How To Become a Cybersecurity Analyst

What Is a Cybersecurity Analyst?

A cybersecurity analyst plays a crucial role in safeguarding individuals, businesses and organizations from the severe consequences of cyberattacks. In today's tech-dependent world, cyberattacks can disrupt critical operations, compromise data and even endanger lives. These threats can affect diverse sectors, causing financial losses, disruptions and potentially tragic consequences.

In 2023, the FBI reported that cyberattacks caused nearly $12.5 billion in losses, a 10% rise from the prior year.1 The FBI's received over 880,418 complaints linked to online criminal activities in the same year.1 Beyond financial impacts, these attacks can disrupt operations, hinder staff communication and compromise vital records, such as electronic health records (EHRs).

12.5 billion

In losses due to cyberattacks in 20231

What Does a Cybersecurity Analyst Do?

Cybersecurity analysts work on mitigating vulnerabilities and employing security measures such as data encryption, firewalls and other techniques to protect digital data. The questions What is a cybersecurity analyst? and What does a cybersecurity analyst do? may help unveil their critical role for those entering the field. Their tasks vary by organization but commonly include:2 

Cybersecurity Students Working Together
Assess Vulnerabilities

Identify potential weaknesses in networks and systems for exploitation by hackers.

Respond to Cyberattacks

In the event of an attack, analysts act swiftly to restore data and implement stronger security measures.

Security Enhancement

Mitigate vulnerabilities and employ security measures such as data encryption, firewalls, etc., to safeguard digital data.

Establish Standards

Maintain security standards and best practices for the highest level of protection.

Active Monitoring

Continuously monitor networks, initiate cyber forensic investigations on security breaches and research IT trends and hacking methods.

Stay Informed

Keep updated on regulatory changes and emerging cybercrime trends for efficacy.


Create reports on security breaches, attempted breaches and vulnerabilities for incident response.


Educate non-IT staff on security procedures and best practices for adherence across the organization.

In cybersecurity, it's not if but when a network will be attacked. Analysts prepare by identifying, responding to, and recovering from attacks. They lead disaster recovery planning, including data backup and secure storage to minimize attack impact on critical information.

What Education Does a Cybersecurity Analyst Need?

Knowing how to become a cybersecurity analyst is essential for those aiming to enter information security. Here’s a typical educational path and steps for starting this career:

If you're in high school and considering a career in cybersecurity analysis, speak with your school counselor. Consider extra courses in computer applications, advanced math, programming and law, if available. Engaging in activities like coding clubs or cyber competitions can also help develop your skills and interests.3

After high school, pursue a bachelor's degree in an IT field like cybersecurity.4 Your undergraduate studies will cover coding, network security, threat identification and responding to attacks.

Undergraduate cybersecurity certificates offer focused training, providing essential skills without a full four-year degree commitment. This may be ideal for quick specialized training or career transition into cybersecurity.5 

Internships can provide valuable experience in your field without prior job experience.6 Seek internship opportunities during or after college for hands-on learning and networking in the IT industry.

Get your start in positions such as software quality assurance analysts and testers or information security analysts. These roles can provide learning opportunities for your cybersecurity career path.

In cybersecurity, earning certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is common. They can help you facilitate entry into your desired career path and potentially help you position yourself for career growth.4

By following this educational and experiential path, you can prepare yourself for a successful career as a cybersecurity analyst, equipping you with the knowledge, skills and practical experience necessary to pursue this critical field.

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Best Degrees for Cybersecurity Analysts

The ideal educational path for aspiring cybersecurity analysts is to pursue a degree. While it is possible to enter the field with a related degree in disciplines like information technology or computer programming, choosing a cybersecurity specific degree is recommended for those certain about this specialization.

Students typically engage in capstone courses, contributing to professional portfolios for job prospects. While not needed for entry, a master's in cybersecurity may help when pursuing managerial roles, offering advanced knowledge and leadership skills.4

  • IT network basics
  • Linux basics
  • Algorithm analysis
  • Programming
  • Malware techniques
  • Cybersecurity forensics
  • Cyber law

GCU Recommends These Degree Programs for Cybersecurity Analysts

Both cybersecurity analysts and information security analysts share duties and responsibilities, varying across organizations. Essential traits include security principles understanding, risk management and adaptability to evolving cybersecurity threats.7

If you are looking to pursue an information security analyst career, you may want to pursue the following degree programs:

Bachelor's Programs

Master's Programs

Other Programs

What Skills Does a Cybersecurity Analyst Need?

Cybersecurity or information security analysts use diverse skills to safeguard data and systems. Technical knowledge can help assess suitability, but essential skills encompass technical and soft skills, such as:8

  • Scripting
  • Python
  • Linux shell
  • Controls and frameworks
  • Intrusion detection
  • Network security
  • Incident response
  • Cloud security
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Adaptability
  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Effective communication and collaboration
Cybersecurity Student Holding Laptop

Median Annual Wage


Median annual wage for information security analysts as of May 2022.9

A cybersecurity analyst salary may be influenced by factors such as experience and the employer. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) may not provide specific details on cybersecurity analysis careers, related fields such as information security analysis are relevant to this degree. According to the BLS, information security analysts have a median annual wage of $112,000 as of May 2022.9

Projected Job Growth


Estimated growth for information security analysts from 2022 to 203210

The cybersecurity industry is set for much faster than average job growth, as per the BLS. The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates job growth for information security analysts to increase by about 32% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than average, accounting for an estimated increase of 53,200 jobs in the field.10

Where Do Cybersecurity Analysts Work?

Cybersecurity or information security analysts may work in a wide range of organizations and industries, including:12,13

Technology Companies

Many cybersecurity analysts are employed by technology/computer companies that develop or design software, hardware and networking solutions.

Consulting Firms

Cybersecurity consulting firms provide services to a variety of clients, including organizations looking to enhance their security posture.

Financial and Insurance Institutions

Banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions hire cybersecurity analysts to safeguard sensitive financial data, prevent fraud and ensure regulatory compliance.

Healthcare Organizations

Healthcare providers and hospitals hire cybersecurity analysts to protect patient medical records and ensure compliance with healthcare data regulations like HIPAA.

Energy and Utilities

Energy companies and utilities hire cybersecurity analysts to safeguard critical infrastructure, including power grids and water supply systems.


Manufacturing companies employ cybersecurity analysts to protect their intellectual property and manufacturing processes from cyber threats.

Education Institutions

Colleges and universities have cybersecurity teams to protect sensitive student and institutional data.

Retail and E-commerce

Retailers and e-commerce companies need cybersecurity analysts to protect customer data and ensure the security of online transactions.

Advancement Opportunities Within Cybersecurity

Many employers show a preference for candidates holding information security certifications.4 These certifications come in various levels to cater to different career stages. For instance, Security+ is ideal for those starting their information security journey, while the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is tailored for experienced professionals in the field.4 Additionally, specialized certifications in areas like systems auditing are accessible for those aiming to gain expertise in specific domains.

Cybersecurity Employee Working at Office Desk

Join the cybersecurity frontlines. Enroll in Grand Canyon University's Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program and make your mark.

1 Thomas, I. (2022, Dec. 16). The FBI is worried about a wave of cyber crime against America’s small business. CNBC. Retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023.

2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). What Information Security Analysts Do. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023.

3 Russell, T. (2021, May 7). Three cybersecurity pathways for high school students. NCC. Retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023. 

4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to Become an Information Security Analyst. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023. 

5 My Computer Career. (n.d.). Which Is Better: A Cybersecurity Certificate Or A Degree? Retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023. 

6 Liddle, A. (2023, Oct. 17). Navigating the cybersecurity internship landscape. Cybersecurity Guide. Retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023.

7 Resume Worded (n.d.). Alternative Careers and Similar Jobs to an Information Security Analyst. Retrieved on Oct. 27, 2023. 

8 Juma, A. (2023, July 7). 15 Information Security Analyst Skills (Plus Definitions). Indeed. Retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023. 

9 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Informational Security Analysts as of May 2022, retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as information security analysts, nor does it reflect the earnings of workers in one city or region of the country or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc. against a pool of candidates. 

10 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Information Security Analysts, retrieved on Oct. 26, 2023. 

11 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). Work Environment. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved on Oct. 27, 2023. 

12 Wintemute, D. (2023, April 11). Best Industries for Cybersecurity. Cyber Degrees. Retrieved on Oct. 27, 2023.