A Cybersecurity Analyst is responsible for monitoring a company's computer infrastructure and network, keeping all of their sensitive information secure. Their specific responsibilities can vary widely but generally include:
- Controlling access to files
- Maintaining firewalls
- Updating networks
- Attempting to hack the systems they were hired to protect to find vulnerabilities
Just about every business you can think of needs a Cybersecurity Analyst because security risks are an ever-present danger for any system or program connected to the Internet. Hackers are always looking for new ways to exploit networks, damage systems, and steal data. It's no wonder the number of cybersecurity job postings has grown over three times faster than the overall IT market since 2013.
With this demand, it really doesn't matter if you graduated with a computer science degree, completed a boot camp, or taught yourself cybersecurity. Businesses are just looking to hire people with the right skills and technical experience to get the job done. Read on to see how you can land a job in this lucrative field.
Determine what you want to specialize in
There are many things you can do as a Cybersecurity Analyst, so you'll want to start with an end in mind. While learning the basic skills that all Cybersecurity Analysts need is a necessity, specializing in one aspect of security will help you stand out in the marketplace. Here are a few specialties:
- Cryptographer: Cryptographers use various encryption tools to keep sensitive information safe from attackers.
- Penetration Tester: Penetration Testers attempt to hack a system to identify and address vulnerabilities.
- Security Engineer: Security Engineers design systems and software that defend against cyberthreats.
- Security Administrator: Security Administrators are similar to Security Engineers, but they're responsible for an entire network.
- Forensic Computer Analyst: Forensic Analysts solve data crimes by examining systems and software that have been attacked to determine who the culprits are and prevent similar attacks in the future.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): CISO's are C-level executives who know the ins and outs of the cybersecurity landscape and are responsible for hiring and managing cybersecurity staff.
But this list is just the beginning. For more details, check out our article on six in-demand cybersecurity careers. Once you've decided which role you want to pursue, you can start building your skills.
Build your cybersecurity skills
Because cybersecurity involves working with various systems and networks, you'll need a solid foundation of technical knowledge and skills. To start, check out our Introduction to Cybersecurity course to start learning essential concepts and basic cybersecurity practices. Once you've completed this, it's time to building your skills.
Knowing the basics of coding will help you immensely, as you'll better understand the various components of the networks and systems you'll need to protect. Our Code Foundations Skill Path is a great way to learn basic coding principles and syntax. After, consider learning Python as the language is often used to write scripts that test a network's security — which is a vital skill if you're looking to become a Penetration Tester.
Make it through the hiring process
Once you've built your cybersecurity skills, it's time to start applying for jobs. Below, we'll briefly walk you through two key elements of the hiring process: portfolio building and interviewing.
Having a solid portfolio and being well-prepared for your interviews will not only give you more confidence but also help you stand out from other candidates and increase your chances of landing the job. Here are the steps involved.
Depending on which cybersecurity role you pursue, you may not need a portfolio — but it'll definitely help you make a good impression. While you're learning to code, take on projects that illustrate the skills you'll need in your future career.
For example, as Penetration Testers need to be familiar with open-source scripts and software, you could contribute to an open-source pen-testing project on GitHub. Then, make sure you add a link to your LinkedIn account to show recruiters what you can do.
For more information, check out our guide on building a technical portfolio.
The first step in getting any cybersecurity job is the initial phone screening. Phone screenings allow employers to get a sense of your personality and how well you'd fit in as part of their team. You usually won't have to get very technical on this first phone call. Just show your interest and enthusiasm for cybersecurity, and you should easily pass this step.
In-person or virtual interview
After you pass the phone screening, you'll be invited to an actual interview. This may be held in person or over video chat. The interview length will vary based on the seniority of the open position, and the questions will be more specific than those in the phone screening.
This part of the interview process is a two-way street. The employer wants to determine if you can do the job, but your questions should help you decide whether or not you want to work for the company.
If the in-person or virtual interview goes well, the next step is a technical interview. This is where you'll put the skills you learned to use, so review what you learned beforehand and practice your responses.
Technical interviews usually involve solving a technical problem similar to those you'll face in the role. Don't worry about having the right answer — your interviewer is far more concerned with your approach to solving a problem. As you work through your solution, be sure to explain your reasoning.
Ready to launch your career in cybersecurity? There's no better time to get started. The first step is to build your skills, and our Introduction to Cybersecurity course will get you going with the basics. After completing the course, you'll know how to identify and protect networks and software against the most common cybersecurity threats and attacks.
To take your skills further, our User Authentication & Authorization in Express course will teach you how to use one of the most popular frameworks used in cybersecurity today.