To become a network security analyst, also known as a computer security or information security analyst, entails academic training and taking continuing education courses on overseeing the security level of computer networks. This includes identifying suspicious computer activities, performing software recovery, providing after-hours technical support and enforcing compliance with security policies. In some cases, the network security analyst may help with the design and development of the computer network itself. To become a network security analyst requires a high level of technical expertise and continuous study.
Usually, the first step to become a network security analyst is to get an undergraduate degree. For entry-level positions, employers typically prefer candidates who have a bachelor of science in network security. Graduating from an information technology, computer science or engineering program is also preferable.
Becoming a network security analyst at certain companies may also require a specialization or concentration in the technology field. For instance, analysts who wish to work in places such as banks may obtain a minor in finance or take some finance-related courses. A degree called the bachelor of science in management information systems (MIS) is particularly designed for people who plan on overseeing computer networks that store and process data used to make important business decisions.
While in college, students may take courses in subject areas such as local area and wide area networks, firewalls, cyberspace law, computer forensics, disaster recovery and operating systems. Students may also learn how to think logically during times of crisis, handle multiple duties simultaneously and work with others, especially with fellow employees who have little or no technical expertise. Upon graduation, aspiring network security analysts can work in any place of business that significantly relies on computers for its day-to-day operation. Perhaps the most common employers are small businesses and large corporations. Additionally, network security analysts can be found in the government sector at the federal, local and state level, or in computer manufacturing.
To become a network security analyst, however, demands more than just an undergraduate degree. Due to the rapid advances of technology, network security analysts must always be aware of industry changes and consequently receive continuous training to update their skills in their field. Some employers and educational institutions offer continuing education courses. Graduate programs such as a master's degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems are also available. Some network analysts can advance as high as becoming managers or chief information officers, or even start their own network security services firms.