The Day-to-Day as a Security Engineer
Security Engineers build security systems for organizations, find vulnerabilities in their organization’s systems, and make current security systems more reliable. Security Engineers typically work on a broader information technology team with Penetration Testers or Security Analysts and report directly to a Security Manager. They can find jobs across a variety of industries, including computer systems design, government, retail, banking, manufacturing, insurance, finance, and education. They work full-time, either onsite or remotely. They work a typical 40-hour workweek unless there is an emergency.
Security Engineers work on: engineering an entire security system for their organization or creating individual security tools, monitoring security measures, recommending more system enhancements to stakeholders, implementing new systems and software, testing their systems, working on structure papers, and learning new technologies relevant to their industry.
What Skills Should Security Engineers Have?
Security Engineers must know how to: develop security standards and protocols, enhance existing security issues, install new software such as firewalls and encryption programs, scan networks for vulnerabilities, conduct penetration testing, monitor networks for breaches, and develop automation scripts. Some companies will also expect their Security Engineers to be proficient in cloud security and e-commerce security. Most organizations use some sort of ticket system to manage the tasks of their IT department and will expect their Security Engineers to know how to use them.
Strong foundational knowledge of networks, systems, and cybersecurity, is required. Cybersecurity is ever-changing, which means that Security Engineers must stay up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity developments, software, and latest malware techniques. They should be consistently checking if their systems are up-to-date and recommending enhancements as needed. They should also be adaptable problem-solvers who can continuously use frameworks, tools, and processes, to optimize their systems.
As a security expert, Security Engineers should be prepared to present themselves as thought leaders. They’ll need to provide security enhancement and protocol recommendations to upper-level management, in a tone that gets their strategies implemented. They’ll also be partially or wholly responsible for educating the non-technical staff at their organization on security products and procedures, in language that someone who doesn’t work in security can understand.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Security Engineer
Cybersecurity is a combination of technologies and best practices that protect networks, computers, software programs, and data from attack, damage, or other unauthorized access. Cybersecurity uses computer networking, software, hardware, and standard protocols to protect data.
CompTIA is an information technology industry association that provides certification programs, testing, training, and resources for information technology professionals. Their certifications include IT realms such as infrastructure, cybersecurity, and basic IT best practices and skills.
Security Engineer Salaries
A Security Engineer in the United States makes, on average, $108,077 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Security Engineers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Security Engineer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $108K source n/a
New York City
- U.S. Average $108K source n/a
Los Angeles, CA
Orange County, CA
Typical Qualifications to Become a Security Engineer
Security Engineer positions prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice focusing on cybersecurity, computer science, or information technology, and some will even expect a master’s degree. Certifications are important in cybersecurity. This position usually expects candidates to have their CISSP credential from ISC2. Candidates for this position should have 1-5 years of experience.
Searching for Security Engineer Jobs
Security Engineers will find the best luck on cybersecurity-specific job boards. They can also find government jobs, remote positions, and opportunities at non-technical companies on more general or government-specific job boards. They can look for jobs in many industries, including computer systems design, government, retail, banking, manufacturing, insurance, finance, and education.
Security Engineers can look for jobs on these sites:
- Authentic Jobs
- IT Job Pro
- Cybersecurity Job Board
Security Engineers can find remote jobs on these sites:
Tips to Become a Security Engineer
Security Engineers might find the job search competitive, as this position does require some previous experience and certifications. If you don’t have the relevant experience needed, consider stepping down to entry-level roles, like risk-management or penetration testing. Stay up-to-date on the latest developments, in the internet of things, the cloud, encryption technology, and deep learning, which are important rapidly-developing areas in cybersecurity. If you’re excited about a job in a specific industry, get to know that niche group’s security needs. Is it cloud, e-commerce, data stores, or something else?
Make sure you have a strong foundational knowledge of networks and security systems, and that you can articulate those complex concepts to a non-technical staff member. While crucial knowledge is important for this position and in interviews, people-skills will boost your application. Do as many mock interviews as possible during your job search so that you’re comfortable and prepared when you enter the room with your future employers. Connecting with other cybersecurity professionals genuinely might lead to advice on interviews, skills needed, or job opportunities.
What Job Titles Would a Security Engineer Hold?
Security Engineer is a straightforward title. There aren’t many variations in this role’s job title, except when companies choose to combine it with a Security Analyst’s responsibilities or when the company needs cloud or e-commerce specific security.
Security Engineers can look for these job titles:
- Security Engineer
- Cyber Security Engineer
- Information Assurance Engineer
- Information Systems Security Engineer
- Information Security Engineer
- Cloud Security Engineer
- E-Commerce Security Engineer
If you’re not yet qualified to be a Security Engineer, you can aim for a Security Analyst position, instead. Security Analysts identity cybersecurity weaknesses, while Security Engineers build systems. Security Analysts should become proficient in building firewalls, creating intrusion detection systems, educating non-technical staff, and designing security systems as a whole, to upskill into a Security Engineer role. Moving up to the position of Security Engineer will most likely result in a raise for a Security Analyst. Some smaller companies combine the role of Security Engineer and Security Analyst and this would be a simple way to move into this position without making a big leap.
Salary Comparison to Security Engineer
Security Analysts monitor their organization’s network to prevent and stop attacks on their private data. Security Analysts must know how to build firewalls, execute penetration tests and reports, and identify new threats and malware.Learn about becoming a Security Analyst
IT Security Specialist
Information Technology (IT) Security Specialists develop and implement the security measures their organization needs to protect their information assets in a secure system. They analyze the existing security procedures regularly and suggest changes to upper-level management to maximize efficiency and security.Learn about becoming a IT Security Specialist