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SOC Analyst Job Profile, Skills, Certifications, and Salary.

What is a SOC Analyst?

SOC Analyst is a security professional who actively monitors cybersecurity incidents within the organization and identifies threats and vulnerabilities that can pose severe risks to the IT infrastructure of the organization. SOC stands for Security Operation Center. It is a department in an organization housing a team of cybersecurity professionals along with the SOC Analysts. The primary objective of a SOC team is to handle the security operations of an organization. SOC team can also be outsourced by an organization to strengthen their security posture.

Any newbie or experienced professionals can apply for the position of SOC Analyst. In this section, we will discuss the job profile, salaries, skills, certifications, and training that can help you to forge a promising career as a SOC Analyst.

SOC Analyst job profile

The responsibilities of  SOC Analysts include protecting the information assets from unauthorized access. They look after suspicious activities in the network and mitigate the risks associated with them. There are three levels or tiers of the SOC Analyst position known as L1, L2, and L3. According to experts, most SOC Analysts have two or more years of experience in IT or networking before applying for the SOC Analyst job role. They start from L1, and their career progresses from L2 and L3 after acquiring specific skills and experience.

Apart from these levels, Shift Leads, Security Consultants, SOC Managers, and SOC Engineers are within a Security Operation Center. SOC Engineers are software and hardware specialists responsible for the maintenance and development of the systems and tools used by the analysts. The SOC Shift Leads are responsible for formulating, implementing, and documenting appropriate methodologies. They instruct the junior members of the SOC team in handling security incidents. At the top of the hierarchy, SOC Managers look after the security operations and are responsible for hiring and training the SOC staff. In case of a significant security risk, they directly manage the team.

Skills required for a SOC Analyst job role

Following are the skills required for a SOC analyst job role:

  • Network Defending : Networks are more prone to cyberattacks as they are actively connected to the internet. Cybercriminals often target networks and exploit the vulnerabilities present in them. Therefore, securing the network infrastructure of an organization is the primary task of SOC Analysts. He/She must be well-versed with how the network functions and how to defend it from potential threats. The network defending skills facilitate them to monitor, detect, and analyze the threats that can evade the network security posture.
  • Ethical hacking or penetration testing: To defend the networks against cyberattacks, SOC Analysts must possess the mindset of a hacker. The proficiency in ethical hacking helps SOC Analysts to uncover vulnerabilities in the security posture of the organization. In-depth knowledge of penetration testing enables them to test the web application, network, and systems for vulnerabilities and report them to the higher authorities.
  • Incident response :Incidence response skills are crucial to manage and mitigate the risks of cyberattacks. The objective of an incidence response is to reduce the damage caused by the cyberattacks and recover as early as possible. The SOC Analyst must be efficient in responding to the incidents and improving the existing security controls to prevent future data breach incidents.
  • Digital forensics : The understanding of digital forensics enables SOC Analysts to analyze, monitor, and collect evidence of the data breach. The collected data and pieces of evidence are used to report and prevent future data breaches.
  • Reverse Engineering : Sometimes attackers take advantage of bugs present in the software applications and compromise the systems. The SOC Analyst utilizes reverse engineering knowledge to check the performance of a software program and fix the bug in it.

Some of the specific technical skills include:

  • Understanding of Windows/Linux/MAC
  • Knowledge of programming languages such as Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, Perl, and more
  • In-depth understanding and implementation of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions such as IBM QRadar and Splunk
  • Knowledge of fundamentals of computer networking such as routing, switching, TCP/IP, OSI model, and more
  • Networking protocols
  • Vulnerability assessment and penetration testing
  • Strong communication and report writing skills are usefulin addressing the security issues with the various stakeholders in an organization

SOC Analyst certifications and training

The certifications enable you to demonstrate your skills and technical knowledge to employers. They play a critical role whether you are looking forward to getting new opportunities or advancing in your career. There are various SOC certifications that can assist you in gaining the required skills to become a successful SOC Analyst. They are mentioned below:

CompTIA Security+ : CompTIA Security+ is a baseline certification validating the skills of candidates to perform core technical issues. This certification course is perfect for understanding common threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities. It also covers fundamentals related to incidence response along with governance and compliance issues. Security+ certification serves as a perfect launchpad to kickstart your career in the Cybersecurity domain.

CompTIA Security+ SYO-601 Training

CompTIA CySA+ : After earning CompTIA Security+ certification, you can go for CompTIA CySA+ (CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst Certification), which is an intermediate-level certification developed for security analysts. During the training course, You will learn and validate the primary skills required for a Security Analyst, such as threat and vulnerability management, software and systems security, security operations, and monitoring and incidence response.

CompTIA CySA+ Certification Training

EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (CSA): EC-Council’s CSA certification is mainly developed for aspiring Tier 1 and Tier 2 SOC Analysts. The certification course enables SOC Analysts to understand various SOC processes and work efficiently within a SOC team. To know more about CSA certification, go through the following blog:

Certified Soc Analyst (CSA): What you need to know

EC-Council’s Certified SOC Analyst training course

The following training courses will equip you with the necessary and most in-demand skills to carry out the complex tasks in your day-to-day work life.

Infosec Train’s SOC Analyst training : Infosec Train’s SOC Analyst training program is a meticulously designed, practical-driven training course for current or aspiring Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 SOC Analysts. The training will give you an in-depth understanding of digital forensics and incidence response covering a range of SOC tools that go hand-in-hand for Security Analysts.

To know more about this customized training program by Infosec Train, read the following blog:

Infosec Train’s SOC Analyst training program

SOC-Analyst-Training

IBM QRadar training : IBM QRadar is a crucial SIEM tool that every SOC analyst must know about. IBM QRadar SIEM Tool Training will thoroughly cover each aspect of this widely used SIEM platform and teach you how to implement and gather useful threat intelligence with its help.

Preparing for a SOC Analyst interview

Preparation before a job interview is a crucial part that involves lots of research and analysis.

  • Gather information about the organization : The first and foremost thing that the applicant should do is start gathering information about the organization, such as about the people holding higher positions in the organization, their priorities, security tools, and solutions they are utilizing to protect their security posture. Get an in-depth understanding of these security tools and prepare yourself to face questions about them.
  • Keep yourself updated with the recent Cyberattacks : A candidate also needs to be well-versed about the recent data breaches or Cybersecurity incidents. The interviewer may ask questions about these incidents to check your awareness about the current happenings. For example, he may ask your views and thoughts on how these incidents could have been prevented.
  • Research on frequently asked SOC Analyst Interview questions online : You can search for the SOC Analyst interview questions over the internet and get an understanding of what types of questions are asked. You can prepare your own answers and present yourself confidently in front of the interviewing panel. Here are the 20 Most Common SOC Analyst Interview Questions & Answers that may help you better understand the type of questions asked in an interview.
  • Make a list of your achievements : It is recommended to prepare a list of the achievements you have accomplished in your previous jobs as sometimes the interviewer asks questions on your past achievements directly.
  • Soft skills are crucial : Soft skills are certainly the deciding factor in an interview. Highlight your soft skills confidently while answering the questions about your responsibilities and accomplishments. Ensure the skills you are highlighting align with the requirements of the job position you are applying for.

SOC Analyst career advancement and salaries

As mentioned earlier, SOC Analysts start their career as L1 SOC Analysts, and after acquiring skills and experiences, they progress through L2 and L3. After honing their skills, they can end up working in incidence response, security program management, and other leadership roles.

SOC Analyst salary in India

SOC Analyst annual salary graph, source: Glassdoor

Demand for SOC Analysts at the entry-level is relatively high. These cybersecurity professionals work within the SOC team across various industries, including education, finance, healthcare, and other government agencies. According to Glassdoor, a SOC Analyst’s average salary in India is ₹478k per year, ranging between ₹317k to ₹915k.

SOC Analyst salary in the United States

SOC Analyst salary in the United States, Source: Glassdoor

In the United States, a SOC Analyst’s average salary is around $76k, ranging between $53k to $116k.

Wrap up

SOC Analyst is a challenging job profile. Just having the knowledge of SIEM tools and log management is not enough. SOC Analysts must keep looking at the larger picture and sometimes think out of the box to outsmart the intelligent and well-funded hackers. They must be passionate about their job and must possess a continuously evolving mindset to stay ahead in the game.

Infosec Train offers training courses for the reputed SOC Analyst certifications, including EC-Council’s CSA certification and CompTIA CySA+. In addition to this, there are other Customized courses developed by our industry veterans to hone the skills of aspiring SOC Analysts. You can check the latest schedule of these courses by visiting the link mentioned below:

AUTHOR
Shubham Bhatt ( )
Infosec Train
Shubham Bhatt holds a bachelor's degree in computer science & engineering. He is passionate about information security and has been writing on it for the past three years. Currently, he is working as a Content Writer & Editor at Infosec Train.
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