Are you looking for a role as a cybersecurity analyst, but don’t have an IT background? A few years ago, this may have prevented a lot of people entering the cybersecurity industry, but the rise in cyber crime combined with the labour talent shortage means that many companies are loosening their hiring criteria standards to fill vacant roles.

Through our own cybersecurity assessment platform, FifthDomain has been able to place many employees into security roles, many of whom don’t come from a traditional cybersecurity or IT background. Technical skills can be learned on the job, as long as the company is willing to train staff with the right aptitude. What employers get in return is a highly-skilled individual with many transferable skills that are needed in the security industry.

Below we have outlined 5 non-technical skills that are critical to becoming an excellent SOC Analyst.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a vital skill in any job. Whether you’ve acquired this through working as a barista or a Managing Director, being able to analyse information and come up with solutions is a valuable asset to look for in a SOC candidate. Most SOC analysts have to learn on the job because the threat landscape is constantly evolving as cyber criminals continuously find new ways to attack people online.

Asking questions, considering the scenario context, checking assumptions and considering alternatives are all aspects of a diligent SOC analyst. Applying these skills in a speedy and effective manner will make that person a huge asset to a security operations company.


The SOC Analysts who are the most successful are the ones who never stop learning. Due to the nature of everchanging cyber threats, SOC analysts must constantly keep up-to-date with what their adversaries are practicing and how to combat these threats. Curiosity also leads to innovation because curious people want to find ways to improve existing solutions.

While studying computer science or cybersecurity can give you a leg up when looking for a SOC analyst role, many employers are just as interested in projects that you do in your own time. For example, a person with no IT education but who knows how to secure a router and configure a firewall in their spare time shows that they have initiative and practical skills. Having a curiosity into how things work is often more important than formal education.


One of the biggest challenges that technically-minded people face is their ability to convey information in layman’s terms. It’s easy to slip jargon and complex ideas into conversation, often forgetting that the people around you may have no idea what you’re talking about. If you’re someone with excellent verbal and written communication skills, then this will help you as a SOC analyst.

You may be asked to communicate technical concepts to a group with no technical expertise, such as executives or a legal team. SOC analysts are required to write documents including incident reports and playbooks. Communication skills are also vital for working in a team. You need to be able to talk to other people at work and build rapport with them to work together more effectively.


There is a major misconception that people who work in cybersecurity are working alone in a dark basement. In fact, SOC teams must work together closely and cooperatively (more often than not in a well-lit room) because they are only as strong as their weakest analyst. When a cyberattack happens, the SOC teams that perform the best are the ones that collaborate well because they are able to respond quickly and effectively to mitigate the damage. Sharing knowledge with members of your team not only makes you a team player, but it also lifts the team as a whole.

SOC analysts also need to collaborate with other teams within their company, such as legal, public relations and sales to share their findings and knowledge.

Methodical Approach

People with a methodical approach to working will have an advantage as a SOC analyst. It’s important when investigating a potential security incident to have a clear plan and stick to it. You need to be thorough and make sure that nothing is missed because there could be consequences such as a malicious actor being able to gain access to a client’s network again. People with a background in research or journalism possess these skills because they need to make sure that everything they publish is backed up with facts and sources. Good SOC analysts make sure everything they do is well documented with proper playbooks in place, so that if a similar situation were to occur they know how to respond immediately.

Are you looking for a way to effectively and efficiently assess potential cyber candidates? Get in touch with FifthDomain today.

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