Select Page

Post University Blog

If you are the kind of person who is constantly updating the firewall and antivirus software on all your digital devices, you may be interested in taking your knowledge of information technology (IT) protection to the next level. Professional cyber security analysts protect the massive computer networks of corporations and organizations from breaches of all kinds.  

Read on to learn more about the cyber security analyst profession and the functions cyber security analysts serve. 

What Is aCyberSecurity Analyst? 

An IT professional with a concentrated focus, the cyber security analyst protects organizations and their individual members from cyberattacks. As part of their overall computer system and network protection efforts, cyber security analysts perform specific functions that include reviewing suspicious online activities, reporting security breaches, and responding to them promptly. 

Although dealing directly with the actions of cyberattackers is certainly an essential part of a cyber security analyst’s job, the typical workday in this field focuses on cyberattack prevention and network resilience. This might mean installing new threat protection and security control measures, creating and optimizing cyberattack contingency plans, or educating organization members on cyber security best practices. To accomplish all these tasks and more, cyber security analysts must stay up to date on the very latest trends in IT. 

Why Pursue a Career inCyber Security? 

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), cybercrime and cyber insecurity now stand alongside climate change and forced population displacement as some of today’s biggest existential threats to humanity. A relative newcomer to this list, cybercrime now ranks eighth on WEF’s list of the top 10 most severe global risks over the next 10 years. As cyberattacks and threats become more and more prevalent, the significance of cyber security simply cannot be ignored. 

In organizations of all kinds, a high volume of professional activity and personal information is processed digitally. This is where cyber security professionals come in. They hep to protect organizations and help them address network and system breaches when they occur. Part bodyguard and part rescuer, the cyber security analyst has the power to defend a company against attack and come to the rescue during times of need. 

How to Become aCyberSecurity Analyst 

Although there is no single, universal path to a career in cyber security analysis, a degree can be valuable in kickstarting your knowledge of the field. According to Dice, employers are still a mixed bag when it comes to requirements. Some employers prefer a degree while others prefer experience.  

Additionally, adding industry certifications, such as the Computing Technology Industry Association’s Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+) will help you expand on your knowledge and expertise. Other desirable certifications include the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). (For more information about all these designations, see the “Certifications for Cyber Security Analysts” section toward the end of this article.)  

While training and credentials are important, you cannot underestimate the power of professional experience as a cyber security analyst. Start building a strong resume today by filling support roles in the industry either by finding paid employment or completing internships, practicums, or apprenticeships. You should also look for strong career mentors. 

What AreCyberSecurity AnalystRoles and Responsibilities? 

To effectively protect against and respond to cyberattacks, cyber security analysts must employ processes and strategies tailored to meet the specific needs and limitations of the sector, organization, and workplace. However, the following five roles and responsibilities are common among all cyber security analysts: 

Security Plan Development 

These plans offer management expert suggestions and best practices for strong cyber security. 

Software Management 

Analysts must establish and confirm adequate software security measures on computer systems and networks throughout an organization. 

Network Monitoring 

After ensuring all systems and networks are fully protected, analysts must diligently monitor them to detect suspicious activity and respond accordingly. 


Keeping accurate records and filing comprehensive reports on safety and security matters is integral to the cyber security analyst position. 


Analysts must constantly engage in research to remain vigilant against evolving threats and develop appropriate strategies to protect against cyberattacks. 

What Are the Important Skills forCyber SecurityAnalysts? 

From highly technical abilities like coding to the necessary psychological aptitude to “think like a hacker,” there are many important skills for the average cyber security analyst to master. 

Scripting: Know Your Code 

A basic understanding of scripting lets a cyber security analyst recognize encoded threats and rewrite code, if needed, to safeguard organization data. Useful programming languages to learn include Java and C++. 

Hacking Skills: Think Like aHacker 

Hackers are always employing new tools and tactics, so a cyber security analyst must learn to think like a hacker to provide optimum protection and improve breach response. Though we think of hackers as dangerous criminals, the so-called “ethical hacker” uses the powers of the hacker for good rather than evil by identifying and addressing cyber security weaknesses. 

Network Expertise 

It should go without saying that cyber security analysts must have a firm grasp of the computer networks they are tasked with protecting. This means maintaining a comprehensive and current understanding of a diverse array of networks and how their individual features might affect an organization’s cyber security. 

Systems Expertise 

Cyber security analysts must also have a strong working knowledge of the computer systems they protect. For optimum positioning in the employment market, an analyst should be comfortable working with multiple operating systems—from Windows to iOS to Linux to Android. 

Certifications forCyber SecurityAnalysts 

We have also mentioned several important professional certifications previously which include the Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+) certificate of the Computing Technology Industry Association. Concentrating on fundamental technical skills, the CSA+; these are some of the more common certificates. However, the following certifications could be extremely helpful for both entry-level and experienced cyber security analysts: 

Certified EthicalHackerCertification 

As the “good guys” of the hacker world, ethical hackers even have their own badge of honor. Created and administered by the IT and e-commerce authority EC-Council, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) designation both validates your hacking abilities and confirms your intent to use them lawfully and for legitimate ends. 

CISSP Certification 

The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC) issues the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential to recognize “expertise in defining the IT architecture and in designing, building, and maintaining a secure business environment using globally approved information security standards.” 

CISA Certification 

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), by contrast, possesses verified and essential proficiency in skills related to auditing, control, and security of information systems. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) issues this internationally respected cyber security designation. 



If you are considering a career as a cyber security analyst, you have likely pondered one of the following frequently asked questions. Read on for some of the answers you are looking for. 

Q: How Long Does It Take to Become aCyberSecurity Analyst? 

A: If you have read this far in this article, you already know there is more than one way to become a cyber security analyst. In fact, you should let your own particular and unique career aspirations guide you toward a successful and rewarding career in cyber security analysis. 

That said, it can take months to a few years depending on your career path. Some may be able to enter the field by learning on their own and using independent experience to acquire a career while others may require schooling in the form of certifications or degrees. It all depends on your education, and where you want to take your cyber career! 

Q: How Hard Is It to Become aCyberSecurity Analyst? 

A: Although the road to becoming a cyber security analyst is neither short nor easy, you should not necessarily be intimidated by this professional field, even if you have not always been the best student in the class. While recognizing that the field requires a unique blend of technical, conceptual, and strategic capabilities, the authoritative cyber security software manufacturer UpGuard declares that “cyber security isn’t hard.” 

The field contains a few areas, such as cryptography, that tend to be a bit more challenging. Yet overall, a general education in cyber security is not overly dense in terms of technological jargon or complex computational procedures. UpGuard highlights factors such as critical thinking, effective problem-solving, attention to detail, and a passion for continual learning as sought-after characteristics in a cyber security analyst. 

Q: How Do I Become an EthicalHacker? 

A: As discussed above, the ethical hacker uses hacking techniques to bypass an organization’s cyber security measures with the goal of uncovering areas of vulnerability and preventing computer system or network data breaches. In fact, many people who engaged in illegal hacking activities in their youth ultimately find work as ethical hackers as a way to keep on the “straight and narrow.” 

But how do you become an ethical hacker without engaging in “training” that is questionable in nature? The first step toward a successful, fulfilling career as an ethical hacker is developing a strong command of the Linux/Unix operating system and the C programming language. Two of the most popular operating systems among hackers, Linux and Unix support an open-source structure that offers many tools for hackers. Because Linux and Unix are written entirely in C, aspiring ethical hackers must also master this fundamental programming language. 

To decipher encrypted data, hackers—both ethical and otherwise—should be well-versed in cryptography. They should also have a strong understanding of networking concepts and measures that include: 

  • Subnetting  
  • Network masks 
  • Classless inter-domain routing 
  • Domain name service  
  • Address resolution  
  • Server message block  
  • Simple Network Management Protocol  

Beyond traditional computer networks, ethical hackers should explore wireless, Bluetooth, supervisory control/data acquisition, and CAN automobile networks. Ethical hackers must also learn how to hide their identity online and perhaps even navigate the various corners of the dark web—a hidden part of the internet that requires a highly specialized, anonymizing browser to access. 

To accomplish all this and more, aspiring ethical hackers would be wise to learn from others who have gone before them. Beyond pursuing a college education in computer science or IT, you should reach out to communities and forums of fellow ethical hackers if you want to pursue a career in this area. 


Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!

Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s programs and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.