This article is part of an IT Career News series called Your Next Move. These articles take an inside look at the roles related to CompTIA certifications. Each article will include the responsibilities, qualifications, related job titles and salary range for the role. As you consider the next move in your IT career, check back with CompTIA to learn more about your job prospects and how to get there.
Threat intelligence is a critical piece of the cybersecurity puzzle, and threat intelligence analysts identify and understand emerging threats and indicators of compromise and then take action to prepare accordingly. If you like deep rabbit holes of research and breaking apart language to analyze its true meaning, then a career as a threat intelligence analyst could be a good fit for you.
What Is a Threat Intelligence Analyst?
A threat intelligence analyst detects cyber threats and malware and analyzes the level of threat to inform cybersecurity business decisions. They need to know what cybersecurity risks are of most concern to the organization, what assets need to be protected and how to prioritize threats to focus their efforts on what's most important.
This is not an entry-level position – it requires experience in both cybersecurity and computer networking. While threat intelligence analysts aren’t working directly on IT infrastructure, previous experience as a network administrator or network engineer helps provide the understanding needed to fully understand threats.
A threat intelligence analyst may also be responsible for:
- Predicting trends in cybercrime based on current activity
- Describing threats in layman’s terms to stakeholders and executives
- Deeply analyzing emails, blog posts and social media presences to determine what level threat something or someone poses
- Conducting digital forensics
Threat intelligence analysts have to excel at analytics. This position varies from in-house positions to consulting work. Whatever capacity the company has hired a threat intelligence analyst at, the position is a crucial one. The role of threat intelligence analyst is generally three-fold: technical research, intelligence research and communicating the findings to the proper people. Threat intelligence analysts may be part of an in-house team or work for a managed service provider (MSP) providing cybersecurity services to clients.
How to Become a Threat Intelligence Analyst
Most companies hiring a threat intelligence analyst are looking for someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, cybersecurity, programming or a related field. However, this may not be required if you have several years of experience under your belt.
Threat intelligence analysts need a “very particular set of skills,” to quote Liam Neeson in Taken. They need to stay focused, manage a heavy workload and know when to pursue something and when to move on. Threat intelligence analysts will encounter false positives, so they need to persevere and not get discouraged.
In addition to analytical skills and computer networking experience, as mentioned above, threat intelligence analysts need to be able to communicate their findings to a non-technical audience and make recommendations to inform business decisions. They also need to think one step ahead of a threat actor to try and figure out what they might do next. Knowing foreign languages can also be beneficial when hunting down global threats.
The following certifications can validate the skills needed to become a threat intelligence analyst:
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
- CompTIA Cybersecurity (CySA+)
- CompTIA PenTest+
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
- Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Threat Intelligence Analyst Salary Range
The median advertised salary for a threat intelligence analyst is $98,000 (Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights Jobs).
Threat Intelligence Analyst Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in information security will grow 32% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Job Titles Related to Threat Intelligence Analyst
- Cyber threat intelligence analyst
- Vulnerability analyst
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Security operations center (SOC) analyst
Will your next move be threat intelligence analyst? If so, download the exam objectives for CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) and CompTIA PenTest+ to get started.