How to become a cyber security analyst
Cyber security professionals are the life-saving superheroes we all need. And they’re set to become some of the most in-demand and highest paid heroes in history (just don’t tell Wolverine).
You won’t have to wear a cape to earn a rep as protector of the people. In fact, as a cyber security analyst, you can be as incognito as a bomb-sniffing canine – and just as vital.
Instead of literal bombs, you’ll be hunting for metaphoric bombs – the holes in a company’s computer system, data network, or digital products that could leave them open to cyber attacks. Right now, cybercrime is rapidly on the rise and there’s a massive global shortage of cyber security experts to counteract it. This means career opportunities are plentiful, employment options are world-wide, and salaries are sky-high.
So, if you’re naturally tech-focused, enjoy nutting out solutions, know that Java is not just a type of coffee bean, and have a moral compass that’s more Bernie Sanders than Bernie Madoff, then a cyber security career could be for you.
There isn’t an industry that’s exempt from cybercrime, so you can take your pick of fields to work in: health, media, defence, politics, essential services, travel, law, banking, business, and much more.
Want to learn how to become a cyber security analyst? Begin here.
What does it take to become a cyber security analyst?
- First up, you’ll need to complete a bachelor degree in cyber security, computer science, information and communication technology, or a related field. The more specific, the better.
- Get yourself some real industry experience. (Did you know, with a Swinburne bachelor degree, it’s guaranteed?) Cyber security analysts generally need prior experience in an information technology department, often as a network, systems or database administrator or, alternatively, as a computer systems analyst.
- Consider completing a relevant industry certification, such as a CompTIA Security +, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Not only will it look good on your CV, but it’s a great way to network with future colleagues, friends, mentors, and employers.
- It isn’t essential, but it will give you an edge – gaining a master degree (such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business Information Systems, Master of Information Technology or indeed a Master of Cybersecurity) can be looked on very favourably by employers. Your postgraduate qualification will likely be two years of full-time study beyond your undergraduate degree and ideally should include both business and computer-related subjects.
Career proof points from industry
As a cyber security analyst or information security analyst you can expect:
By studying cyber security, you can work in areas such as: 2
- network security (penetration) testing
- legislation and policies
- cyber security awareness
- network administration
- telecommunications engineering
- web development
- cloud infrastructure
- data science
- IT systems.
The main industries of employment
As a cyber security professional, you could find employment in industries such as: 1
- public administration and safety
- financial and insurance services
- healthcare and social assistance
- information, media and telecommunications
- professional, scientific and technical services.
What skills do you need to become a cyber security analyst?
Finding a job as a cyber security analyst or information security analyst requires a range of specialist skills. Here's a highlights reel for you to work on. 3
- database user interface and query software
- development environment software
- network monitoring software
- transaction security and virus protection software
- web platform development software.
- computer or information security policies or procedures
- security measures for computer or information systems
- computer system operations testing
- securing digital information
- resolving information technology issues.
- critical thinking
- active listening
- complex problem solving
- inductive reasoning (the ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions)
- problem sensitivity (the ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong).
Why study cyber security at Swinburne?
#1 in Melbourne for IT grad income five years out
that's over $11k more than the national average
5-star rating for overall IT student experience
Top 100 unis in the world for Computer Science and Engineering
#2 in the world for the proportion of highly cited papers in Mathematics and Computer Science
Plus, if you need more reasons to choose Swinburne, consider these:
- Industry experience is guaranteed in all our bachelor degrees.
- Our cybersecurity lectures are industry-led – so you’ll be kept up-to-date with the most recent industry trends, news and developments, and have a constant stream of networking opportunities.
- Our cybersecurity students get to work on real-world, Australian government-funded projects, thanks to a range of grants we have in place.
- Our cybersecurity lecturers are industry professionals with close industry relationships, which means seamless job placements and pathways for our students.
- We’ve partnered with Deloitte to offer the Cyber Academy, an apprenticeship program that blends study with a paid industry placement. In the Academy, you’ll have ongoing paid work with Deloitte or an industry partner. Enter via the Diploma of Information Technology (Advanced Networking, Cyber Security) – VIC Cyber Academy and progress into the bachelor degree. Upon graduation, you’ll have two qualifications and a pathway straight into employment.
3 O-net Online
4 QILT: Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019-2021
5 The Good Universities Guide 2023
6 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) Global Rankings by Subject
7 CWTS Leiden Ranking 2021
How to become a cyber security analyst
A cyber security analyst will test networks for vulnerabilities, minimise cyber security threats and secure people and organisations from cyber attacks.
You might think of yourself as an ethical hacker (having all the tricks of the criminal hackers but without the malicious intent), but your official job title could range from cyber security technician to information security analyst to penetration tester.
You now know this is the career for you, you just need the plan to get there.
4 steps to becoming a cyber security analyst
1. Get qualified
You may have hacked your mum’s email account (that time she got locked out), but that doesn’t count in a job interview (and, technically, it maaay be illegal).
Cyber security roles require highly specialised skills, so a degree is a must.
This means three years of full-time study (or six years part-time), which will develop your essential skills and show employers that you’re serious about your vocation. If you’re keen to really stand out, then go for a master degree, too.
|Bachelor of Cyber Security||BA-CYB|
3 years full-time
VTAC from Year 12:
Direct entry for non-year 12 :
Work Integrated Learning opportunities:
|Advanced study pathways||Postgraduate study by coursework or research.|
|Master of Cybersecurity||MA-CYBSEC|
Systems analyst roles in:
2 years full-time
(or equivalent part-time)
Progress into a Master of Cybersecurity from one of the below degrees:
You may be eligible for a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) if you have related skills and knowledge gained through work experience, life experience and/or formal training. RPL allows students to gain credit towards their course and applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
|Certificate IV in Cyber Security|
|Duration||1 year full-time|
VTAC from Year 12
Direct entry for non-year 12
Entry requires satisfactory completion of Year 10 or equivalent
|Work experience||Industry project|
|Advanced study pathways||Graduates may wish to look into our bachelor course listed on this page.|
|Financial considerations||This is a Free TAFE Course. You could have your tuition fees covered in 2023 thanks to the Victorian Government's Free TAFE for Priority Courses initiative.|
2. Learn the language of tech
Take every opportunity to immerse yourself in programming software, applications and secure coding. Got a friend who needs a website? Offer to help create it. Meet some people online with similar interests? Form a group and share your knowledge.
Learning the tools and languages of your future career will put you a step ahead.
3. Get real industry experience
Nothing stands out on your CV more than real industry experience.
Even your casual uni job might have some hidden opportunities. Ask them if they’d like you to help check their security system for vulnerabilities. Volunteer with a local business and offer your services. Or join a student club like the Swinburne Cyber Security Club.
Of course, with a Swinburne bachelor degree, real industry experience is guaranteed, so you can look forward to industry projects, internships and placement opportunities – all of which will give you learning and networking opportunities, plus that shiny professional experience to pop on your CV.
Grab every opportunity to build relationships with others in the industry.
Talk to your teachers – they’ve probably had those jobs that you’re dreaming of. Ask them how they did it. Then see if they’ll set you up with an industry mentor. At Swinburne, your cyber security lecturers will be current industry professionals, so tap into their knowledge and keep in touch.
Make the most of Swinburne’s Cybersecurity Lab – a research platform that drives investigation and innovation – to get involved in projects and connect with cybersecurity thought leaders.
Consider joining an industry body – it’s a great way to connect with future colleagues, collaborators and employers.
Kick-start your cyber security career at Swinburne
Ready to secure your future? Browse our cyber security courses to find the one for you. Tomorrow, you’ll be glad you started today.