If you ask an industry leader what is a security engineer, you’re likely to get a multitude of responses. Put simply, the role of a cybersecurity engineer is not clearly defined. It often overlaps across various departments and operations.
One thing that is clear is that the role is in high demand across multiple sectors. With the average salary for cybersecurity engineers in the US now reaching up to $380,000, the demand is clear. If you’re considering a career as a security engineer, here’s what you need to know.
What a Cybersecurity Engineer Does
Put simply, an IT security engineer protects IT systems against cyber threats. They work at the front line of information security for organizations around the world.
Their role is very often a leadership role. It combines science, math, and engineering. A typical cybersecurity engineer will head a team. This team tests and bolsters the IT systems and cloud computing of a company.
With cybersecurity attacks now more common than ever before, such engineers are needed.
Main Duties and Responsibilities
While the role of an information security engineer differs from place to place, there are a few common responsibilities. These include:
- Testing and evaluating existing security measures in an IT system.
- Identifying potential threats and putting in place appropriate defense measures.
- Staying on top of all the latest developments in cybersecurity. This includes all high-profile attacks.
- Build an maintain security for Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and cloud-based security systems.
- Lead the response to any threats, attacks, or hacks.
- Use tools such as Watchguard Firebox, Nessus scanning software, and intrusion detection software.
- Conducting intelligence operations to identify and build detailed profiles of likely attackers.
- Support the installation of network security measures. These include firewalls and web content filters. They also include IP address locators and antivirus software. Router Access Control Lists (ACLS) may also be needed.
- Run cybersecurity “war games” to test the resilience of an organization’s IT systems.
Cyberspace engineering requires in-depth knowledge of all these things. It’s also important to have knowledge of programming and software development. This is because many security measures are built in-house.
The necessary qualifications vary depending on the level you’re applying for. You don’t need a degree or too many formal qualifications for most roles, but what you will need are:
- A minimum of three years experience in the field of cybersecurity
- Strong familiarity with OWASP (Open Web Application Security Projects)
- A strong grasp of Python, Java, C++, Power Shell, and Bash
- A strong understanding of mainstream cybersecurity methodologies
- Strong communications skills and proven ability to work in a team
- One of five possible security-related certifications (for US workers)
- Strong attention to detail and problem-solving skills
- You may also need to get a level of security clearance from the Department of Defense. This will depend on where you choose to work
If you have these, you’re more than qualified to become a cybersecurity engineer.
To learn more about the duties of a cybersecurity engineer, or to take the steps necessary to becoming one, make sure to check out our careers page for all of the latest opportunities.