Cybersecurity analyst degree requirements, certifications and skill sets
Are you seeking a new career in cybersecurity? A cybersecurity analyst position could be an excellent fit for you. In this role, you’ll be responsible for maintaining the security and integrity of data. A cybersecurity analyst must have a great foundation of knowledge related to information security.
Cybersecurity analyst responsibilities and duties
The main objective of a cybersecurity analyst is to analyze the security measures of an organization and conclude how effective they are. Their most important task is to be focused on protecting sensitive data. They identify security weaknesses and make recommendations to improve these flaws.
For preventative measures, the cybersecurity analyst must ensure that all networks have sufficient security to prevent unauthorized access. This also includes keeping all hardware and software up-to-date and documenting any changes or upgrades. In addition, they must document all security information for the company.
Creating documentation regarding how to respond to a breach is another duty of a cybersecurity analyst. This documentation must be kept current and be ready to put into motion should an incident occur. They are also often in charge of training for staff on proper and appropriate cybersecurity measures both physically in the office and online.
Here’s a list of basic job responsibilities that most cybersecurity analysts engage in on a regular basis:
- Plan out security measures and controls
- Establish protocols for the protection of digital data and information systems against unauthorized access, modification or destruction
- Maintain data integrity
- Monitor security access
- Perform vulnerability testing, risk analysis exercises and security assessments
- Conduct security audits internally and externally
- Reduce the likelihood of incidents and disasters with proactive strategies
- Review security breaches and detect root causes
- Define corporate security policies and ensure adherence
- Coordinate security plans with third-party vendors
While there are no firm educational requirements for becoming a cybersecurity analyst, different organizations will set their own guidelines. When looking for cybersecurity analyst roles, it’s important to check those for each individual employer.
It is, however, recommended that you complete a bachelor’s degree in computer science, cybersecurity or a related field. Having a degree such as this can increase your chances of securing a role and improve your salary expectations.
In addition to having a degree in computer-related subjects, there are some specific technical skills you should possess as a cybersecurity analyst. You should be well-versed in:
- IDS/IPS, penetration and vulnerability testing
- DLP, antivirus and anti-malware
- TCP/IP, computer networking, routing and switching
- Firewall and intrusion detection and prevention protocols
- Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
- Network protocols and packet analysis tools
- C, C++, C#, Java or PHP programming languages
- Cloud computing
- SaaS models
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
Common certifications for cybersecurity analysts
In addition to specific educational requirements for cybersecurity analysts, there are additional courses and certifications that are recommended. Let’s take a look at why these would be beneficial for this career path.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a must-have for any cybersecurity analyst. With this certification, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you can design, implement, and manage a cybersecurity program.
To earn the certification, you must take an exam through the International Information System Security Certificate Consortium, or (ISC)2. The CISSP curriculum focuses on information security topics in the common body of knowledge (CBK), including security and risk assessment, asset security, secure architecture and engineering, communication and network security, identification and access management (IAM), security assessment and testing, security operations and software development security.
Along with passing the exam, you will most likely need to show that you have worked in IT security for at least five years. Preparing for the test can be overwhelming. That’s why many choose to participate in a CISSP training course to prepare and get a refresher on the CBK topics.
Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE)
Being able to recover evidence and analyze it properly are crucial after an incident. Since a cybersecurity analyst is responsible for breach response protocols, you’ll also need to be able to investigate what occurred. The CCFE covers the following domains:
- Law, ethics and legal issues
- Investigation process
- Computer forensics tools
- Hard disk evidence recovery and integrity
- Digital device recovery and integrity
- File system forensics
- Evidence analysis and correlation
- Evidence recovery of Windows-based systems
- Network and volatile memory forensics
- Report writing
With this certification, you can substantiate your expertise in information assurance and a variety of forensics skills. For exam prep, consider a computer forensics boot camp.
CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)
CASP+ is a hands-on, performance-based certification for cybersecurity professionals. The certification focuses on practitioners and how they implement solutions for policies and frameworks. The CASP+ certification focuses on these subjects:
- Risk management: Analysis of risks and frameworks that are prevalent in certain industries or unique to your organizational requirements, and mitigation of those strategies
- Enterprise security architecture: Integration of network and security components, as well as implementation of security controls for multiple devices
- Enterprise security operations: Incident response recovery procedures and carrying out security assessments with tools
- Technical integration of enterprise security: Incorporation of hosts, storage, networks and applications into a secure enterprise architecture
To ensure you ace this certification, a CASP+ training boot camp is a smart move. With this type of intense training, you’ll go into the exam fully prepared.
The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is another great resource to earn for your career growth. The purpose of the CEH credential is to ensure that cybersecurity professionals meet the minimum standards for ethical hacking best practices. To earn this certification, you’ll need to pass a 125-question exam via the EC-Council.
To train to become an ethical hacker, you will want to invest in an ethical hacking training course, where you can learn from the experts. With black-hat hackers always changing their tactics, you’ll want a course that stays current on new strategies.
What can you make as a cybersecurity analyst?
According to PayScale, the median salary for a security analyst is $66,981 annually. The broad range includes figures from $42,782 to $100,755. Your salary will most likely depend on your education, certifications and work experience.
Is cybersecurity analyst a role you see in your future? With the right education, experience and certification, it can be a lucrative career. Learn more today about why you should consider it and how to plan for this career goal.
- Average Security Analyst Salary, PayScale