From Student to SOC Analyst: Hayden’s Success Story

We spoke to Hayden, a TryHackMe student that recently secured a SOC Analyst role!

Ellie Gillard
Ellie Gillard
Mar 14, 2023 5 min read

At TryHackMe, we love to hear about user successes and how our platform helps you learn, upskill and achieve your goals.

Today’s success story is that of Hayden, a dedicated TryHackMe user who recently secured a SOC Analyst position with the help of our SOC Level 1 Pathway! We spoke with Hayden about his journey - the successes, challenges, and advice for aspiring SOC Analysts.

Why did you start learning cyber security?

I am a very curious person - I love learning everything I can about any topic that catches my interest. When the COVID pandemic started, I was laid off from my job and suddenly had lots of free time on my hands. I was already very interested in digital privacy, so I used my free time to learn how the Internet works to better understand how to keep my personal information safe. I started reading a networking textbook, and although it was well-written, I found it challenging to get through.

I looked on Reddit for some online learning resources that might be more engaging and stumbled across TryHackMe. I fell in love almost immediately and began to spend most of my free time completing rooms and learning. Within a month or two, I decided that I wanted to take it seriously and applied for a few different university programs.

I’m now in my second year of the Networking & IT Security program at a local university, and loving every second of it!

What inspired you to become a SOC Analyst?

The SOC has always been attractive to me - while combing through logs may sound boring to some, to me it feels like a treasure hunt. It will be an excellent opportunity for me to learn about various defensive tools while also gaining knowledge about different TTPs. I hope it can someday lead to a position in threat hunting.

What helped you achieve a SOC Analyst role?

The SOC Level 1 Analyst pathway is amazing and prepared me for my interview. In my interview for the SOC Analyst position, I could answer all the technical questions solely based on the knowledge I gained from TryHackMe. The interviewers were impressed that although I had no industry experience, I had been exposed to a variety of tools and frameworks like the Cyber Kill Chain and ATT&CK.  The learning path really helps understand the mindset and objectives of the entire SOC, all while doing it in an entertaining way.

How did you handle the challenges during your learning journey?

The most challenging part for me was staying consistent and motivated. It can be very easy to burn yourself out. I've found it very important to not push myself too hard on a day-to-day basis and to constantly learn about multiple topics so that when I get bored of one, I can move to another.

It's also essential to make a commitment to yourself. During periods of low motivation, it's easy to tell yourself, "I don't feel like it today. Maybe tomorrow." But that's a slippery slope - next thing you know, a month has passed, and you haven't learned anything. It helps to set concrete goals and deadlines to hold yourself accountable.

What advice would you give someone starting in cyber security?

First, do as much TryHackMe as possible (I'm not just saying this because this is a TryHackMe blog!). It has genuinely been the single most valuable resource in my journey. Get a membership if you can afford one and try to do a room, or even part of a room, every day. Textbooks and classes are also invaluable resources, but neither gives you the type of hands-on experience you get with TryHackMe.

Second, make cyber security your life. Follow security people on social media, watch security YouTubers, join Reddit and Discord and get involved in the community. Many of us in security are introverted, but getting out of your shell and involved in a community of like-minded people feels great.

Finally, I want to pass on two messages I always keep in mind. First, surround yourself with people more intelligent than you, and don't be afraid to ask ‘stupid’ questions. People in security love to share knowledge and help newcomers who are eager to learn. Everyone is as excited and passionate about technology as you are and has something to teach others. Second, try to pass on the knowledge that you have to others. Whether helping people stuck on rooms in the TryHackMe Discord, creating a blog, or just tweeting insights you've learned, it's all valuable and immensely rewarding.

If you are someone who is trying to break into the cyber security industry, attend any events you can. If, like me, you are in university, a single CTF (Capture the Flag) can expose you to things you would otherwise learn in your upper years. They can be scary when you are new, but they are a great learning experience and tons of fun. Additionally, they are a great place to meet new friends and receive advice from people more experienced than you.

What advice do you have for aspiring SOC Analysts?

Familiarise yourself with a variety of defensive tools. It doesn't matter if you aren't really comfortable using them yet - the fact that you already know what they do and how to use them and that you took the initiative to learn about them is a huge bonus.

Another important aspect is contextualising things in a business perspective. Remember that when you're on the job, you must speak with non-technical people and explain security incidents to them. Communicating information to people who have different knowledge than you is essential. This is one of the reasons that passing on your knowledge is so important. If you have an educational blog, an employer can look at that and immediately understand how well you communicate.

If you spend time helping newcomers with TryHackMe, you will become familiar with explaining ideas in ways that people who aren't necessarily technical will be able to understand.

You can follow Hayden’s journey as a SOC Analyst on LinkedIn.

Want to become a Level 1 SOC Analyst? Launch our SOC Level 1 pathway, enabling you to become a successful Junior Security Analyst, or SOC Analyst, by teaching you the industry's many tools and real-life analysis scenarios.

If you’re an early beginner, we recommend starting with our Introduction to Cyber Security and Pre-Security pathways to learn the fundamentals before upskilling with the SOC Level 1 pathway.


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