Everything You Need To Know About How To Become a Cybersecurity Analyst Without a Degree

Updated December 9, 2022

There are many job opportunities that involve working as a cybersecurity analyst that don't require a college degree. Learning how to become a cybersecurity analyst without a college degree may help you decide if pursuing certification within this field is the right choice for you. In this article, we discuss what a cybersecurity analyst is, why you might consider becoming one and the steps you can take to become a cybersecurity analyst without a college degree.

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What is a cybersecurity analyst?

A cybersecurity analyst is a technology professional who recognizes potential digital security risks for a company and finds solutions to protect company software against threats. Many cybersecurity analysts work within a company's IT department, or they may work freelance. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Performing routine security assessments: Cybersecurity analysts perform routine security assessments to test for a company's vulnerability to potential cyber threats. They may perform assessments on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to ensure there are no undetected threats to software.

  • Overseeing security access: Cybersecurity analysts often evaluate and monitor the number of employee logins, passwords and unsafe websites to keep a company's software safe. They may require employees to change their work passwords frequently or to report any unusual activity on their work computers.

  • Educating employees on cybersecurity: Cybersecurity analysts typically educate employees on different types of digital threats, and they may teach them how to use company software safely. They also show employees how to stay away from unsafe websites, identify threats and report a detected threat or computer breach to cybersecurity analysts.

  • Recognizing threats: Cybersecurity analysts recognize any threats to software to ensure the threat does not cause harm to software.

  • Fixing problems caused by security breach: If there is a breach in software security, cybersecurity analysts fix any issues and resolve any errors related to it. They also work to find the source of the breach to prevent it from happening again in the future.

  • Creating a disaster plan: Cybersecurity analysts often create plans in the event of a disaster, like if hackers breach software and steal important information. They typically communicate their plan with employees to keep everyone aware of the recovery plan.

  • Staying up-to-date on regulations: Cybersecurity analysts stay up to date on all laws and regulations regarding cybersecurity to maintain that software is secure.

Why work as a cybersecurity analyst?

You might consider working as a cybersecurity analyst if you enjoy identifying issues and figuring out solutions to problems related to cybersecurity. You may also enjoy working as a cybersecurity analyst if you are interested in working with computer software, like fixing software issues, creating new software programs and protecting software against threats.

Can you work as a cybersecurity analyst without a degree?

Yes, you can work as a cybersecurity analyst without a college degree, since many employers do not require candidates to have one. Instead of a degree, you can earn various certifications to enhance your skills as a cybersecurity analyst and help build your resume. Here are some benefits to becoming a cybersecurity analyst without a college degree:

  • Avoiding student loans: You can start your job as a cybersecurity analyst with no college loans. This saves you money and eliminates the need to make student loan payments.

  • Being in control of your education: Choosing a path besides college puts you in charge of your education so you can decide how you want to learn, whether it be through study guides, internships or a private tutor. You can also decide how much time you want to spend studying each day for certification exams, and you can choose how long you'd like to spend preparing for each exam, rather than having a college course decide your timeline for exams.

Related: How To Succeed Without College

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How to become a cybersecurity analyst without a degree

Follow these steps to help you become a cybersecurity analyst without a college degree:

1. Obtain a high school diploma or GED

To become a cybersecurity analyst, first complete high school or a GED program. During this time, you can take courses that assist you in building skills that cybersecurity analysts use. Here are some courses that your program may offer that involve cybersecurity analysis:

  • Computer programming: You may learn how to run computer programs that can assist you as a cybersecurity analyst. Learning how to program computers can provide you with a deeper understanding of how computer programs work.

  • Software development: As a cybersecurity analyst, you'll work with software daily. You may develop software that is protected against potential cyber threats, or you may fix software that was damaged from these threats. You may also learn what various cyber threats are and how they can impact software.

Related: Computer Programmer Skills: Definition and Examples

2. Get certified

If you want to become a cybersecurity analyst without a degree, consider obtaining certifications that can build your skills and make you an appealing candidate for cybersecurity positions. To pass the certification exam, consider using online resources like study guides and handbooks that detail the information found on the exams. Here are several certifications that you can get as a cybersecurity analyst without a college degree:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): This certification involves possessing the knowledge of a hacker but using that knowledge to protect software rather than harm it. You must have two years of experience in software to take the certification exam.

  • CompTIA Security+: This certification signifies expertise on cybersecurity problems and solutions and it qualifies an individual to work within software systems. There is no minimum experience required for this certification exam.

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): This certification qualifies individuals to work with cybersecurity software to detect, analyze and deter threats. There is no minimum experience required for this certification exam.

  • CompTIA CySA+: This certification offers a deeper understanding of the cybersecurity field and trains individuals in threat and vulnerability management for software systems. While there is no minimum experience required to take this certification exam, having 3-4 years of experience working with software may help you pass, due to the complexity of the exam.

Related: What Are Certifications? Definition, Benefits, Types of Certifications and Examples

3. Gain experience

If you don't have a college degree, it's essential to gain experience within the cybersecurity field so that you can learn important cybersecurity information, understand various cyber threats and familiarize yourself with software. Many IT departments offer on-the-job training that allows you to observe other cybersecurity analysts while they work. This can help you understand which techniques and tools to use as you approach potential threats. You may also gain experience programming software, meeting with other analysts to solve problems and identifying potential cyber threats.

4. Build connections

It's important to establish connections with other cybersecurity analysts to help you gain job opportunities and achieve career advancement. To meet other cybersecurity analysts, consider joining professional organizations for cybersecurity, like the American Society for Industrial Security and the National Cybersecurity Society.

Related: The Complete Guide To Networking

5. Update your resume

As you develop your skills, gain employment opportunities and obtain certifications, it's important to update your resume to reflect your full range of talent and experience. Be sure to list all of your cybersecurity certifications, including the date that you received them, when they expire and which institution you received the certification from. Maintaining an updated resume shows employers you're active in the field and continually working to advance your career.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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