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Cyber Threat Analyst Career Overview

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Dec 13, 2023
A Cyber Threat Analyst Works on a Laptop in a Server Room.

Cyber Threat Analyst Career Overview

Cybercrimes, from ransomware attacks to phishing, are on the rise. Increasingly, these attacks target small businesses: According to an Axios report, about 45% of all cyberattacks impact small companies. The total cost of small business cyberattacks now exceeds $2.4 billion each year and is growing steadily.

In response to this pervasive threat, organizations are hiring cybersecurity professionals to assess risks, deploy preventive solutions, and combat attacks. These professionals, known as cyber threat analysts, play an integral role in protecting enterprises of all sizes. With the right educational background, those who are passionate about cybersecurity may find the cyber threat analyst career path highly rewarding.

What Is a Cyber Threat Analyst?

A cybersecurity professional’s mission is to safeguard an organization from potential attacks or data breaches and act swiftly to restore protection in their aftermath.

Accomplishing this mission requires a cyber threat analyst to perform a wide range of tasks, including assessing potential vulnerabilities within an organization’s IT structure and documenting any incidents that occur.

Role and Responsibilities

While their specific duties can vary depending on the organization or industry they’re employed in, typical cyber threat analyst functions include:

  • Evaluating and testing IT networks and infrastructures for potential weak spots
  • Monitoring potential threats and assessing their risk level
  • Verifying that the IT network meets current cybersecurity requirements
  • Performing digital forensics to understand how attacks happen
  • Documenting and reporting any attacks that occur
  • Performing counteractions to protect business intelligence

Cyber Threat Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

The cyber threat analyst role is one of the most promising careers in cybersecurity, boasting an optimistic job outlook and a competitive salary range.

According to Payscale data from May 2023, the median annual salary for this position is approximately $79,000, with a salary range between $55,000 and $118,000. Several factors can influence individual salaries, including years of experience, level of education, and geographic location.

The overall cybersecurity job outlook mirrors the role’s increasing importance. Cybercrime Magazine reports that there are around 3.5 million job vacancies in cybersecurity in 2023, with more than 750,000 in the U.S. alone.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also reports some encouraging figures, with employment of information security analysts projected to grow by 35% between 2021 and 2031. This is much faster than the rate for all professions, which is about 5%. The entire computer and information technology sector is expected to grow by 15%, adding roughly 680,000 new jobs over the next decade.

The high growth rate in this industry is indicative of broader trends, where cyber threats are becoming more common, the risk is becoming more widely recognized, and the role of threat assessment is becoming more clearly perceived as a business necessity.

How to Become a Cyber Threat Analyst

To succeed in this role, it’s critical to hone the right set of technical skills and leadership abilities. These skills can be cultivated through a combination of formal education and hands-on training.

Steps to Become a Cyber Threat Analyst

The basic career trajectory to become a cyber threat analyst generally involves the following steps:

  • Obtain an undergraduate degree. Most cybersecurity roles require a bachelor’s degree in a field such as cybersecurity, information technology, computer science, or a related field.
  • Gain experience. Hands-on experience can be obtained via an internship, practicum, or entry-level work.
  • Pursue advanced training. Not every cyber threat analyst position requires an advanced degree, but earning a Master of Science in Cybersecurity, for example, can lead to elevated skills, more competitive salary rates, and more prestigious positions.
  • Gain certification. Professional certifications can also be beneficial for those looking to advance their careers. Options include the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certificate.
  • Cultivate the right skills. Through this combination of education, experience, and certification, aspiring analysts may hone such competencies as analytical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and technical expertise.

Is This Career Right for Me?

For those who are passionate about technology, enjoy problem-solving, and feel at home in digital ecosystems, this career path can be highly rewarding. The role requires up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge of cybersecurity measures, which can be exciting for those who enjoy being in the vanguard of cybersecurity.

Additionally, serving as a cyber threat analyst provides an opportunity to play a direct role in promoting an organization’s long-term success, shielding it from the growing threat of cyberattack.

Careers in cyber threat analysis can also be good options for those who have the right balance of hard and soft skills. The skills most closely associated with success in this field include:

  • Solutions-oriented problem solving
  • Strong communication
  • Analytical thinking
  • The ability to translate technical concepts into everyday language

Stand on the Front Lines of Cybersecurity

As the number and sophistication of cyberattacks continue to grow, businesses will depend more than ever on robust cybersecurity measures, including employing professionals such as cyber threat analysts who can turn back these threats.

One way to prepare for success in this field is to pursue advanced education. Consider the online Master of Science in Cyber Security program at The University of Tulsa. Completing this program can help professionals prepare to pursue certification and develop the skills necessary for long-term professional success. Take the first step toward a key role on the front lines of cybersecurity.

Recommended Readings:

What Cybersecurity Professionals Really Need to Know About Programming

8 Myths About Cybersecurity Careers

8 Reasons Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals Will Keep Rising

Sources:

Axios, “Cyber Threats to Small Businesses Prompt Pleas to Report Attacks”

Cybercrime Magazine, “Cybersecurity Jobs Report: 3.5 Million Unfilled Positions In 2025”

Indeed, “How to Become a Cyber Security Analyst: A Complete Guide”

Payscale, Average Cyber Security Analyst Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Technology Occupations

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts

ZipRecruiter, What Does a Cyber Threat Analyst Do

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