The word analyst doesn’t necessarily mean a boring job, in fact, it means the exact opposite. Becoming a security analyst (in other words: a hacker) might be one of the wisest choices you’ll make for years to come. It’s an incredibly rewarding profession that is more sought after than anything else in the digital market at the moment.
Security analysts ensure the information stored on computers or networks is not disclosed to unwanted parties or modified inadvertently, and may also create and maintain security systems. If the data is compromised, security analysts repair the damage and take measures to seal the security hole that enabled the data compromise. Data security analysts typically work under the supervision of an information technology manager.
It became apparent that in early August, 2014 – NYTimes published an article, advising the global internet community to take better care of their passwords, accounts and data in general. The article reports a loss of 1.2 billion user accounts that a Russian hacking group is responsible for. This was quickly overtaken by another article on a website that claims the whole story is nothing but a big lie, and an advertisement for ‘crappy’ security agencies.
Whether or not this is true, your guess is as good as mine. However, because there have been some major breaches of security in some of the largest communities online, it is worth reading the article and taking it in with a grain of salt, to say the least. Here is a massive Google spreadsheet that has a list of the biggest security breaches of the past decade.
Learning to Hack the Web & the World
I will not be focusing a whole lot on the requirements of attending school, high-school and then a university to land yourself a degree in maths and computer science – unfortunately, many of us want to learn the art of hacking through other means, and not just because it is cheaper or you feel like hacking from the comfort of your home is the way to go. It actually is more efficient and you can be specific about the type of a hacker you want to become.
The true God’s of hacking, they usually get hired by large intelligence agencies like CIA, or the FBI. Just last year, Business Insider reported a story where it talked about the issue of government spying on its citizens, through the means of surveillance software developed by hackers, specifically for the FBI.
As you can see, software development is a good place to start. In any case, programming itself is a good place to start if you want to build a career in the field of computer security. Because hacking happens in many different languages, you’ll be required to adapt quickly to ever changing environment.
Programming Languages for Security Experts
As of 2014 – some of the most popular languages to grab a hold of when it comes to computer hacking are;
- Web-stack: Python, PHP, Ruby, etc,.
- Java: billions of connected devices, a lot of demand for professional hackers.
- C++: used to build software for corporate companies, governments. incredibly well-paid jobs.
along the requirement of these languages will come your ability to adapt to new code libraries quickly, have the focus and attention span to work with undocumented code, as well as to adapt to documentations quickly and efficiently. The word quickly will become less of a problem as you gain experience.
We can also take a look at the less technical requirements of security analysts, all of which are necessary to have a steady pace of progress. Remember: the web is always evolving, as is technology that we work with. You should consider the following non-technical requirements:
- The ability to learn quickly. (Overcoming obstacles.)
- Knowledge in doing effective (to the point) presentations.
- Write and maintain project schedules.
- Set, plan and achieve milestones.
- Have a sense of direction within the team.
- Capability to work alone, efficiently.
- Know how to ask questions. (Very important.)
all of these fall under the category of knowing how to program, having a sense of direction for your journey, and also being able to grow independently – as not every job is permanent, though quick jobs can often lead to quick (big) money.
Finding an Actual Employer
Unfortunately, many amazing security jobs are never advertised for – simply because companies haven’t yet realized that they might need a security expert on-board. But, expect that to change in the very near future (already changing) as the Bay Area and New York startup worlds are exploding with new apps, products and other software that needs someone to protect it.
You could also try the approach of Detectify; hack Google’s production servers and then make a public announcement about it – the sheer volume of press, recognition and praise all across the hacker community has been invaluable, and they’ve gained a lifetime long list of clients, partnerships and business offers.
Try Your Friends First
Many companies never advertise for security positions, mainly because it is not considered the norm, and everyone feels secure in some way or another. For this, try your contacts first. If you feel comfortable with starting work as a security analyst for a company right away – find connections trough your friends first.
Let Them Know You’re for Hire
The management in charge of hiring you is almost always going to look at a few things that might or might not land you a new job, they’re:
- Your CV (experience, blah, blah, etc,.)
- Your Phone / Email Responses
- Your Presentation Style (of Yourself)
believe me, companies don’t need a fat cookie eating bastard dressed in five-year old shorts, sucking on a bottle of coca-cola. We’re talking about big money here, and big money means an investment of time on your side.
Quicken-Up the Hiring Process
If you feel really confident about landing a job straight away, the best way to go about things is to constantly bombard the company you want to work for – with self-assuring messages, case study reports and similar material that could grab the attention of your next-to-be employer. Instead of sending an email, pick up the phone and state that you’re serious about this job offer. It makes all the difference.
Global Job Boards
It’s possible that none of the above has worked out for you, so applying through an online job board like Indeed.com might be your best bet, though it is important to remember that such job boards will require quite some qualifications and prior years of experience in the field of security – which, as I said, is not really what we’re trying to go for.
Just Words if You Don’t Go for Action
It would be silly of me to suggest online resources that can help to drive you in the right direction when it comes to learning the art of online hacking. I’ve been down that route once in my life, and after it had caught up with me a couple of years later – I realized it is more dangerous (if you’re not careful) than a lot of other things in life. Yes, it is rewarding at the same time.
We’ve got basic understanding of where we need to begin our journey, and with that in mind – I feel like it is time to wrap up this post. I’d like to leave you with this BBC news article about the hacker event of the year – Def Con. It is the largest hacker gathering in the World, and happens every year in the spectacular Las Vegas.
If you do happen to be serious about becoming a hacker (security analyst), then spend the better part of the next year practicing, and then take what you’ve learned to Def Con – where someone (not just one, but many) will guide you in the direction of the next best step to take.