Is the Role of a Network Security Analyst Right for You?

Network security analysts are tech employees that plan and implement systems to protect a computer network from viruses and malware that can expose private information or lead to the destruction of the network. While not every business has a network security analyst, there is a growing need for this versatile position.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that network security analyst positions will grow 32% between 2018 and 2028 as more businesses realize that they need help protecting their networks from rapidly expanding security threats. And salaries for these positions are also rising, with the median income reaching $98,350 per year in 2018 or more than $47 per hour.

Skills Needed for Network Security Analyst Position

A network security analyst position is not entry-level. Specialized skills are needed, and experience with both networks and cybersecurity is a must. If you want to prepare for a role in network security analysis, start with basic certifications like CompTIA Network+ and Security+. Once you master these basic concepts and skills, mid-range certifications like CySA will build on those skills and give you more experience with a variety of tasks that will demonstrate your abilities.

A more advanced certification that will help in any cybersecurity job is the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification, which will teach you some of the methods hackers use so that you can defeat their attempts. And certifications help you keep your skills updated since they need to be maintained every few years to stay current.

Two colleagues looking at a computer screen together.

Working together to solve network security problems can lead to better analysis.

The BLS points out that many employers want you to have a bachelor’s degree to hold a network security analyst position, but certifications will help you get there and can be a stepping stone to a degree that can lead to this position.

Demands of Network Security Analyst Position

Beyond technical skills, the most critical skill needed for this position is the ability to problem-solve and analyze the threats to a company’s network and its security. These positions are mentally challenging and require the ability to think hard and long about the best methods to use and how to thwart many different types of cyberattacks that can occur at any time.

Here’s the drawback to positions like this: if a problem occurs, you will be expected to work as long as it takes to fix it and get the network back to a safe and functioning status. While your hours will likely be regular most of the time, overtime will be almost mandatory if an emergency occurs like a breach or a successful cyberattack.

Being proactive in keeping the network safe from attacks is a must in this position, which takes proper planning and time management. You can avoid a great many emergencies by doing the work when there isn’t an emergency, and make your job more manageable all around.

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