How to become a security analyst with no experience and degree

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20 January

You probably have searched for how to become a security analyst and this is why you are reading through this guide. This article will present comprehensive stuff on how to become an information security analyst, what to consider when finding a job, how to boost your professional career, and much more.

A few decades back, almost every business was operating manually with a lot of handwritten stuff. It was indeed a challenging job for the people who were working in the management roles. But, with the passage of time, technology started participating in different areas and business was one such sector. With the decent technological advancements, thousands of businesses have been shifted online in the last 10 years and this model is working perfectly well for them.

Right after the COVID-19 global lockdown, the markets were all closed and millions of people have lost their jobs. It was, without a doubt, a huge disappointment for the individuals and their families of course. During this era, 99% of brands started selling their products or services online. This helped people to resume their jobs but with different strategies this time.

Everything has gone under automation and digital communication has become an excellent tool to effectively perform your routine tasks, be it personal or professional. As far as the recent business models are concerned, electronic data is the biggest asset of every single brand operating either in the local or global markets. The protection of this data is a must for every business to keep things private.

Organizations invest billions of dollars to hire professional people and tools to protect their valuable and secret information. This is where a security analyst can help these organizations. Let’s get into the specifics now.

Who Actually Is an IT Security Analyst

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The students who have a plan to do something big in the Information Technology industry mostly search for “what is a security analyst”. Are you one of them?

Well, in simple words, a person who monitors and controls the computer networks and systems of an organization is commonly known as a security analyst. This is, without any doubt, a sensitive and crucial position because a security analyst is associated with protecting the digital stuff.

The protection of data involves the intensive use of analytical skills to make the digital system of a company secure. The security analysts utilize the data they have gathered to make recommendations on the efficiency and security of the whole network.

If a system is hacked or breached, security experts direct the industry’s efforts to resist such intrusion and keep it from happening again. These measures have the potential to stop a breach or mitigate the consequences it causes.

How To Be A Successful Information Security Analyst

It is an inevitable reality that technology is continually evolving. Therefore, the software and hardware tools to transmit, store, analyze, and encrypt data are upgrading their features and performance every now and then.

Do you want to be a successful security analyst? Are you willing to serve this industry in the long run? All you need to do is to keep yourself updated regarding the latest security networks and systems and cyber-attack tactics.

The tools and approaches to manage and oversee data keep on changing but the final goal always remains the same - protecting vital information of any business.

2 Steps To Become A Security Analyst

Building a career as a security analyst is nothing less than a miracle for those who have always dreamed of getting involved in this particular domain and observing how computer system networks work. Well, a safe security analyst career path can help you achieve your dreams following the right strategies.

Let’s have a look at the two most important parameters you need to serve the information security industry.

1. Acquire A Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a bachelor’s degree is a must to secure your dream job because almost all companies and big organizations prefer to hire qualified individuals. A bachelor’s degree in computer sciences, cybersecurity, or any other technology-related domain can help you grab the right position in a reputed firm.

If you are looking to get deeply involved in computer security networks in an undergraduate position, you can choose degrees focused on the management of information systems. It will be quite useful to implement your technical skills in a business context.

A bachelor’s degree with a focus on managing information systems can help you have a closer look at all important steps including but not limited to designing, developing, implementing, and monitoring the security systems of an organization. Such degrees act as a bridge between universities and relevant industries thereby reducing the gap between academic and practical life.

A degree not only enhances your knowledge in the information security domain but also helps you improve your skillset. This way, you get in a position to deal with a number of computer-related challenges.

2. Get Hands-On Experience

A degree makes you eligible to apply for the relevant opportunities but practical experience attracts hiring managers to give you a chance. So, both are equally important. This is why many professionals suggest you add hands-on experience to your resume to increase the chances of securing your dream job.

If you are a fresh graduate, you can apply for entry-level security analyst jobs to get some practical exposure under the supervision of trained and experienced professionals. You will find the industrial environment very different from the academic one but you will be happy while implementing your virtual knowledge in real life.

Hundreds of undergraduate students - studying in the final year - get curious about entry-level security analyst positions in well-known companies and look for the proper strategies to secure a good job with a handsome salary.

In case you are unable to find any permanent position, the internships will work well for you. These opportunities can help you work on your practical skills and enhance them while working with skilled professionals.

What Can Add Extra Value To Your Career As A Security Analyst

Well, as discussed above, degree and experience both are important to become a worthy security analyst. But, the question coming to your mind would be; is there any way to stand out in the market and achieve something bigger that people usually don’t do? Are you looking to explore this particular query? Let’s find out the answer.

Pursue Master’s Degree In Cybersecurity To Enhance Your Career

You can enter the industry with a bachelor’s degree but the chances to grab high-paying and managerial posts become higher with an advanced degree like “Masters in Cyber Security”. Are you concerned about how to get a job as a cyber security analyst and excel in this domain, you should go for a master's degree? It will surely add extra value to your professional career.

These programs expose you to both academic and practical concepts being implemented in the real world. A number of experienced mentors recommend a master’s degree to enjoy wonderful cybersecurity careers. An advanced degree alone can open a couple of doors and it addresses the students' concerns regarding how to become a cyber security analyst.

Earn Relevant Certificates

Do you know why seniors often ask you to do some relevant certifications to stand out among other candidates? Well, there are three major reasons (as listed below) behind this fact.

  1. Compared to degrees, you need less time to complete different certificates
  2. Certifications directly make you jump into the practical domain and implement your knowledge
  3. They keep you updated with the latest tools and strategies being implemented in local and international markets

There are many organizations that prefer hiring candidates having relevant certificates along with a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, valuable certifications can be fruitful for you to secure a safe cyber security career roadmap.

Popular Certificates For A Security Analyst

The three frequently utilized information security credentials are listed below.

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): It provides you with general information on security systems.
  • Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst (CREA): It is more focused on malware analysis skill development.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): It displays the ability to legally breach a network’s security system in order to uncover flaws.

Important Note: Both advanced degrees and certifications are optional. You are not bound to do them but it is a fact that they add extra value to the credibility of your professional exposure.

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Successful Security Analyst

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Well, strong analytical skills along with an in-depth understanding of digital systems and computer networks are major ingredients for a great information security analyst. You need these skills to spot faults that can lead to hacking and to assess how effective the security measures are.

In addition, excellent problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities are also a must for any security analyst professional. These skills help an individual or a team to fix a security-related issue. A good information security analyst always keeps a close eye on the system’s performance and monitors even a slight change that can lead to different challenges in the near future.

Furthermore, a security analyst must be a proactive individual to solve technical faults with a creative mind and unique protection strategies. All these abilities can help any organization to effectively deal with cyber attacks before they start damaging the systems.

Cyber security analyst job description

The major responsibilities included in the information security analyst job description are:

  • Ensuring digital security of a business or organization
  • Analyzing security protocols and other policies
  • Auditing to monitor the performance of the network security system of a company
  • Determining what could be the future threats for the computer systems and how to deal with them
  • Assessing every latest technology or approach to mitigate cyber-attacks to protect computers and digital data
  • Customizing a software tool to make it perform exactly according to the company’s needs
  • Developing an efficient security system within the company’s budget
  • Government security analysts also audit different contractors who write security programs

They are all general responsibilities that almost every information security analyst fulfills. But, different companies may add or remove any of the above-mentioned steps.

What Salary Can You Expect As A Security Analyst

Though it requires a lot of effort, dedication, and consistency to become a well-known security analyst, it pays off when it comes to earning potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the United States published a study in 2017 where the average yearly salary for an information security analyst was $95,500.

Well, the security analyst's salary may vary from employer to employer. It also depends on some other factors including but not limited to skills, experience, and location of the job. BLS declared this field an exponentially rising domain and it has the potential to grow up to 28% by 2026. It is much faster in comparison to any other business.

The reason behind the quick expected growth of this field is; cyber attacks are increasing every now and then for automated businesses and they need to be addressed. This has convinced researchers and security analysts to participate actively and overcome these challenges.

Few Important Tips

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The 4 valuable tips for a security analyst to be a productive individual are listed below.

  • Make use of the right security techniques
  • Always perform tasks in a team and never try to work alone
  • Eliminate all inefficient processes
  • Streamline challenging and time-consuming manual tasks and procedures

Final Words

Do you have an interest in computer systems? Curious about how precisely they work to protect digital data? If yes, information security is the domain for you to adopt as a career. The future of a security analyst seems pretty bright as there are thousands of opportunities available in the particular domain and they are increasing every single day. It is an excellent field to earn a handsome amount as well.

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