How to Become a Cybersecurity Analyst – Career Guide

Many businesses today will hire Cybersecurity Analysts to keep their computer systems, data, and networks safe from breaches that can happen online at any time.

Cybersecurity Analyst

A Cybersecurity Analyst is responsible for keeping watch of important information and if anything happens to the computer network, they are there to identify and alert for possible attacks.

To do well as a Cybersecurity Analyst, you’ll need to have a great understanding of computers and digital assets of businesses.

Job Description

A Cybersecurity Analyst is a security guard for the computer network of a business.

A Cybersecurity Analyst must create safety measures to ensure that the business as well as their clients are in good hands and their information won’t get leaked to those who may use it for nefarious reasons.

Throughout your day as a Cybersecurity Analyst, you’ll spend your time:

  • Detecting and identifying cyber attacks
  • Documenting incidents
  • Monitoring network traffic
  • Writing reports
  • Installing firewalls and encryption programs
  • Finding and fixing vulnerability issues
  • Performing threat assessments


Working in this field comes with a lot of responsibility and knowledge of computers and online safety procedures.

That is why the average salary for a Cybersecurity Analyst is $78,752 per year.

This is about $37.86 per hour and $1,514 each week.

Those who are just beginning their career as a Cybersecurity Analyst will typically begin with a salary closer to $37,479.

As a beginner, your hourly salary will be $18 which adds up to $720 each week.

However, with time, experience, and extended education, you could make over $119,844 as a Cybersecurity Analyst.

A senior Cybersecurity Analyst will have an hourly pay rate of approximately $57 and a weekly salary of $2,304.

Salary Information by State

State Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
District of Columbia1,750$132,200$63.56$177,240$84,300
New Hampshire680$135,320$65.06$189,750$82,220
New Jersey5,900$129,330$62.18$173,310$82,900
New Mexico1,820$119,010$57.21$165,170$70,220
New York7,260$138,730$66.70$215,550$76,450
North Carolina6,040$122,580$58.94$175,320$76,100
North Dakota250$90,130$43.33$130,850$50,220
Rhode Island510$110,880$53.31$164,470$71,840
South Carolina1,350$102,270$49.17$139,750$56,620
South Dakota710$97,800$47.02$129,790$70,400
West Virginia210$92,350$44.40$141,760$37,370
Puerto Rico410$57,650$27.72$82,880$30,200

Annual Average Salary: Top 10 States

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $138,730.

These are the top 10 earning states in the field:

  • New York - $138,730
  • California - $137,600
  • Maryland - $135,920
  • New Hampshire - $135,320
  • Washington - $132,820
  • Iowa - $132,590
  • District of Columbia - $132,200
  • Virginia - $131,340
  • Delaware - $130,360
  • New Jersey - $129,330
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Information Security Analysts, OCC Code 15-1212, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become

1. Get an Education

Considering a career as a Cybersecurity Analyst means that you will need to be well educated on computers, databases, networks, and how all of these can impact someone’s business positively or negatively.

The best way to begin this career is to earn a bachelor’s degree.

There are plenty of online and in-person programs that will allow you to earn your degree in just four years.

It is important to consider a relevant program, such as Cyber Security, Computer and Information Technology, or even math or technology.

Classes will consist of exciting and interesting topics like:

  • Informations Systems Security
  • Information Technology and Networking
  • Technical Project Management
  • Digital Forensics

With this type of degree, you will learn how to apply principles of computing to identify and create solutions as well as design and implement programs to help keep businesses safe.

There are options for people who do not wish to complete a bachelor’s degree, and that comes in the form of accelerated bootcamp style programs which are accredited and can take as little as five weeks to finish.

2. Gain Skills

During your schooling or even before you begin, you may want to consider gaining some skills that will help you in your goal of becoming a Cybersecurity Analyst.

First and foremost, you will want to learn the jargon of the internet, as well as tools and a basic overview of what cybersecurity looks like.

Other examples of great ways to get acquainted with this field include:

  • Programming such as C, C++, Java, and Python
  • Understanding of operating systems like iOS, PC, and Linux
  • Data storage and management
  • Network systems and security

This can be done at home on your own time, or you can take courses online to help you understand and maybe even earn a certification.

3. Expand Your Experience

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a Cybersecurity Analyst does and the intricacies of computers and the internet, it is time to get some experience.

You won’t be able to just jump right into a Cybersecurity Analyst role, instead, you may want to consider other IT roles.

A career as an IT specialist could mean that you help others diagnose and treat issues on their computers with bugs, viruses, and more.

Or, you could work as an application developer, helping people get their apps off and running.

If this doesn’t sound like something that you would want to do, consider interning, freelancing, or volunteering to help those around you complete their cybersecurity tasks.

This can be unpaid work helping friends, coworkers, or family, or you could find job websites that consist of freelance work where you will be paid for a job well done.

Whatever it is that you decide to do to get yourself more acquainted with the role of a Cybersecurity Analyst the better chance you will have of earning a rewarding career.

4. Become Certified

With all your experience, education, and knowledge of cybersecurity, it may now be the best time to become certified in the area.

Certification as a Cybersecurity Analyst is not a requirement to gain employment, but employers do enjoy seeing certifications on a resume.

You can find a variety of Cybersecurity Analyst certifications on the internet, and many of them are done right online.

They could take anywhere from five weeks to several months to complete, depending on the type of Cybersecurity Analyst certification you are looking for.

In many cases, you will learn current trends in cybersecurity, implement ways to detect and defend systems, and respond to threats promptly.

Most certifications will require that you complete an exam to be fully certified.

These exams consist of multiple-choice questions and some written answers.

A typical Cybersecurity Analyst certification exam requires that you have at least 75% to pass.

Then, once you complete the certification, you will be mailed or emailed your certificate that you can display proudly.


Cybersecurity Analysts will have the easiest time finding a job when they have at least a bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree is a four-year program that provides optimum education in a variety of subjects.

To do the best in this field, you will want to gain knowledge in Cyber Security, Cyber Defense, or other computer science-related fields.

You may even be able to get a great Cybersecurity Analyst job with a degree in math or technology.

There are options both online and in person for many of these degrees, and those who are looking to become a Cybersecurity Analyst should consider taking relevant classes.

Classes will be computer-based for the most part, and provide insight into topics such as:

  • Software Security
  • Programming
  • Cyber Ethics
  • Discrete Structures

You will typically spend the first year of your Bachelor’s degree completing general education courses, and then you will be immersed in more specialized classes.

Throughout your time earning your degree, you may want to consider volunteering or interning at companies that will help you get your foot in the door once you graduate.

An internship or volunteer work can be done with friends, families, or even local businesses that you may see may have issues with their online presence.

The best thing to do is ask around or apply to companies that provide online options so that you can help them with their security on the internet.

Interning may look like a temporary position at a company, which can last from six months to a year, or even become permanent once you earn your degree.

Those who want even more out of their education can choose to complete a master’s degree after earning their Bachelor’s.

This will help you toward senior roles as a Cybersecurity Analyst and can take about two years to complete.

Some people may not be interested in such a long-term education, and that is alright as there are plenty of boot-style programs to choose from as well.

These programs can take several weeks to a couple of months to complete, and offer an accelerated experience to gain the same type of knowledge.

No matter what you choose, make sure that you begin a program that is accredited and applies basic principles of cybersecurity.

Licensing & Certification

While it is not a requirement to be certified to work as a Cybersecurity Analyst, you may find that employers enjoy this type of commitment.

With certification, you will show that you know what you are doing in the field and that you have a basic understanding of complex systems and programs.

Plus, education is valuable when considering all the ways the internet and cybersecurity change on a day-to-day basis.

As a Cybersecurity Analyst, there are some popular choices for certification.

First, is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

This certification is a six-day boot camp that can be done online, in person or a mixture of the two.

Within this program, you’ll learn the basics of cybersecurity and technical security controls.

Then, you will take an exam that you will need to have at least 75% to pass.

For the exam, you will want to study security and risk management, engineering, security operations, and more.

Another popular certification is the CompTIA CySA+, which will allow you to detect incidents, prevent problems, and continually monitor systems.

This certification can also be done online or in person, depending on your desires.

Within this program, you’ll learn how to understand security operations, manage vulnerabilities, respond to problems, and report issues.

The exam is 85 questions long and requires at least 75% to pass.

Tests are available through the online format or in person at a testing center near you.

Most certifications to become a Cybersecurity Analyst will cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000.

The more experience and education you have in this field, the better chance you will have of obtaining high-quality careers.

Online searches can help you come up with more certifications that you can complete through your local university or other online adult education centers.

Job Outlook

Over the next decade, you should expect to see a high growth in this career.

That is because the need for Cybersecurity Analysts will expand at a rate of about 32%.

The reason for this growth is the number of businesses that are beginning their online presence.

With cyber-attacks on the rise and the ability to use mastery skills to complete security breaches on unsuspecting websites, there is a dire need for this area of expertise.

The growth of the career will allow for over 16,000 careers to open each year, providing more security power to businesses all over the world.

Should You Become a Cybersecurity Analyst?

Overall Satisfaction

Most Cybersecurity Analysts find their job to be quite satisfying in the United States.

That is because of several reasons, including the compensation available for their career, the ability to work with highly talented people, and the flexibility of the career.

While this job can be stressful at times, it is considered satisfying to help people achieve their goals of security and to free them from worry.

The major downside to this career is the lack of Cybersecurity Analysts available for work, so the workload gets pushed onto one person, making it even more stressful.

Average Salary

Salary is a major component when considering a new career, and as a Cybersecurity Analyst, you could make a decent living.

The average Cybersecurity Analyst in the United States has a salary of 78,752 each year.

However, if you plan to make that type of money when you are just beginning, you will likely not be in that range.

That is because a new Cybersecurity Analyst will typically make closer to $37,479 until they have gained experience.

Once you have completed several years of experience as a Cybersecurity Analyst, it is possible to make over $119,844 per year.

Job Growth Outlook

Over the next ten years, the career of a Cybersecurity Analyst is solid.

That is because this career will grow at a rate of 32% in the next decade.

There are many reasons for this growth, including the inclusion of online presence for many businesses, as well as senior Cybersecurity Analysts retiring or leaving their careers as a whole.

It looks as if there will be about 16,000 new career openings each year for a Cybersecurity Analyst.

Education Duration

To work as a Cybersecurity Analyst, you’ll need to have at least a bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree will take about four years to complete.

Then, you will likely need some job experience to gain access to people’s most valuable information.

Some Cybersecurity Analysts even have a Master’s degree, which takes another two years to finish.

All in all, you should expect to spend about four to six years on your education to become a Cybersecurity Analyst.

Personal Skills Needed

When you work as a Cybersecurity Analyst, you’ll have access to businesses’ most precious information, so you will need to be trustworthy and considerate.

Along with these personal traits, you will need to acquaint yourself with important skills, such as:

  • Understanding instructions
  • Expert computer skills
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Ability to adapt
  • Risk management
  • Critical thinking

You will likely be working with people who don’t have as much understanding of cybersecurity as you, so helping others understand and learn is another part of this career.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you have to go to school to become a Cybersecurity Analyst?

To work as a Cybersecurity Analyst, you’ll need to devote between four and six years to your education.

The average Cybersecurity Analyst has a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years to complete.

However, there are Cybersecurity Analysts who decide they want more education and continue toward a Master’s degree.

A Masters degree can be finished in about two years.

Are Cybersecurity Analysts in high demand?

Yes, as a Cybersecurity Analyst, you will find many job opportunities open up for you over the next decade.

This is due to businesses creating websites and beginning their journey to a virtual presence.

Over the next ten years, expect to see this career grow at a rate of 32%.

If you have experience with computers and want to become a Cybersecurity Analyst, now is the time to begin.

What skills do you need to have to be a Cybersecurity Analyst?

It takes a special set of skills to work as a Cybersecurity Analyst, both personal and digital.

Skills that you will need to work in this field include but are not limited to:

  • Communication
  • Ability to write code
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Understanding of operating systems
  • Problem-solving
  • Network security knowledge
  • Hacking skills
  • Programming knowledge
  • Analytical skills

What kind of education do you need to be a Cybersecurity Analyst?

The least amount of education that you will need to work as a Cybersecurity Analyst is four years in college.

This will amount to a bachelor’s degree and allow you to seek entry-level positions in this field.

Those who have experience in the field or who earn a Master’s degree will have more opportunities to work as a Cybersecurity Analyst.

How much money does a Cybersecurity Analyst make a year?

Depending on how much experience you have, you could make between $37,000 and over $119,000 each year as a Cybersecurity Analyst.

However, the average Cybersecurity Analyst in the United States makes a yearly salary of $78,752.

Those just starting in the field will make less, and those who have higher experience and education will be at the top rate for this career.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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