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Career Definition of a Cyber Security Analyst
Cyber security analysts - also known as information security analysts - plan and implement security protocols and measures designed to protect computer networks and systems from cyber attacks and network breaches. In the event of a security breach, they create reports based upon their findings; these reports document any damage already done to a network and the measures that can be implemented to prevent any further attacks. Cyber security analysts also conduct research into the latest trends in information and systems security.
Analysts work with an organization's senior-level IT staff as well as upper-level management to create and implement best practices and protocols. Analysts study an organization's network and suggest security measures to these supervisors. Analysts must also assist end users in learning about and new security procedures and installing new products.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree in such fields as computer science, programming, or information assurance; some employers also prefer that candidates possess a Master of Business Administration in an IT-related field|
|Job Skills||Strong analytical skills, attention to detail, ingenuity and problem-solving skills, expert knowledge of networks and network security systems and protocols|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$95,510|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||28% growth|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Cyber security specialists need a bachelor's degree in computer science or programming. Degrees in information assurance or a related field might also be suitable for career entry. Increasingly, employers seek applicants with a Master of Business Administration in addition to a bachelor's degree. Many employers also look for candidates who have earned certification in information security, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Previous work experience in network administration, database administration, or a related field is also a common requirement.
Because threats of cyber attacks on a network are a constant risk, cyber security analysts must have the analytical skills needed to discover vulnerabilities and determine how security protocols and policies can be improved. Attention to detail is crucial because cyber attacks are difficult to detect; therefore, an analyst must monitor even the most minor changes in network performance as a possible sign of a breach. Ingenuity and strong problem-solving skills are crucial because analysts must be able to anticipate new threats and attacks and implement means to stop them; security alerts require rapid response.
Career Outlook and Salary
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that employment growth for cyber security analysts is expected to be 28% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average. Due to the rise in frequency of cyber attacks, the BLS notes that demand for cyber security analysts will continue to grow to keep pace with these attacks. In May 2017, the annual median income for a cyber security analyst was $95,510.
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