Essential Skills for a Cyber Analyst

The increasing threat of cybercrime means the demand for skilled cyber security analysts in the UK is at an all-time high. These cyber security professionals play a vital role in safeguarding organisations from data breaches, malware attacks, and other security threats. But if you’ve been wondering ‘what does a cyber security analyst do?’ and ‘what skills do you need to be a cyber security analyst?’, then keep reading! We’ll explore it all in this article.

What is a cyber analyst?

A cyber analyst, also known as a cybersecurity analyst, is a security professional responsible for analysing and mitigating cyber threats. They are the protectors of a businesses digital assets, using a combination of technical expertise and analytical thinking to identify vulnerabilities, detect suspicious activity, and implement security measures.

What does a cyber security analyst do?

Cyber security analysts have a wide variety of responsibilities, from evaluating and protecting IT infrastructure from cybercrime, to being the first line of defence against security threats. A cyber analyst is tasked with safeguarding a businesses’ confidential assets and putting in place strict security measures to prevent data breaches.

Specific tasks of a cyber security analyst will vary depending on the business, but other core responsibilities include:

  • Security monitoring: Continuously monitoring networks and systems for signs of suspicious activity.
  • Vulnerability assessment and penetration testing: Identifying weaknesses in an organisation’s security posture through simulated attacks.
  • Incident response: Responding to security breaches, investigating the source, and containing the damage.
  • Threat intelligence gathering: Staying up-to-date on the latest cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Security policy creation and implementation: Developing and enforcing security policies to protect sensitive data.

Essential skills for a cyber security analyst

To excel as a cyber security analyst, you’ll need a blend of technical knowledge and soft skills. Here are some of the most essential skills for a cyber security analyst:

Technical skills for a cyber security analyst

Strong understanding of networking concepts 

Cyber analysts must have a solid grasp of network protocols, firewalls (both their types and configurations), and intrusion detection systems. This is essential for understanding how attackers move through a network and how to stop them!

Operating systems expertise

Cyber analysts should be proficient in Windows, Linux, and other operating systems (e.g. MacOS). This allows them to understand how different systems are secured and identify vulnerabilities specific to each platform!

Security tools and technologies

If you’re looking to become a cyber security analyst, you should also have a good knowledge of security information and event management (SIEM) tools for log analysis, vulnerability scanners to identify weaknesses in systems, and security frameworks to guide your security strategy.

Scripting and programming

Cyber analysts should have familiarity with scripting languages like Python or PowerShell. These can be used to automate tasks, analyse data, and develop custom security tools.


As more organisations move to the cloud, understanding cloud security concepts and platforms (e.g. AWS Security, Microsoft Azure Security) is becoming increasingly important. In fact, according to data from GIAC Certifications, having cloud security skills can increase your salary by £15,000!

Intrusion detection

A cyber security analyst should not just be able to understand IDS, but also be able to configure, deploy and analyse the data they generate to identify and respond to potential intrusions.

Implementing incident responses

This goes beyond just responding to an attack; being a cyber analyst also includes developing and maintaining an incident response plan, conducting training exercises, and working with other teams to ensure a smooth and effective response.

Soft skills for a cyber security analyst

Analytical thinking and problem-solving

Identifying root causes of security issues and developing solutions requires strong analytical skills. You’ll need to be able to think critically, analyse data effectively, and come up with creative solutions to complex problems.


The ability to clearly communicate complex technical concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences is crucial for cyber analysts. You’ll need to explain security risks to management, provide incident reports, and collaborate with colleagues who may not have a deep understanding of cybersecurity.


Collaboration with IT teams, security professionals, and even law enforcement is often necessary for a cyber analyst. You’ll need to be able to work effectively as part of a team and share information openly.

Attention to detail

A keen eye for detail is essential for spotting anomalies in network activity that might indicate a potential attack. This could be anything from unusual login attempts to unexpected spikes in traffic.


The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, with new threats emerging all the time. The ability to learn new skills and adapt to changing technologies

A career as a cyber security analyst offers a dynamic and rewarding opportunity to be at the forefront of cybersecurity.  The demand for skilled professionals shows no signs of slowing down, making it a great time to enter this exciting field.

Are you ready to take your first steps towards a rewarding career in cyber security? Explore our current cyber security analyst vacancies across the UK and find your perfect role!