Picture this, the big company you were dreaming of working for just opened a vacancy for an information security analyst. Your strong educational background and the experience that you gained in the field over the last ten years will land you the interview, and you’re confident that you possess all the knowledge and skills to excel in that job.
But, you are a bit nervous because you haven’t been interviewed in such a long time, and you don’t really know what to expect.
Luckily you’ve landed on this page! Today I’m going to list the most common Information Security Analyst Interview Questions, and more importantly, the best ways to answer them.
So, get ready to nail that interview?
What Does an Information Security Analyst Do?
Before we get to the questions, let’s define exactly what an information security analyst does and what requirements are usually assessed by the recruiters during an interview.
Why is this information important?
Well, because if you don’t have much actual job experience, some of the questions will revolve around that. However, the interviewer will want to make sure that besides the technical knowledge, you’re also aware of what it takes to be a good security analyst.
An information security analyst is in charge of the cybersecurity of a company. In a world that relies so heavily on technology, professions such as security analysts are in high demand. Since this is not going to change anytime soon, a career in this field is a fantastic choice for anybody who’s interested in computers.
If you just graduated from high school and you’re still unsure about your college studies, this is a possibility that will guarantee you a high-paying job for the rest of your life.
The main responsibilities of an Information Security Analyst are:
- Design and upgrade security systems
- Install security software
- Periodically test the efficiency of the security measures by running penetration tests
- Quickly respond to security breaches
- Design a disaster recovery plan
- Analyze and document the damages caused by a security breach
While this list is far from being complete, it should be enough to give a general overview of what a day in the life of a security analyst looks like.
But what are the requirements to become an information security analyst?
There are three essential components that make a good security analyst: education, hard skills, and soft skills. Be ready to be tested on all of them during your interview.
Most employers prefer to hire somebody with at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or any relevant field. For high-paying positions in big companies, a master’s degree might be necessary.
However, many information security analysts still manage to thrive in their careers without a formal education. Some of them are self-taught, while others acquire the necessary knowledge by attending a technical school or an online boot camp.
An important aspect of the profession is ongoing training. Technology changes so quickly that anyone not willing to keep up to date with it will be out of the market in just a couple of years, if not less.
Hard skills are those skills that are deeply connected to the profession. They are usually acquired through education and training. Moreover, they are easily measurable.
The most important hard skills that any security analysis needs to master are:
- In-depth knowledge of networks, software, hardware, operating systems, and security
- Excellent understanding of cybersecurity and the risks involved in a lack of it
- Ability to quickly detect any potential flaw in the security system and quickly react to security breaches
- Working knowledge of the most relevant programming languages
These, on the other hand, are those qualities that relate to personal traits and to our ability to interact and work with other people. Soft skills are essential for any job, but unfortunately, are impossible to measure. Therefore, most recruiters spend a lot of time on this aspect to verify that a candidate really has what it takes.
Many times, a single and brief question combined with an excellent CV is enough to establish if you possess the hard skills required. This is never the case for soft skills.
Let’s list the crucial soft skills that a security analyst should have:
- Attention to detail
- Verbal and written communication
- Ability to work under pressure
- Time management
How To Prepare For The Interview?
The first thing you should do when you prepare for the interview is to make sure that your technical knowledge is absolutely on point. Be prepared to answer any possible questions, especially those that are relevant to extreme situations that you may never have encountered in your career.
Think of the interview as an exam where knowing exactly what to do when you find a problem is not enough, and you must be able to explain using the correct terminology. Review your university books or other reference material.
Lastly, research the company and try to assess the level of risk of a cyber attack and what are the potential damages that a breach in the security system could cause.
The Most Common Question That You Will Get at The Interview
While interviewing for a position like information security analyst, you can expect to be asked multiple technical questions. The answers you will have to give are not something that you can make up on the spot; therefore, your preparation will make the difference between being hired or not.
Since the subject is so complex and vast, there are literally thousands of possible questions, and depending on the security system of the company, they will mainly revolve around some specific aspect of the subject.
If you don’t have a formal education, expect the interviewers to assess any situation that you might encounter, even the most bizarre and unlikely to happen.
What programming languages do you know, and which one do you prefer?
This question is meant to test how versatile you are in your profession. If you know only one programming language and it’s not the one that is normally used in that company, your interview will be over.
However, when knowledge of a specific language is required, it should be mentioned in the description of the job listing.
What’s the difference between encoding and encrypting?
This is an example of a technical question that tests your knowledge of a specific term. After you define what encoding and encrypting are, briefly explain how they are used in your profession.
The most important thing when answering this type of question is to keep it short and to get straight to the point. If the interviewer wants you to elaborate more on some part of your answer, they will ask a follow-up question.
How do you assess cybersecurity when you start working in a new company?
This question will test how quickly you can adapt to a new work environment and how well your competencies will benefit your new company right from the start.
Show them that you have a clear roadmap to follow to implement the security system of the company.
What do you do to keep yourself updated with the latest technology?
As already mentioned, ongoing training is an integral part of the job. To prove to the recruiters that keeping yourself updated is one of your priorities, provide them with an example of something new that you’ve recently learned, and explain to them how it will be beneficial in your profession.
What’s your strategy to prevent data leakage?
If the company you’re interviewing for stores sensitive data, expect at least some questions on how you can prevent a leak and what you would do if it happens.
For some companies, a data breach is the biggest fear. Before hiring an information security analyst, they have to be sure they are the best person available to protect their data.
What’s your educational background?
This is a common question that always comes up for anybody who doesn’t have a formal education. Regardless of what they can see on your resume, the recruiters want to have a clear understanding of how you learned the profession and how extensive your knowledge is.
Tell us about your biggest achievement
When asking this question, the recruiters want to assess how well you can put your knowledge into practice. Did you ever have to react to a cyber attack, and you managed to do it quickly and effectively? This is exactly what they would like to hear.
But, What About The Most Common Interview Questions?
No worries, we have everything you could possibly need on the site to answer all the potential interview questions you could be asked. So, check out my comprehensive guides on Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, How to Answer What is Your Greatest Strength, as well as how to respond to Why Do You Want to Work Here, or Why We Should Hire You in 2022?
Plus, if you’re looking for recommendations of some top resources for interviewing at your best, check out the excellent Interview Like A Pro, How to Create Positive Impressions, as well as Answering Tough Interview Questions For Dummies.
Back to today’s topic…
For any successful job interview, preparation is the key. But for a highly specialized position such as information security analyst, it is even more important.
A single question can reveal your weakness and compromise your chances of success. Therefore, make sure your preparation is on point if you want to nail the interview. Use the Interview Questions for Information Security Analysts included in this article as a starting point and be ready to answer any question either about your hard or soft skills.
All the very best with your interview!