Introduction

Have you been seeking a cybersecurity career that puts you at the forefront of intrusion detection and combating cybercrime? If you answered “yes,” then you might find the role of an incident analyst/responder to be an ideal fit.

As cyberattacks continue to rise, prospects for cybersecurity roles are at an all-time high. The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) projects that the number of positions in the field of cybersecurity will grow by 28% between 2016 and 2026. Stats like these serve as a solid indicator that incident analyst/responder vacancies will be plentiful for several years to come.

This article will explore the career path of an incident analyst/responder using insights from the CyberSeek Cybersecurity Career Pathway tool. This entry-level position is a great starting point for anyone looking to gain experience in the cybersecurity field. By the time you finish reading, you’ll have a much better understanding of the role progression, skills, certification and other prerequisites of this job.

Breakdown of Cybersecurity Career Pathway

CyberSeek’s Cybersecurity Career Pathway tool is designed to help both students and job seekers map out their desired career paths. Presented to you through an interactive interface, Career Pathway will teach you everything you need to know about the incident analyst/responder role. You’ll gain an understanding of the required skills, education, certifications, training and more. Salary expectations and the total number of job openings are also listed.

Professionals working in the cybersecurity industry can also benefit from Career Pathway. If you’re envisioning making a switch from an entry-level role to an incident analyst/responder position, the tool will provide you with detailed insights on what key skills and education you should gain for a seamless transition into your new role.

What does an incident analyst/responder do?

The role of an incident analyst/responder varies from company to company, but their main responsibility is to identify and respond to cyberintrusions.

An incident analyst achieves this by restricting access to company systems. The access will be first tapped off before it’s completely shut, as the analyst will want to obtain as much data on the attack as possible. Once this data has been captured, the access will be disconnected and countermeasures implemented to prevent such attacks in the future.

Average salary

Per CyberSeek, the average annual income you can expect is $99,000. Though this is higher than what you’d earn from other entry-level roles, the figure is based on the national average. The actual income that you’ll make at your particular firm is based upon various factors, including your work experience and the geographic region you reside in.

Common job titles

Job titles for incident analysts/responders may vary based on the organization, though this doesn’t necessarily mean the duties of the role itself are different. Companies may use the following titles when referring to this role:

  • Information security project manager
  • Security project manager
  • Senior analyst, information security
  • Cybersecurity consultant — incident response and forensics

Education

You’ll require education to get a job as an incident analyst/responder. However, there’s no threshold as to how much is needed. The most demanded education for this role is a bachelor’s degree, with 70% of hiring managers listing it as a must to employment. In second place is a graduate degree, which is requested by 23% of employers.

A sub-BA degree will satisfy only 6% of hiring managers. This implies that it’ll be a challenge to get a job unless you complete your BSc or above.

Top skills

To have a successful career as an incident analyst/responder, you’ll need a combination of technical skills like intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment. You will also need general business skills, such as project management. According to the Career Pathway tool, you should work on developing the following skills:

  • Information security
  • Project management
  • Information systems
  • Linux
  • Network security
  • Intrusion detection
  • UNIX
  • Security operations
  • Vulnerability assessment

Top certifications

When you sift through incident analyst/responder positions, you’ll discover that certifications are often required for this role. Most of the listed certifications teach you things that are directly related to your day-to-day tasks and duties. According to CyberSeek, the most requested certifications for the incident analyst/responder role include GIAC, CISSP, CISM, GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) and CISA.

Job vacancies

According to CyberSeek’s estimates, there are 6,605 total job openings for the role of incident analyst/responder and similar titles. The number, however, is based on the number of relevant positions posted on job websites and is a general forecast, as the total is based on job vacancies from September 2017 to August 2018.  

NICE Cybersecurity Framework categories

The job landscape in the cybersecurity field is complex and ever-changing. To assist those interested in entering the industry, NICE (National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education) has created a framework that nearly organizes relevant jobs into categories based on attributes, including technical competencies and duties associated with a role.

The incident analyst/responder’s job falls into the Protect and Defend category. This is defined as “Infrastructure and analysis assistance for incident response, cyber-defense, and vulnerability assessment and mitigation.”

Clicking on this category heading in CyberSeek’s Career Pathway will present you with a comprehensive drop-down list of knowledge, skills and abilities that incident analysts/responders gain in the workplace.

Future career paths

A career of incident analyst/responder will equip you with a robust set of skills that you can apply to several other roles within the cybersecurity industry. This versatility, along with the various career trajectories, makes incident analyst/responder jobs an excellent base for cybersecurity professionals.

When you’re ready and willing to work in mid-level roles, you have a range of options:

  • Cybersecurity consultant
  • Penetration and vulnerability tester
  • Cybersecurity analyst

Conclusion

When you’re exploring careers, having an interactive map certainly helps. When the destination of your journey is a working role in cybersecurity, you have an ultimate guide in the shape of the Career Pathway tool. The platform has the requirements listed down for you, including the level of education and certifications required for an incident analyst/responder role.

Whether you’ve just entered the cybersecurity industry or you’re a working professional with one more step to take before you become eligible for the incident analyst/responder position, you can use CyberSeek Career Pathway to find your way.

 

Sources

  1. Information Security Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. Career Pathway, CyberSeek
  3. NICE (National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, NICCS