What Is a Threat Intelligence Analyst? A Definitive Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 14, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A threat intelligence analyst is a professional who uses their knowledge in multiple fields to prevent illegal access to protected data. This position is ideal for those interested in both technology and security. L earning what a threat intelligence analyst is and what they do can help you decide if it would be an appropriate career path to pursue. In this article, we discuss what a threat intelligence analyst is, explain how you can become one, outline a threat intelligence analyst's main duties and note the role's average salary and job outlook.

What is a threat intelligence analyst?

A threat intelligence analyst is a professional intelligence officer who specializes in studying and monitoring existing and potential cybersecurity threats. They use their knowledge in fields like mathematics, technology and computer programming to prevent criminals from illegally accessing their employer's proprietary data. Also called cyber threat analysts, they typically work for federal institutions like the CIA and NSA or for any private organization with sensitive data that it wants to protect from illegal access.

Threat intelligence analysts typically focus on three subcategories of threat intelligence:

  • Strategic: This represents a general overview of their hiring organization's potential cyber-threats. It involves the threat intelligence analyst providing stakeholders with the information they need to make high-level strategic decisions regarding potential cyber-threats.

  • Tactical: This involves analyzing the potential tactics, procedures and techniques of potential cyber-security threats. Threat intelligence analysts study information to understand the potential ways in which hackers may attack their organization and provide relevant information to other tech professionals so they can implement safeguards to prevent such attacks.

  • Operational: This involves gathering knowledge about cyber-attacks with the purpose of training incident response teams to understand them and take specific action to stop them. Threat intelligence analysts provide these teams with highly technical information about each type of attack, what vulnerabilities they target and what specific methods they use.

Related: 12 Important Federal Agent Jobs (With Salaries)

How to become a threat intelligence analyst

Consider following these four steps to improve your chances of becoming a threat intelligence analyst:

1. Earn an appropriate bachelor's degree

You can gain the basic knowledge required to become a threat intelligence analyst by earning a bachelor's degree in a related field. Some appropriate specializations include computer engineering, cybersecurity, telecommunications, digital forensics and information systems. Earning your degree with a high GPA may also help you find a job as a threat intelligence analyst, as it can help differentiate you from other candidates.

2. Find entry-level jobs that can help you develop relevant skills

While earning a relevant bachelor's degree can help you gain the knowledge required for the role, successful career threat intelligence analysts should also have a varied skill set. You can gain the necessary skills by working in a variety of related entry-level analyst or auditor jobs. Some crucial skills for threat intelligence analysts are:

  • Analytical thinking: The main role of a threat intelligence analyst is to analyze information with the purpose of discovering any sign of illegal activities. Having strong analytical skills is typically a basic prerequisite for success in this career.

  • Communication: Threat intelligence analysts require verbal and written communication skills to be able to accurately report their findings to interested parties, such as their hiring organization's executives, IT professionals and chief technology officers.

  • Technical proficiency: Performing the role typically requires having a strong background in tech, computer engineering, mathematics, statistics and computer science. Although you typically gain knowledge in these fields in college, using them in an entry-level role can help you enhance your overall technical skills.

3. Earn specialized knowledge by earning a master's degree

You can significantly improve your credentials for the role by earning a cybersecurity master's degree. Doing so can enhance your relevant skills and improve your knowledge of relevant cybersecurity-related concepts. Alternatively or additionally, you can pursue a relevant certification, such as:

  • Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA)

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

  • Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP)

  • Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)

Related: How To Get a Cyber Threat Intelligence Certification in 5 Steps

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

4. Look for jobs as a threat intelligence analyst

After gaining the necessary education, skills and entry-level job experience, you can start looking for threat intelligence analyst jobs. Look for relevant positions in the private sector by browsing job websites, and checking government websites can help you discover open positions in state agencies. You may also discover relevant openings in both the private and government sectors by using the professional network you've gained during your education and past jobs. You can also attend information security conferences and events.

Related: Jobs in the CIA: How To Get One With or Without a Degree

Threat intelligence analyst duties

Some common duties for threat intelligence analysts include:

  • Performing technical research: Threat intelligence analysts collect information regarding any potential online illegal activities that may affect their employer and regarding the people who organize and support them.

  • Performing intelligence analyses: They use the gathered information to make informed predictions regarding what cyber criminals' future activities are likely to be based on existing patterns.

  • Making intelligence reports: They also present the conclusions of their analyses to their supervisors, who may be senior company executives, security officials or government decision-makers, adapting their language to make it accessible to non-technical individuals.

  • Organizing their employer's cyber-defenses: Threat intelligence analysts use their skills and knowledge to help their employers organize their cyber defense infrastructure and define specific action plans against various types of cyber-attacks.

Related: Getting a Job as an Intelligence Analyst: 6 Skills You Need

Threat intelligence analyst average salary and job outlook

The average salary for a cybersecurity analyst, a role similar to a threat intelligence analyst, is $81,671 per year. Common additional benefits are health and dental insurance and employer contributions to the employee's 401(k). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the number of information security analyst jobs is likely to grow by 33% until the year 2030, which is much faster than the national average. The main reason for this projected growth is the increasing use of cloud services by small and medium-sized businesses.

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