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Career Guide
Network security analyst

If you thrive in a constantly evolving digital landscape, excel at pinpointing network vulnerabilities and enjoy collaborating with a team, you may be fit for a career as a network security analyst.

If you thrive in a constantly evolving digital landscape, excel at pinpointing vulnerabilities in vast networks and enjoy collaborating with a team to fortify and protect critical information assets, you may be fit for a career as a network security analyst.

Career overview

Network security analysts — a subset of information security analysts — are key in safeguarding companies’ networks from cyber threats. Often operating as part of a larger IT team, they are responsible for planning, designing and implementing security measures, as well as network monitoring, to prevent data loss, service interruptions and unauthorized access.

These security professionals must be in-the-know about new security risks and hacking techniques so they can thwart security breaches effectively. In case of spontaneous events such as power outages natural disasters and security breaches, network security analysts also research innovative ways to strengthen network defense, test systems and create disaster recovery plans. Additionally, they analyze network traffic for anomalies and install security features like firewalls and data encryption.

In 2022, around 168,900 information security analysts, including network security analysts, were employed nationally, according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The largest employers of information security analysts include businesses specializing in computer systems design and related services, followed by finance and insurance companies.

Organizations, large and small, have a need for these security professionals, though the scope of work for this role may vary by company. Some job titles related to this career are information security analyst, security analyst, security engineer, cyber network security analyst, security administrator, threat intelligence analyst and vulnerability tester.

Career-relevant skills

You may need the following skills and foundational knowledge during day-to-day experience in the network security analyst career:

  • Governance
  • Risk management
  • Infrastructure
  • Asset protection
  • Risk mitigation
  • Disaster recovery
  • Network defense fundamentals
  • Intrusion detection and prevention
  • Scripting
  • Programming
  • Data security
  • Network automation
  • Python
  • Endpoint security
  • Security management
  • Enterprise network security
  • Forensic investigation analysis
  • Threat assessment and response
  • Cloud computing
  • Data loss strategy
  • Administrative network strategy

Additional skills:

  • System administration
  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
  • Information assurance
  • Security controls
  • Incident response
  • Risk management framework
  • Security systems
  • Network switches
  • Management information systems
  • Project management
  • Risk analysis
  • Investigation
  • Troubleshooting

Soft skills

Regularly used on the job

Some vital soft skills for network security analysts include analytical thinking, problem solving, decision making and communication, along with project management abilities such as coordination and time management.

Salary range $90 - 153K

25th to 75th percentile

Information security analysts, within the 25th and 75th percentiles, earned between $90,050 and $153,550 in 2023, according to BLS nationwide statistics.[1]

53,200 jobs

Projected growth (2022-2032)

Employment for all information security analysts is projected to grow by 32% nationally between 2022 and 2032, BLS reports. Based on this projection, 222,200 information security analysts are expected to be in the workforce by 2032.

[1] Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website. The BLS Projected Growth for 2022-2032 is published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data reflects the BLS’ projections of national (not local) conditions. These data points are not specific to University of Phoenix students or graduates.

Education and experience

Network security analyst uses a laptop to find and fix potential security issues

To pursue a network security analyst role, candidates are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, cybersecurity or a related major such as math or engineering. It is possible to enter this career with a high school diploma —supplemented with relevant training and certifications — though this is not the norm. Even with a bachelor’s degree, industry certifications can be an asset. 

Additionally, certificate programs can also be beneficial while working toward the network security analyst career. Certificate programs, shorter than degree programs, can help you stay on top of the latest trends in your industry and hone skills you can utilize in the real world. At University of Phoenix, our certificate programs are designed to support individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree and are looking to specialize or expand their expertise within a specific field.

Demonstrating work experience in a related field may give you an advantage as a job candidate. Many analysts start off in an information technology (IT) department, working as network and computer systems administrators, according to BLS.

As you gain work experience within the network security analyst career, you may have opportunities to advance to computer and information systems management roles, such as chief security officer, BLS states. You may also be able to progress in the field by managing a team of other security engineers and analysts or specializing in a specific area of information security.

At University of Phoenix, we offer certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs that lead to the network security analyst career outcome. Our programs allow you to fit your education into your busy schedule, taking one course at a time in five- to six-week intervals. Learn more about which of these programs — focused on teaching you the skills you’ll need in your career — is right for you.

Bachelor's degrees

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program provides students with a deeper understanding of a variety of topics in the cybersecurity field. These topics include cyber domain, internet networking, networking analysis and network monitoring, fundamental security concepts to mitigate packet vulnerabilities, security team participation, cloud computing and wireless security. Students can further expand their knowledge and skill development through cybersecurity courses on our Cybersecurity Analyst Defender track, which closely align to industry certifications through EC Council.

In this program, you’ll learn how to: 

  • Examine an organization's infrastructure to ensure compliance with cybersecurity standards and policies
  • Evaluate organizational policies and strategies to determine potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities
  • Apply a variety of hacking tools and techniques to expose risk and protect and secure network systems in a variety of organizations
  • Apply the known phases of ethical hacking to protect and secure networks systems in a variety of organizations
  • Apply object-oriented scripting to solve potential cyber-security attacks

You can earn this degree by completing 120 credits through courses in general education, core topics and elective subjects. The length of this program is 47 months, and each course is five weeks long.

Master's degrees

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity required course of study focuses on deepening the understanding of cybersecurity and operations at an enterprise level. Students will learn topics in information assurance like how threat analysis, incident response and vulnerability detection contribute to a cybersecurity strategy along with an understanding of how standards and policies can serve as a guideline for risk mitigation. Students gain exposure to software, cloud and network security as well as ethical issues in the cybersecurity industry. Students can choose to pursue elective topics in tactical cybersecurity before completing a capstone course where they apply their learning through a security team participation course.

In this program, you’ll learn how to: 

  • Design elements of an enterprise using standards and tactics in cybersecurity
  • Consider ethical and privacy protocols in enterprise cybersecurity
  • Implement cybersecurity frameworks and policies in risk management

You can earn this degree by completing 39 credits through courses in required and elective topics. This program is 18 months long. Each course is six weeks in length.


Cyber and Network Defense Certificate (Undergraduate)

The Cyber and Network Defense Certificate teaches the methods for looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in systems. IT firms are the main recruiters of ethical hackers, however these experts are also needed by other industries like financial service providers, airlines, retail chains and hotels. An added benefit is the content is aligned to the EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification exam and builds hacking skills in a legal and legitimate way.

In this program, you’ll learn how to: 

  • Use ethical hacking principles
  • Execute secure networking fundamentals
  • Understand data programming

You can earn this certificate by completing 18 credits. This program is 7 months long. Each course is five weeks in length.

Heading off security problems before they become critical is a part of a security analyst's job

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