Data analytics pros are some of the most sought after workers today, and forecasts show that demand will continue to outpace supply. If you are looking for a stable, high-growth career, analytics is a good way to go.
Another fast-growing technology career is cyber security, as organizations must continue to improve their defenses against threats and attacks in the wake of high-profile attacks against well-known brands.
Now IT industry association CompTIA is offering a technology certification that encompasses both of these specialties.
The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+) certification marries behavioral analytics to threat assessment in cyber security. The vendor-neutral certification will offer broad-spectrum validation of knowledge and skills required to configure and use cyber threat detection tools, perform data analysis, and interpret the results to identify vulnerabilities, threats, and risks to an organization, according to CompTIA.
That's especially important as the Internet of Things (IoT) has added more devices, and vulnerabilities into the network mix, according to CompTIA.
CompTIA president and CEO Todd Thibodeaux told UBM Tech that the time has come for this certification.
"We've been monitoring the market for quite some time and reviewing the changes in job posting descriptions and felt the cyber analytics piece had reached a tipping point making now the right time," he said.
Behavioral analytics provide an important window into cyber security threats, according to Thibodeaux. Analysts can draw from the wealth of data logged by hardware infrastructure to look for patterns that could point to "corporate espionage, denials of service, mayhem, or just bots probing for points of vulnerability for later attacks," he said.
Thibodeaux said the training time and commitment would be similar to that of the Security+ certification, and that someone with 3 to 5 years of experience should expect to spend about an hour a week of training to get ready to take the exam.
Analytics brings an important component to the practice of cyber security, according to James Stanger, CompTIA's senior director for products.
"By placing greater emphasis on data analytics, we get a real-time, holistic view of the behavior of the network, its users, and their devices to identify potential vulnerabilities and strengthen the before an intrusion happens," he said in a statement. "Armed with this information, cybersecurity professionals can more precisely identify potential risks and vulnerabilities so that resources can be allocated where they're most needed."
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, median pay for Information Security Analysts was $90,120 per year in 2015, and demand for these professionals is forecast to grow by 18% between 2014 and 2024, much faster than other professions.
CompTIA now offers three security certifications. The organization says this new one bridges the skills gap between its CompTIA Security+ certification and its CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) exam. The Security+ certification offers training in best practices for IT security, including principles for network security and risk management. The CASP certification certifies critical thinking and judgment across a broad spectrum of security disciplines, the organizations said.
This portfolio of three certifications create "a vendor-neutral cybersecurity career pathway," according to the organization.