What Skills Do You Need to Become a Cybersecurity Analyst?

When most people hear the term security analyst they think of a person who inspects the security of data centers. But the skill set necessary to become a security analyst is quite diverse. Read more to find out.

cyber security analyst skills

From penetration testing to ethical hacking, cybersecurity analysts must employ a breadth of technical skills to defend against security breaches. The collaborative nature of cyber event management demands that security analysts utilize strong interpersonal and decision-making skills alongside computer science expertise.

As cyber attacks become increasingly sophisticated, security analysts must operate a growing variety of tools and security systems to enact preventive measures. Keep reading to find out about the combination of skills, proficiencies, and qualifications you need to become a security analyst.

Learn more about how to become a security analyst here.

3 Essential Technical Skills for Cybersecurity Analysts

Security analysts employ hard skills to create secure networks, conduct vulnerability assessments, and implement risk management solutions.

Here are a few essential technical skills that all good cybersecurity analysts need:

  1. Reverse engineering. To patch bugs and conduct malware analysis, security analysts must disassemble code and evaluate software. This requires solid knowledge of various operating system architectures, particularly iOs, Windows, and Linux. Reverse engineering also demands proficiency with programming and scripting with languages like Python, Shell, Java, C++, and more.
  2. Application design. Security analysts must create secure interfaces and architectures within applications and test them throughout the software development lifecycle. This requires special attention to virtualization and data loss prevention and necessitates a functional understanding of confidentiality, integrity, availability, and other security software concepts.
  3. Firewall administration. Security analysts must install and maintain firewalls to filter inbound traffic and regulate access to an organization’s computer networks. This requires in-depth knowledge of hardware and software firewall infrastructures and mechanisms.

3 Crucial Soft Skills for Cybersecurity Analysts

Technical chops are only part of the job. Successful security analysts bring also strong interpersonal skills and critical thinking abilities to the table.

Here are some soft skills security analysts need:

  1. Communication skills. In the event of a cyber attack, a security analyst must communicate the problem and coordinate an incident response with other members of the security team. Remedial actions must be documented, and possible solutions must be clearly presented to management. Communication skills also play a vital role in facilitating training to address security policy and protocol.
  2. Curiosity. Successful security analysts continuously seek out new information pertaining to security software developments and the latest trends in cyber threats. An inquisitive approach to the field helps security analysts anticipate potential security issues and improve an organization’s repertoire of best practices.
  3. Attention to detail. Security threats are often dexterous and difficult to recognize. Minor changes to incoming traffic can reveal suspicious activity, and security analysts must recognize and interpret these small but significant indicators.

Key Tools and Programs for Cybersecurity Analysts

Security analysts should master the following tools and programs:

  1. Penetration testing software. Security analysts use network-based and host-based vulnerability management tools to test for and identify potential risks. This includes programs like Wireshark, which conducts network protocol analysis, as well as automated scanners like Netspark and Acunetix.
  2. Anti-virus software. These programs screen endpoint devices for malware. Security analysts install, monitor, and analyze data from programs like Malwarebytes, ESET endpoint security, and Webroot endpoint protection.
  3. SEIM tools. Programs like Solarwinds, Splunk, and IBM QRadar provide an overview of an organization’s general security position. Security analysts must implement and maintain these tools, in addition to interpreting the data and reports that they compile.

Important Certifications for Cybersecurity Analysts

Accreditations are valuable proof of advanced knowledge and an in-depth skill set. Certified security analysts are in demand across industries and often command higher average salaries.

Here are a few sought-after security analyst certifications:

  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker). This credential certifies security analysts in the discipline of ethical hacking, and indicates a mastery of skills necessary to evaluate systems and networks for vulnerabilities.
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). This elite international accreditation validates an expert-level ability to create, deploy, and manage a top cybersecurity program.

Is cybersecurity the right career for you?

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the cybersecurity industry is expected to have 3.5 million high-paying, unfilled jobs this year. With Springboard’s comprehensive Cyber Security Career Track, you’ll work 1:1 with an industry-mentor to learn key aspects of information technology, security software, security auditing, and finding and fixing malicious code. Learning units include subject-expert approved resources, application-based mini-projects, hands-on labs, and career-search related coursework.

The course will culminate in a multi-part capstone project that you can highlight on your resume for prospective employers or use to demonstrate your technical knowledge in your job interview. The learning materials will also help prepare you to pass the globally-recognized CompTIA Security+  certification so you stand out when applying for cybersecurity roles.

Learn more about Springboard’s Cyber Security Career Track here.

Ready to learn more?

Browse our Career Tracks and find the perfect fit