Build a Rewarding Career in a Security Operations Center
It’s a Cyber World we live in. To stay relevant and ensure job security means upskilling and finding the opportunity to work in a growing industry. While it is in dire need of skilled professionals, the cybersecurity industry also demands and rewards a continuous learning mindset. There’s no better example of this than the Security Operations Center (SOC). It’s at the very heart of a mature company’s cybersecurity framework and offers job security and long-term career prospects for those who value training and certifications. Are you ready for the change?
What Is a SOC?
Once upon a time, data security used to be simple — lock everything of value in a secure locker, within a secure room, and maybe have a guard watching over it. However, in such a vastly digitally connected world, data security has become a 24/7 proposition, bringing in the need for a dedicated Security Operations Center (SOC).
A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a centralized unit that deals
with high-quality IT security operations.It is the first line of defense
in the face of a cyberattack.
The SOC team’s primary role is to detect cybersecurity threats and prevent cyber incidents from occurring. However, they also work with and as incident responders and cyber threat intelligence analysts to provide suitable solutions to organizations.
Roles Within a SOC Team
S/he escalates potential threats after analyzing and ranking them on a severity level.
Over 11,000 SOC Analyst jobs lie vacant. 
S/he is the first to respond to the security incident.
Over 35,000 Incident Responder jobs lie vacant. 
S/he analyzes the attack by gathering and preserving pieces of digital evidence.
Over 13,000 Forensic Investigator jobs lie vacant. 
|Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst
S/he monitors and analyzes cyber threat data to provide actionable intelligence.
Over 17,000 Cyber Threat Intelligence Analysts jobs lie vacant. 
S/he manages both the personnel and budget required for security solutions. The SOC Manager also coordinates with the legal department whenever needed.
Over 154,000 SOC Manager jobs lie vacant. 
Common Challenges in SOC Skill Development
Human-led analysis is critical to a SOC’s ability to identify, prioritize, and respond to security incidents. While there are a vast number of tools available to help organizations collect and analyze the massive incoming volumes of data, only human experts can assess the context and situational awareness that is needed to remediate threats. At least for the time being.
Unfortunately, a recent report showed us that SOC teams are still severely underskilled, which raises the need for SOC skill development:
- SOC teams believe themselves to be the most underprepared in two areas: Intrusion Detection (55% unprepared) and Network Monitoring (58% unprepared). 
- SOC teams rely on on-the-job training (41%) and offsite courses (26%) to advance their skill sets. Simulation-based training (Cyber Labs (9%), Range (6%), and Red vs. Blue (7%)) were only used by 22% of respondents.
3 Reasons to Choose a Career in SOC
If you’re looking for one good reason to build a career in SOC, we’ll give you three:
It’s a growing industry
Day after day, more and more security breaches are making headlines and many organizations are eagerly hunting for skilled cybersecurity professionals to shore up their defenses, especially in their SOC.
Thousands of job vacancies
With almost 3 million jobs vacancies globally, cybersecurity is an obviously attractive industry to be in. 
A rewarding career
The average SOC Analyst salary in the United States is $89,228, but the salary range typically falls between $75,741 and $107,275, and these figures will rise as you progress in your career. 
Get Trained and Certified with EC-Council and Go From a
Tier 1 SOC Analyst to a Leadership Role in Cybersecurity
This specially curated track is designed to take you from ground zero all the way through a C-level position in cybersecurity! For graduates pursuing Computer Science related courses, this path shows a clear way into the heart of the cybersecurity industry. For IT professionals with basic knowledge and experience in Network Security Fundamentals, this track offers a clear roadmap to transition to a long and rewarding career in cybersecurity.
One Complete Solution – EC-Council’s SOC Roadmap
The 3 Levels of the SOC Journey
|Entry Level – Tier 1 SOC Analyst
Pre-requisite: Certified Network Defender (CND) Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Choosing the right career path in the cybersecurity industry is not an easy task. Many often get a job in IT or software engineering and then find their way to the cybersecurity domain. This level of the course is designed to help you skip the confusion and start your journey right here.
|Mid-Level – Tier 2 SOC Analyst
Pre-requisite: Already working as a Tier 1 SOC Analyst, ideally with CND+CEH+CSA certifications.
Tier 1 SOC Analysts with 2+ years of relevant experience can now progress to the next step in the SOC journey by gaining Incident Handling and Incident Response skills. Unlike Tier 1 SOC Analysts, who monitor the network, Tier 2 SOC Analysts respond to every incident and handle the event.
|Senior/Managerial Level – Tier 3 SOC Analyst
Pre-requisite: Already working as a Tier 2 SOC Analyst, ideally with CND+CEH+CSA+ECIH certifications.
Tier 2 SOC Analysts with 2+ years of experience can either foray into Computer Forensics or Threat Intelligence to advance in their career. Professionals with incident handling skills can do more justice to roles focused on cyber threat intelligence or computer forensics.
Certifications recommended at this level:
Who Fits Right and When?
- The Cyberbit SOC Skills Survey 2020 – https://www.cyberbit.com/resource/the-cyberbit-soc-skills-survey-2020-how-do-pros-build-their-secops-team
- Cybersecurity Ventures – https://cybersecurityventures.com/jobs
- Salary.com – https://www.salary.com/research/salary/listing/soc-analyst-salary
- The Economics of Security Operations Centers: What is the True Cost for Effective Results? by Ponemon Institute – https://respond-software.com/resources/reports-ebooks/ponemon-institute-respond-software-2/
- EY Global Information Security Survey 2019 – https://assets.ey.com/content/dam/ey-sites/ey-com/en_ca/topics/advisory/ey-global-information-security-survey-2018-19.pdf
- LinkedIn Jobs – This data is from the Linkedin Job Search conducted in March 2021.