How to become a Cyber-security Analyst
  1. A Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Internships
  3. Industry Certifications
  4. A Postgraduate Degree or a Master’s Degree
Protecting a business against cyber-security attacks takes a unique skill set. Mark Bennett, Director and specialised tech recruiter at Robert Half, explores how to become a Cyber-security Analyst – and why smart communicators with technical flare are in high demand.   What happens if a senior finance leader receives an email, asking for money to be transferred between accounts? A legitimate request from a reputable source will cause no issues. But if the email is from a hacker, pretending to be someone else, the ramifications could be more serious. Money could be lost, systems compromised, and information leaked in a matter of seconds. The fallout might hit the headlines and the reputation of the business could be irreparable.   Why do Australian businesses need Cyber-security Analysts?  According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC’s) Annual Cyber Threat Report, 2023 was a volatile year for cybercrime in Australia. In fact, 2023 saw a 23% increase in cybercrime reports, equivalent to one report every 6 minutes.   In 2024, it’s clear that Australia is becoming an attractive target for cyber-crime. Between the rise in exploitable software vulnerabilities and the rise in criminal activities, the threats to Australian businesses are becoming more prevalent. Not to mention, these attacks are becoming more sophisticated and easier to replicate. The impact of a cyber-attack can be devastating. However, if businesses can do their part to prevent them, they can protect their reputation and their bottom line. With the help of cyber experts like Cyber-security Analysts, businesses can bolster their defence, deter attacks, and respond tactically should the worst happen. Backed by years of experience, Cyber-security Analysts are no longer a ‘nice to have’, they’re a ‘must have’ in modern organisations.  Are you considering a career in cyber-security? Well, if you want to stay abreast of evolving threats (and one step ahead of the hackers), perhaps a Cyber-security Analyst role could be just for you. Let’s take a deeper look at what it takes to secure this in-demand role in Australia.  Related: How important is the impact of cyber-security in Australia?   How to become a Cyber-security Analyst As a Cyber-security Analyst, you’ll be entrusted to protect organisations from cyber threats while safeguarding their critical information assets.  This great responsibility demands a mix of technical training and on-the-job experience. This is usually achieved through the following pathway: 1. A Bachelor’s Degree – usually in the field of computer science, information technology, cyber-security, or information systems. 2. Internships – this real industry experience is a huge asset while studying. Securing an internship can be a major advantage, allowing you to be guided by experienced Cyber-security Analysts, while you apply your skills in a real-world context. 3. Industry Certifications – these industry-relevant certifications can boost your skillset and your employability. Consider completing relevant industry certifications, such as Security+, Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Certified Ethical Hacker. 4. A Postgraduate Degree or a Master’s Degree – while not essential, further education can help to sharpen your competitive edge in the world of cyber-security. Relevant postgraduate degrees, such as Graduate Certificate in Cyber-Security, MBA, or Master of Cyber-security, could be viewed favourably by prospective employers.  Related: What jobs can you get with a cyber-security degree in Australia? Mark Bennett encourages patience when it comes to securing a Cyber-security Analyst role. He says, “Most people start at the bottom of the technical ladder. Graduates often join the IT helpdesk, before moving on to network and system administration. Over time, they will develop technical skills and face a diverse range of scenarios. If they show an interest in security, they will usually move in that direction. People also come into the profession with a data background because their skills can be especially useful when dealing with attacks on business information.” He says that while companies want to see a commitment to continuous learning, the reality is, on-the-job development is pivotal. “As a Cyber-security Analyst, it’s important that you have the technical skills to help detect vulnerabilities in company systems. That said, these skills are ultimately honed day to day when you are making real-life decisions and becoming more familiar with the different modes of attack.” As a Cyber-security Analyst, the key threats you can expect to defend businesses against include phishing, malware, and ransomware.  Phishing is a common social engineering technique using emails and texts to encourage users to share sensitive information or download a malicious file.  Malware, often delivered through phishing techniques, is malicious software code designed to harm a computer, network, or server.  Ransomware, a type of malware, is when a hacker gains access to company data, encrypts it, and provides a decryption key in exchange for payment.   Cyber-security Analyst skills While technical skills are critical for Cyber-security Analysts, soft skills cannot be overlooked. Mark believes that communication and attention to detail are among the most important. He says, “Every day, you are required to talk to people in multiple teams, often across international borders.  Every day, you must remain vigilant about evolving threats to business systems. You cannot succeed in this role without being proactive and able to make split-second decisions.” Mark recalls a recent experience where a client could not stop praising one of his consultants. “He was monitoring their system and saw a hacking incident happening in real-time. He shut everything down and stopped it from happening; a combination of technical ability and real-world experience came together when it mattered most,” he said. Related: 4 frequently asked cyber-security interview questions   The future of cyber security  Cyber-crime is predicted to cost the world $9.5 trillion in 2024. Businesses will quickly learn (if they haven’t already) that cyber-security is not an area for complacency. While many businesses have been good at asking for help with cyber-security when things go wrong, they could do better at avoiding attacks in the first place.  It’s hardly surprising that Cyber-security Analysts will become increasingly fundamental, as threats evolve, and businesses learn to take a more proactive approach. Businesses will need to critically assess how to bolster their cyber-security efforts – whether it’s through contracted professionals to complement their in-house security teams, or, whether it’s through permanent experts to advise on specific problems and challenges  Either way, finding the right person with a well-rounded skill set, will be critical. There’s never been a better time to jump into this rewarding career. If you’re considering a career as a Cyber-security Analyst, take the time to step up your technical training and sharpen your skills. There are plenty of businesses that could use some cyber-security expertise! Hopefully, the next time an executive leader receives a spoof email asking for money, they’ll have a dynamic Cyber-security Analyst on the team to prevent it from compromising systems and, potentially, harming a hard-won reputation.