We all know the demand for cyber security professionals is high and will only continue to grow in the coming years while the availability of aptly skilled individuals remains limited. Now really is the time to consider whether a career in cyber security is right for you.
With lucrative salaries on the horizon and new technologies continuing to direct the flow of industry, cyber security analysts are among those that will see growing opportunity. The amount of data circulating is only increasing and with it the risk and financial impact of cyber security threats. In response to the flailing consumer confidence and tightening of government regulations, businesses are finally sitting up and prioritising the need for a robust cyber security defence.
The role of cyber security analyst is particularly crucial in mitigating attacks as their prime responsibility is to root out weaknesses in the infrastructure of an organisation in order to prevent threats from manifesting.
In charge of sustaining effective security measures and controls, implementing protocols to protect information systems against unauthorised access, modification or destruction, performing vulnerability testing, anticipating security alerts, and analysing security breaches are just some of the elements involved in the job of a cyber security analyst.
Knowledge of programming languages such as C, C++, Java or PHP is useful for individuals in an analyst role, in addition to being fluent with the various tools and jargon involved in the cyber security space.
This is a role that requires the technical skills to handle all of the aforementioned responsibilities but so too there is the need for strength in communication. You will likely find yourself tasked with the training of fellow employees in the organisation’s security procedures, as well as coordinating security plans with third parties outside of the company.
Good communication will also come in handy when you take your recommendations to the senior echelons of your company. Your analysis of the copious amounts of data working its way through the organisation is imperative to influencing necessary changes though your primary role is to act as first line of defence against attackers.
Whether you apply for data security analyst jobs, Information system security analyst, IT security analyst or indeed cyber security analyst, you will be looking a salary of around £40,000. Demonstrating the wide range of hard and soft skills you’ve picked up in the 3-5 years of industry experience most employers will be looking for in potential candidates, will certainly push you ahead of the competition.
If your academic pursuits have led you down the path of computer science or technology, then the field of cyber security may not be an unrealistic goal. However, that’s not to say that candidates coming from less obvious backgrounds won’t have as great a chance of installing themselves in a cyber security analyst position. Experience, relevant training and certifications can in some cases make up for less traditional bachelor degrees.
Talking certifications, the MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) cert offers fundamental knowledge of security, from operating systems to network and software security. Bonus, you’re not required to bring any prior experience to the table. This is an ideal certification for both an entry level candidate or for someone making a career switch further down the track.
The CompTIA Security+ is perhaps one of the most popular entry level certs, though be advised, it does require some relevant experience to pass. It covers everything from cryptography and risk management to host and data security and problem solving. Other options include the CEH, ECSA, GSEC, GCIH, GCIA and CISSP.
Ultimately, employers and hiring managers are looking for individuals prone to creative thinking with a proven passion and commitment to security and its rapid and complex development.
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- How to become a Cyber Security Consultant
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- A Day in the Life of a Security Analyst