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Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst Salary and Job Description

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Mar 26, 2024
Soc Analyst Looking at a Computer With a Coworker Trying to Solve a Cybersecurity Issue.

Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst Salary and Job Description

Hackers pose an ever-present threat to both large and small businesses. By using tactics such as ransomware and malware, cybercriminals can jeopardize the security of sensitive, confidential, or mission-critical information, potentially bringing business organizations to their knees. The best antidote is vigilance; for that reason, many enterprises form teams of analysts and other cybersecurity professionals to monitor and protect their data integrity. 

One common position in the security operations center (SOC) is the analyst role. Becoming a SOC analyst may be a rewarding step forward for those who are drawn to digital technology and who have a passion for protecting their organizations. Before assuming this role, obtaining high-level training, including a potential cybersecurity degree is important.

What’s a SOC Analyst?

Essentially, a SOC analyst is a technician whose job is to help monitor and analyze the efficacy of an organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure. This type of technician works on a team whose core duties involve detecting, evaluating, and responding to cybersecurity concerns that arise.

SOC technicians keep tabs on an organization’s risk level. When incidents or breaches occur, they carefully review incident reports to evaluate the organization’s ongoing vulnerability. They may also propose measures to fortify the existing security structures.

SOC Analyst Duties

While the roles and responsibilities associated with this position can vary from one organization to the next, a typical job description looks like this:

  • Analyzing potentially complex cybersecurity systems to identify potential vulnerabilities
  • Mounting a quick and strategic response to cybersecurity incidents
  • Conducting regular risk assessments
  • Evaluating the severity and urgency of cybersecurity alerts as they arise
  • Answering data security questions from stakeholders within the organization
  • Documenting cybersecurity incidents and reviewing incident reports
  • Providing detailed reports for leaders within the organization

What’s the Typical SOC Analyst Salary?

Those who are drawn to this position may have questions about the standard SOC analyst salary. According to Payscale, the median annual salary for this role was approximately $73,800 as of February 2024.

Factors Affecting SOC Analyst Salary

Several factors can affect the salary level for this role, including years of experience, level of education, and geographic location.

Another important consideration is the professional tier. SOC analysts fall into one of two tiers:

  • Tier one analysts rely on a more basic set of computer skills and perform more administrative tasks.
  • Tier two analysts have more specific cybersecurity training, enabling them to perform a more sophisticated level of analysis; as a result, they usually command a higher salary.

How to Become a SOC Analyst

To achieve a SOC role, accruing the right combination of technical competencies and relevant soft skills is imperative. The best way to develop the right portfolio of skills is through a combination of education and on-the-job training. 


The vast majority of SOC roles will require a degree from an accredited college, university, or technical school. Ideally, this means earning a bachelor’s degree in information technology (IT), cybersecurity, or a related field.

While earning an advanced degree isn’t usually a requirement, it can often lead to a higher level of proficiency, and thus to a higher SOC analyst salary. A master’s degree in cybersecurity is especially valuable in this role.


Relevant certifications confirm the industry standard of skill and experience. Again, these certifications can lead to more advanced skills and more competitive salaries.

Certifications to consider include the following:

  • Certified SOC Analyst (CSA)
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Work Experience

Pursuing a SOC role usually means getting a few years of on-the-job experience first. Three or four years in IT may be sufficient for amassing the necessary computer skills.


The SOC analyst role may also require a security clearance. Stipulations can vary by employer but will often include an extensive criminal background check.

Core Skills

Ultimately, success in this role isn’t just about earning a degree, a certificate, and security clearance. It’s about developing the right set of skills, which can include the following:

  • Programming
  • Familiarity with a range of operating systems
  • Ethical hacking
  • Incident management and response
  • Clear communication

Seek a Position in Cybersecurity Analysis

Working as a SOC analyst is an important way to protect organizations from cybercrimes and data breaches. The first step toward success in this role is to pursue the necessary education. Consider The University of Tulsa’s online Master of Science (M.S.) in Cyber Security. This program has both technical and leadership tracks and teaches cybersecurity fundamentals and hands-on IT tools alongside security frameworks, defensive technologies, network security applications, and more.

Explore the TU online M.S. in Cyber Security program and find out how it can help prepare you to make a lasting impact in the field and ultimately assume positions of greater leadership and responsibility.  

Recommended Readings

5G Security: Risks and Solutions

Famous Ransomware Attacks in History

How to Transition to an Entry-Level Cybersecurity Job


CISO MAG, Top 5 Skills Every SOC Analyst Needs to Have

CompTIA, “Your Next Move: Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst”

Indeed, “What Is a SOC Analyst? (Plus Duties, Skills, and Requirements)”

Payscale, Average Security Analyst Salary

Secureframe, “SOC Analysts: What They Are, What They Do + Salary”

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