The importance of data cannot be underestimated, considering modern technological advancements. For many individuals, businesses, and governments, data has become akin to a currency with which business is transacted smoothly. Records of past, present, and future dealings also must be protected to ensure the continuance and sustenance of business without restriction.
Hence, an information security analyst is increasingly needed to protect and guard data against cybersecurity breaches. This article discusses the role of an information security analyst in any organization and how readers can become one, including the technical skills and theoretical background they should have.
Who Are Information Security Analysts, and What Do They Do?
Information security analysts are information systems/technology professionals who defend computer networks against threats, data breaches, hacking, or other emergencies that characterize the security of technology assets. They are found in every industry that relies on computer systems and data, such as sales, marketing, and insurance.
The specifics of an information security analyst’s responsibility may vary depending on the industry they’re employed in. As an information security analyst, your responsibilities typically include the following:
- Analyzing metrics
- Investigating security breaches
- Maintaining data encryption programs
- Establishing organization security standards
To ensure that senior staff are aware of security enhancements, information security analysts keep themselves up to date on the latest developments in IT security. When an organization or company acquires new security products, it’s the role of the information security analyst to assist users with the installation and operational modes of these products.
How to Become an Information Security Analyst
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of information security analysts to grow 35% from 2021-2031, considerably faster than the average growth for all occupations. According to PayScale, an information security analyst can earn up to $74,603 annually, excluding other benefits that may accrue.
This figure may increase in correlation with the knowledge and expertise that you offer. The steps below outline how you can become an information security analyst and earn a spot in this prestigious occupation.
1. Get a Degree in Computer Science/Engineering
The minimum requirement for employment as an information security analyst for most companies is a degree in computer science or a related field. If you want to acquire a higher education degree to become an information security analyst, then a computer science degree or its equivalent is your best option.
You’ll learn the basics and advanced principles that apply to this profession from experts in a formal learning institute. Moreover, you’ll be able to compete with the best minds in the industry upon completing the program. Your degree certificate will also prove your knowledge of this field to potential employers.
2. Attend a Cybersecurity Bootcamp
If you’re unwilling to spend thousands of hours (and dollars) on getting a college degree in IT/computer science, you may settle for a bootcamp. Bootcamps are relatively short and often compress a formal institution’s curriculum into a shorter period.
For many bootcamps, students can get hands-on experience through workshops and group work. Hence, they are exposed to the theoretical aspects of information security analysis and immersed in practical work. Cybersecurity bootcamps are often conducted with industry experts, enabling them to infuse up-to-date industry standards and trends into the curriculum.
Here are a few to get you started.
3. Take Online Courses and Professional Certification Programs
U.S. News & World Report lists information security analyst as the best job in 2022. This rank is due to the relevance of the role in conjunction with the high demand for it.
For many organizations, you can be hired as an information security analyst if you have relevant knowledge from online courses or a professional certificate. There are a number of massive open online courses (MOOCs) available that cover important IT concepts, including data analysis and its importance. You can conveniently complete them online for little or no fee at all.
Below are some examples of these courses to help you get started.
4. Learn the Required Technical Skills and Tools
You must keep supplementing your current skills with relevant ones because the difference between those at the peak and the bottom of a career ladder is often knowledge and skills. As an information security analyst, you need expertise in cybersecurity, computer programming, and ethical hacking. Additionally, you must know how to use Kali Linux, Python, Ubuntu, and NumPy, among others.
Finally, attending seminars, conferences, and workshops may be instrumental to an employee’s technical growth and development. You can engage with like-minded people to find relevant industry trends and skills to acquire to gain an edge over competitors.
5. Write a Strong Technical Resume
The first contact every employer has with a potential employee is their resume. Your resume must be catchy and captivating to make a good first impression and come off as a smart professional. Ensure you don’t include irrelevant and ambiguous details to show off your skills.
Keep your details short and simple, because hiring managers might not be patient enough to swipe through multiple pages. So, your resume must buttress related experiences. However, if you’re new to the field, try out hands-on projects to present a more attractive portfolio. Finally, listing relevant hard and soft skills in your resume is always a huge plus.
6. Find Related Roles to Gain Experience
The popular saying that practice makes perfect applies to occupations requiring technical skills. Even if you do not get perfect at a go, your chances of getting better increase the more you put your existing knowledge and skills into practice.
Participating in workshops, bootcamps, and internships are great ways to gain and improve your IT experience. Even if your work is unpaid at this stage, the experience and knowledge you gain usually pay off.
You may even take online courses to start entry-level roles in cybersecurity, data analysis, and business analysis. These will also give you useful experience when you finally assume a full information system analysis role.
Become an Information Security Analyst Today
Digitalization of this age has made the world a global village. This development has made data relevant in almost every sector, from the individual to the organizational level. However, cybercrime is also becoming rampant, threatening the safety of data needed for business operations.
Thus, information security analysts minimize cyber threats and safeguard and preserve data. Following the steps above will help you to earn a spot as an information security analyst and enjoy the benefits.