How to Become a Compliance Analyst | Flatiron School (2023)

Compliance analysts are cyber security experts who help companies remain compliant with regulations. Here’s how you can become one.

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Perhaps the most quoted scene of Lord of the Rings is when Gandalf the Grey stands up against the giant Balrog and yells, “You shall not pass!”; challenging the monster, inevitably causing it to fall into darkness.

As a cyber security compliance analyst, you are Gandalf the Grey, and the Balrog is the whole of noncompliant cyber security policies. Letting these policies through will be detrimental to the organization that you work for and for the assets that you have to protect. Compliance isn’t always easy to achieve, but it’s always a necessity in the cyber security industry.

So, then, how do you become a compliance analyst? Let’s get into what compliance analysts are, what they do, their salaries, roles, and how you can learn to become a compliance analyst.

What is a compliance analyst?

Before digging into the role of a compliance analyst, let’s talk about what the word compliance actually means. In cyber security terms, compliance is the act of adhering to rules that have been put in place through industry regulations and government legislation.

These overarching “rules” of cyber security are primarily upheld through routine audits. Audits are inspections that organizations perform to ensure that cyber security standards are being held by any entities that are involved in the industry. A good example of a routine audit is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This risk management security standard has been implemented to reduce identity theft and fraud through credit card transactions.


While it’s not required by law to comply with PCI DSS, merchants who fail to do so are unable to conduct transactions with VISA or MasterCard customers; this has an obvious, negative impact on sales. For the sake of security and profits, companies need compliance professionals who can help them remain cyber security compliant; this is where the compliance analyst comes in.

What does a compliance analyst do?

Compliance analysts contribute to security designs through acquisitions and/or system developments to deliver and maintain a compliant system. Put simply, compliance analysts help companies remain compliant with regulations, thus preparing them for audits. By figuring out which regulations affect “Company X,” compliance teams can then develop a plan to meet the necessary standards. They research, educate, and project-manage to ensure that all members of a cyber security team are on the same page.

Compliance analysts either work in-house or as consultants for businesses that don’t need a full-time analyst.

How to Become a Compliance Analyst | Flatiron School (1)

Contrary to how it may sound, compliance analysts don’t spend their days checking off long lists of regulatory boxes. Their assessments are a crucial component of an organization’s success. For example, Yahoo was fined $35 million because they were found non-compliant for failing to disclose a massive security breach promptly. While this incident was going to cost them regardless, having an effective compliance analyst to ensure timely disclosure of the breach would have saved them millions of dollars.

As illustrated with the Yahoo breach, compliance analysts have the potential to make a dramatic impact on a company’s well-being, but compliance doesn’t guarantee security. Risk assessment is another major component of the compliance analyst role. If a company can remain compliant but is unable to mitigate risks, it can end up losing money to threat actors instead of to auditors. Compliance analysts aren’t just sticklers for rules, every once in a while they have to roll up their sleeves and use their wizardry to protect cyber security from imminent threats.

How much does a compliance analyst make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average compliance analyst in the US makes around $63k.

Aside from the obvious factors of location and experience, the type of company that you work for can play a major role in your offer. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll see that companies in nearly every industry are hiring. You may work as a compliance analyst for a traditional cyber security organization, or you could just as easily be hired by your favorite clothing company or even a local hospital.

Cyber security compliance affects all industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of cyber security and information security analysts to grow by 31%(!) by 2029. This is much faster than almost any other profession in any industry across, the country, so you’ll have a lot of choices when deciding what kind of company you’d like to work for.

(Video) How to get into Compliance and AML with no experience + Salary Insights and career progression

These numbers alone show that compliance job opportunities and careers as compliance officers are a great idea both for now and in the future.

For a deeper dive into cyber security careers, read our Ultimate Guide to Cyber Security Careers.

How to Become a Compliance Analyst | Flatiron School (2)

What skills do you need to be a compliance analyst?

Although the job of a compliance analyst tends to have more of a business focus than other cyber security roles, technical prowess is a must. To help a company achieve compliance, an analyst must understand the cyber security concepts that they are analyzing.

When functioning as auditors, a compliance analyst can’t just rely on other cyber security professionals to give them all of the information that they need; doing so may jeopardize the accuracy of their assessment.

While other professionals can certainly help in an assessment, they may not have the same industry or legal expertise as the compliance analyst.

If you’ve done your research and read some of our other security career explainers, you’ve probably noticed that “communication skills” are regularly listed as a skill you’ll need to succeed in a variety of cyber security roles; this is especially true for the compliance analyst.

On any given day, a compliance analyst can speak with other cyber security professionals, auditors, state and federal agency representatives, GDPR, NIST, HIPAA representatives, business executives, and really anyone who’s involved in the organization that’s being analyzed. A compliance analyst must be able to communicate effectively and act as an interpreter between different stakeholders to translate compliance requirements understandably. If you’re a people person, this is the cyber security role for you.

Lastly, soft skills are extremely important in cyber security. An inquisitive mindset is crucial for compliance analysis. At face value, companies may appear compliant and protected from malicious hackers. It’s up to the compliance analyst to dig deeper than anyone else and figure out what the real state of an organization is. It’s up to you as the compliance analyst, to find the weak points in what others see as a rock-solid cyber security strategy.

(Video) Work Day In My Life | Compliance Analyst (Detailed)

How to Become a Compliance Analyst | Flatiron School (3)

How does a compliance analyst fit into a cyber team?

The advancement of cyber threats has led many organizations to develop their own Security Operations Center (SOC). A SOC consists of a cohesive cyber-team made of security engineers, Pen Testers, security analysts, and data scientists. Each member of the team brings a unique skill set that assists in the efforts of preventing, detecting, analyzing, and responding to security threats.

The engineers are the technical experts that build and secure the networks and the detection tools of the company. The data scientists analyze the mass data that a company produces, to discover network insights. Analysts use these discoveries to actively search for anomalies in their network that might indicate malicious activity. When anomalies are spotted, analysts work with the engineers to set traps and contain threats.

These traps can also be set preemptively in what’s known as “active defense.” Pen Testers are white-hat hackers who simulate cyber attacks on their own network to discover its vulnerabilities. They report their findings to the team so that, together, they can fill the network’s security gaps.

You may have noticed that the compliance analyst role wasn’t mentioned as a member of the SOC. While they’re not directly a core component of the SOC, compliance analysts play a major role in supporting security operations.

If a SOC wishes to function at its best, it has to remain compliant. Without compliance, a SOC will be on the receiving end of steep penalties from failed audits. This means heavy fines, a loss of customers, and even SOC members being fired. Compliance analysts support the SOC team in their operations by educating them on compliance mandates, as well as the protocol that is necessary to meet these standards.

With SOCs in a constant fight for compliance with numerous organizations at once, a compliance analyst is a welcome aid to any cyber security team.

Here’s how you become a compliance analyst

Flatiron School provides the most complete, immersive, and compressed cyber security programs out there. Our Cybersecurity Analytics teaches the technical and analytical skills necessary to be an effective compliance analyst as well as other analytically focused cyber security career paths. Our Cybersecurity Analytics course is also online.

Our programs are a balance of classroom theory and hands-on lab time. This ensures that our students graduate with the level of skill and confidence needed to leave our academy job-ready.

(Video) How To Land A Job In Compliance If You Have Little Or No Experience

The evolution from general IT to cyber security analyst can take three to seven years. The Cybersecurity Analytics program gets you there in as little as 12 weeks.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and lack technical work experience, we’ve got you covered. We offer a Free Cybersecurity Prep Course. You’ll get the introduction that you’ll need to Systems, Networking, and Python to be a rockstar in our programs.

Ready to work your wizardry?

Whether it’s the Balrog, Saruman, or Sauron’s army of orcs and trolls, Gandalf the Grey (or White) wasn’t afraid to stand up to his noncompliant foes. As a compliance analyst, it’s up to you to stand your ground against policies that may prove detrimental to the organization that you represent. Without compliance, it’s nearly impossible for any business that uses the internet to function at a profitable and safe level. If you love problem-solving and working with others, this job is perfect for you.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 31 January 2021. For updated information visit

Posted by Dr. Bret Fund/January 31, 2021


How do I become a compliance analyst? ›

To become a compliance analyst, you need a bachelor's degree and experience in your chosen field, though some organizations request a master's degree. While there is no specific degree for this career path, most employers desire degrees relevant to the company's sector.

What qualifications do I need to get into compliance? ›

How to become a compliance officer
  • Select a specialisation. ...
  • Obtain an undergraduate degree. ...
  • Get work experience. ...
  • Acquire certification.
  • Undertake a master's degree. ...
  • Apply for jobs. ...
  • Understand the organisation. ...
  • Ensure compliance with regulations and laws.
30 Nov 2021

What skills do you need to be a compliance analyst? ›

Compliance Analyst Requirements:

Proficiency in compliance management software, like Paradigm 3 and Intellect Compliance. Exceptional ability to formulate compliance policies, procedures, and related documentation. Advanced analytical abilities. Effective research and professional networking skills.

What is the career path for compliance? ›

Compliance jobs are often in financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications. Compliance officers often need knowledge of ethical practices in their industries. Degrees in engineering, law, and chemistry, as well as economics, finance, and management, are often part of an education in compliance.

How do I start a career in compliance? ›

Compliance officers typically have a four-year bachelor's degree open_in_new. They might start off with a bachelor's degree program that's related to their industry preference. Common majors for aspiring compliance officers include accounting, business, economics, finance, legal studies, management, and manufacturing.

How do I get compliance with no experience? ›

How to get a job in Compliance without experience
  1. Seek an easier path to become a Compliance Officer. ...
  2. Call upon any relevant experience when trying to get into the Compliance field. ...
  3. Building Relationships. ...
  4. Explore an opportunity with the Regulator. ...
  5. Get Qualified. ...
  6. Consider Compliance contracting jobs (temporary work)
10 Jun 2019

How do I start a career in risk and compliance? ›

How Do You Get a Job in Risk and Compliance?
  1. Attain an Accredited Bachelor's Degree. The majority of risk and compliance jobs, including entry-level, require holding at least a four-year baccalaureate degree. ...
  2. Gain Relevant Work Experience. ...
  3. Consider Attending Graduate School. ...
  4. Pursue Professional Certification.

Is compliance a good career path? ›

Compliance is multifarious enough to allow work in new areas and across different industries – everyone needs compliance, and those that help maintain it are important in every firm. Moving between roles and progressing through your career can mean doing more training, job shadowing or branching out to a new industry.

Is compliance a good career choice? ›

Yes, compliance is a good career.

Compliance analysts report their jobs as being easy to transition from industry to industry, enjoying a basic schedule without weekend work, and great flexibility within the field.

Is compliance a stressful job? ›

Compliance officers often deal with a high degree of stress. Worries include keeping up with new laws and regulations, preventing compliance and ethics violations, and remediating compliance and ethics violations.

Is being a compliance analyst Hard? ›

Compliance may well be more stressful than many other occupations. It may be more stressful than the average job. Compliance officers may experience mental health issues at higher rates, report higher instances of depression, anxiety or burnout and enjoy less professional fulfillment than others.

What does a junior compliance analyst do? ›

Conduct physical examinations of property to ensure compliance with security, policies and regulations. Work involves security policy promulgation, risk analysis, safeguard and compliance efforts, and…

Is compliance high paying? ›

Starting salaries for compliance officers range from £18,000 to £35,000. Compliance managers can earn between £30,000 and £75,000. Senior managers in compliance can earn up to, and more than, £100,000.

What certification should I get for compliance? ›

Best Compliance Certifications for 2022 [Reviews + Pricing]
  • Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM)
  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

What comes after compliance analyst? ›

Job Description
  • Compliance Specialist.
  • Compliance Analyst.
  • Compliance Manager.
  • Director of Corporate Compliance.
  • Chief Compliance Officer.

How much does compliance training cost? ›

The cost to attend Compliance Training Online ranges from $39 to $50 depending on the qualification, with a median cost of $45.

Is a career in compliance in demand? ›

Job security for top compliance professionals

That amounts to about 6,900 openings projected per year on average, due to compliance officers moving to other firms or retiring. Meeting regulatory compliance mandates is a top pressure point for accounting and finance organizations.

Is compliance analyst a good job? ›

Do compliance analysts get paid well? The average salary for compliance analysts is ₹6,10,366 a year. Senior and lead compliance analysts enjoy higher salaries, sometimes in the six-figure range. Salaries are usually highest in the insurance, technology, and finance sectors.

Do you need a degree to work in compliance? ›

Typically, a bachelor's degree is the bare minimum education a compliance officer must have. There is no specific compliance officer degree. In many cases, people looking to pursue a compliance officer career will earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, finance or business.

Is compliance a boring job? ›

Compliance is boring

Despite the Compliance Manager's best attempts to engage their audience they're seldom successful. This is concerning because, despite what you've read, Compliance is inherently interesting. It's multi-disciplinary, challenging, complex, constantly evolving and dynamic.

What are the 7 pillars of compliance? ›

7 Elements Of A Legally Effective Compliance Program
  • Policies & Procedures.
  • Chief Compliance Officer/Compliance Committee.
  • Education & Training.
  • Reporting.
  • Monitoring & Auditing.
  • Enforcement.
  • Responding To Issues.

How do I become a certified compliance officer? ›

Requirements to Become a Compliance Officer

In terms of an undergraduate qualification, there are different routes that can be taken and that would be either a Bachelor's degree in Accounting, Business Science or Law. From there it would be beneficial to complete your Postgraduate Diploma in Compliance Management.

Is compliance a skill? ›

It is also one of the most highly sought out soft skills by recruiters and - in a sense - an art form. Compliance skills are ensuring that the business or organization adheres to all national (and international) regulatory frameworks and policies.

How much do compliance officers get paid? ›

How much does a Compliance Officer make? The national average salary for a Compliance Officer is £39,587 in United Kingdom. Filter by location to see Compliance Officer salaries in your area. Salary estimates are based on 531 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Compliance Officer employees.

What types of compliance jobs are there? ›

Compliance Officer, Compliance Assistant, Assistant (Risk and Compliance), Compliance Monitoring Administrator, Client on-boarding Administrator, Compliance Administrator. Entry level roles involving the administration of compliance processes carrying out routine, familiar and predictable work.

What is the most mentally demanding job? ›

10 intellectually stimulating jobs
  • Musician.
  • Graphic designer.
  • Social worker.
  • Engineer.
  • Lawyer.
  • Product engineer.
  • Architect.
  • Physician.
2 Sept 2021

Who has the most stressful job? ›

1. Surgeon. Surgeons rightfully head the list of stressful jobs. In their case, the pressure doesn't come from their own lives being in danger but being responsible for the lives of others.

What is the most stressful job? ›

Based on these factors, the ten most high-stress jobs in the world, according to research from the US News Best Jobs database, are:
  • Mental health counsellor. ...
  • Anesthesiologist. ...
  • Patrol officer. ...
  • IT manager. ...
  • Construction manager. ...
  • Physician. ...
  • Lawyer. ...
  • Financial manager.
17 Jun 2022

Is compliance an easy job? ›

Be Prepared for Challenges. Every job has its own challenges, and the role of compliance officer is no exception. Though compliance is meant to support business activities, most of the staff members consider compliance as extra work – best to be avoided.

Why do you want to be a compliance analyst? ›

You get to interact with external bodies and individuals a great deal, build networks and maybe even travel. Compliance is a global community that transcends industries and national borders. There is a growing community of compliance professionals across many different regulated industries and jurisdictions.

How much does a compliance analyst make in NYC? ›

The average Regulatory Compliance Analyst salary in New York, NY is $73,258 as of October 27, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $60,381 and $84,863.

What are the highest paying compliance jobs? ›

High Paying Compliance Specialist Jobs
  • Senior Compliance Analyst. Salary range: $77,500-$111,500 per year. ...
  • IT Compliance Analyst. ...
  • Regulatory and Compliance Technician. ...
  • Compliance Quality Performance Analyst. ...
  • Compliance Analyst. ...
  • Compliance Testing Analyst. ...
  • Compliance Associate. ...
  • Compliance Examiner.

How long does it take to get a certificate of compliance? ›

A: An opinion on compliance for an exempt development can be obtained quite quickly. The engineer will visit the property and produce his report within 4 working days of the inspection.

How long is a Certificate of compliance valid for? ›

Certificates of Compliance are valid for two years from the date of issue.

How do I start a compliance training program? ›

How do you create compliance training anyway?
  1. Determine whether compliance training is required.
  2. Understand the requirements and gather resources.
  3. Map the points of impact.
  4. Create effective and engaging compliance training solutions.
  5. Gain insight on training effectiveness.

What are the 3 phases of compliance? ›

The Three-Stage Preparation to Meet Compliance Requirements
  • Define and list down organization risks.
  • Continuous audit and compliance.
  • Best practices to Implement SOD.
14 Nov 2019

Is compliance analyst a good career? ›

Yes, compliance analyst is a good job.

Compliance analysts report feeling stable in their day-to-day jobs while having a lot of room for advancement. Many have even reported the job as being low on stress with a preferable work-life balance compared to some other facets in the industry.

Is compliance a high paying job? ›

A compliance testing analyst carries out independent testing of established compliance controls within an organization. The specialists also provide experts and guidance on appropriate compliance processes and controls. The annual salary for this role is $63,000 – $104,000.


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