually shrinks, and it’s a literal arms race against hackers all around the globe. So, believe us when we say that a good cyber security salary is worth if for a great analyst!
What Does a Cyber Security Analyst Do?
A cyber security analyst is called in to assess the risk and potential solutions to said risks for any given corporation, business, or government agency.
Their job is traditionally to meet with higher-ups in all departments to better understand their needs and current practices, and then to utilize their skills and those around them to help jointly come up with a plan to increase cyber security going forward.
Be a Team Player
The primary duty of a cyber security analyst is to take the disparate voices of an entire company, listen to them, and to generate a new or upgraded security plan for all to execute in their various departments.
This is not a job for loners. Being a cyber security analyst demands an ability to put aside pride and to do what’s best for the client. If the IT manager has a better idea or thought of something you haven’t, it’s your job to fold it into the plan in place of your own previous strategy.
If there’s a field you don’t understand (let’s say the ins and outs of a product and how it may affect a security strategy), it’s the job of the cyber security analyst to meet with the department head who does know and to learn as much as possible to make the right call.
The ability to communicate goes hand-in-hand with that shiny analyst of cyber security salary.
The job of a cyber security analyst is primarily communication – not only getting information about the business and systems from all parties, but also communicating the new security strategy to every relevant team member.
This includes doing so tactfully – keeping a long list of clients happy and safe is just as much diplomacy as it is secure servers and password scramblers. If your new security strategy turns the IT manager’s current plan on its head, it’s about communicating how that will help them, rather than showing off how much more you know (or how wrong they were).
It’s a tricky balancing act, and one a cyber security analyst is going to have to master.
This is where that problem-solving, tech-savvy brain comes in. Whether it’s broken equipment, broken training techniques, or broken security protocols, it’s the job of the cyber security analyst to find the hole quickly and to plug it.
The key to troubleshooting is not only identifying current problems but seeing a system and identify where the problems are going to be.
A cyber security analyst needs to understand the weapons he’s facing in order to enact the proper defenses. A deep knowledge of malicious software, scripts, social engineering tactics, and encryption are all going to serve a cyber security analyst well.
Technical Knowledge and the Latest Trends
Tech is ever-changing, and as are the tools to both harm and protect it. A cyber security analyst has to stay on top of the latest advances in malicious code, scams, phishing techniques, and firewalls and anti-virus software in order to properly advise their clients.
Protecting the employees and customer data also falls under the purview of the cyber security analyst, which means knowing the latest cloud software. Which is the safest? Which can handle the most data? Which has a proven track record of security?
A cyber security analyst also needs to be up on their Denial of Service attacks in order to battle an increasingly tricky form of cyber warfare. These factors are more are going to depend upon you staying ahead of the curve.
What Education Do You Need?
The tech business moves too quickly to accommodate a set checklist for the degrees that may needed, but anything in the cyber security and computer science fields are going to help you get your foot in the door.
A wealth of proven experience can also stand in for education, but that’s always going to depend on what company you’re working for. The fact is, some of the most brilliant minds in hacking and counter-hacking have popped out of someone’s garage somewhere, and that’s always going to be the case.
Whatever earned you your stripes, make sure your programming skills, network knowledge, troubleshooting, social engineering, and anti-hacking knowledge are all top notch before you even consider taking a swing at a position.
Certifications that will serve a cyber security analyst well include the Security+, CSA+, and eventually the CASP if you can swing it. All of the certifications will prove that you have the skills, the knowledge base, and the dedication that recruiters want to see.
How Does the Career Path Start?
Starting as a developer is an excellent first step on the path – you’ll learn and practice programming, honing it to a fine edge. Being a developer will put you in contact with every part of the IT team, and it will also teach you how to communicate your ideas (and to understand and synthesize the ideas of others), working together toward a larger goal.
Developers are also beholden to security regulations and laws, and thus become familiar with programming software with these laws and regulations in mind at the ground level.
IT and network professionals also make good first jobs for would-be cyber security analysts, where troubleshooting and network topography are the most important responsibilities.
Again, both of these jobs are beholden to privacy and security laws and will already be familiar with data privacy and protecting their users long before they take the title of “cyber security analyst.”
What are the Job Opportunities for a Cyber Security Analyst?
The future for cyber security analysts is looking bright, which is no surprise – with privacy laws expanding and the vast majority of up-and-coming users already being tech savvy about cyber security, the demand for protection is only growing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Cyber Security Analysts between 2016 and 2026 is expected to grow by 28%, which is 21% higher than the national average of 7% for other jobs.
What is an Average Cyber Security Analyst Salary?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median pay for a cyber security analyst at $95,510, which is pretty great for a job that, again according to the BLS, usually only requires a bachelor’s degree and less than 5 years of experience in similar jobs.
The work is hard and requires constant vigilance, but if the cyber security analyst salary is consistently averaging near $100,000, that’s a juice that is worth the squeeze.
What are the Promotion Opportunities for a Cyber Security Analyst?
A cyber security analyst has two clear career paths that seem to pop up most often – either the Chief Information Security Officer of a company (the CISO) or striking out on their own as a cybersecurity consultant with their own list of clients.
Consulting for large corporations and government agencies is for some considered the brass ring – you set your own schedule, you wine and dine with corporate royalty, and you can sometimes pull down a truly spectacular cyber security salary.
The Future of the Cyber Security Analyst’s and Their Cyber Security Salary
With cyber-attacks seemingly increasing by the moment, and cyber security regulations and laws flying up by a commiserate amount, the duties (and opportunities) for a cyber security analyst are only going to increase.
As technology saturates, so too will the need to protect data, financial information, networks, equipment, and much more.
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