How to Become a Security Engineer

5 Steps to Become a Security Engineer in 2021

As technology continues to evolve, so do the ways cyber terrorists work to attack company information and data. Security engineers are necessary professionals in organizations of all sizes and industries to prevent these breaches.

Here are some suggested steps you can take to join this essential field:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Computer Programming, Software Engineering, Information Systems, Software Systems, Cybersecurity, or a related field.
  2. Gain entry-level experience in the network and cybersecurity space.
  3. Consider enrolling in a cybersecurity or information systems bootcamp.
  4. Earn at least one related security certification.
  5. Consider earning a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity Engineering or a related focus.

What is the Job Description for a Security Engineer?

Security engineers work with developers and analysts to create and implement processes that will prevent cyber attacks and threats. They build secure systems by creating and utilizing firewalls, data encryption, detection systems, and more to ensure an organization’s files, data, and other information remains secure. These engineers help develop a company’s security protocols then implement any software and hardware necessary. They also monitor and perform scans of the software and tools being used for threat attempts and possible risks. 

When a threat, risk, or attack is found, security engineers must report the intrusions to management and work to investigate how the breach occurred, then work to find a solution. Not only should security engineers work to prepare systems and networks for intentional outside threats, they also must prepare for the unintentional threats. Natural disasters, power outages, and more can cause issues with security and require reliable information backup.

Security engineers make sure that an organization’s systems and networks are able to withstand a variety of possible threats. Part of being able to plan for these possible issues is having the ability to predict what could happen and then find solutions. This role is synonymous with information security engineer or cybersecurity engineer.

Security Engineer Qualifications

  • Understanding of different operating systems including Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
  • Understanding of, and ability to utilize, ethical hacking methods.
  • Proficiency with network architecture to help create a network plan that is secure and protected.
  • Proficiency with security protocols to help develop and implement a plan appropriate for an organization.
  • Ability  to run tests to determine the level of security of networks and systems.
  • Ability to implement, maintain, and upgrade systems as needed to ensure systems remain secure.
  • Ability to keep up with new trends in the field to propose any upgrades or new tools for use in an organization.
  • Ability to perform scans to access risks and weaknesses
  • Ability to lead teams when a breach occurs.
  • Utilize a scripting language, like Python, to create automation scripts that will record breaches.
  • Understand penetration testing.
  • Understand computer forensics.
  • Be able to educate other employees on methods to keep data secure.
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Leadership skills

 

Security Engineer Education Requirements 

Most employers will require a bachelor’s degree in a related field as well as practical work experience. Certifications related to information security are well received since they show a level of expertise has been acquired. Bootcamps are an appropriate option for learning specific skills related to information systems and cybersecurity and can prepare you for achieving appropriate certifications.

 

How Long does it Take to Become a Security Engineer?

In general, it takes about a decade to become a security engineer. With a bachelor’s degree requiring, on average, four years, then necessary work experience to earn a mid- to high-level position in security engineering, this position is one to work and strive towards. 

A bootcamp can help you focus on the skills needed to land this position and can also help pair you with an appropriate internship or entry-level position. If you are interested in a bootcamp, a list has been compiled below to compare course offerings, as well as formats, to find the bootcamp that would be the perfect fit for you!

How to Become a Security Engineer

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Computer Programming, Software Engineering, Information Systems, Software Systems, Cybersecurity, or a related field.

Due to the highly technical requirements of this job, most employers will require a bachelor’s degree in one of the fields mentioned above or a related field that provides the graduate with a background in network architecture, systems, and security protocols.

 

  1. Gain entry-level experience in the network and cybersecurity space.

This is a mid- to high-level position, so organizations are looking for someone with experience. Look for an internship or an entry-level position that will help you gain experience with everything from creating and implementing security plans to building firewalls, data intrusion tools, and more.

 

  1. Consider enrolling in a cybersecurity or information systems bootcamp.

 

Bootcamps are a fantastic way to gain specific skills needed for this position. Bootcamps in cybersecurity and/or information systems can help you fill in any gaps in your network and system security and architecture knowledge. Many also offer internship placement which will help you gain needed experience. Additionally, bootcamps are often geared towards helping students earn specific certifications.

 

  1. Earn at least one related security certification.

Professional certifications show potential employers that you are an expert in your field. Some popular certifications for security engineers are listed below:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Ethical Hacking
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • Certified Information Security Manager

 

  1. Consider earning a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity Engineering or a related focus.

A Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity Engineering can help you standout among competing prospects. Furthering your education will help you learn even more about this field and prepare you even more for this leadership position in an organization. A postgraduate degree will also help you stay in tune with the latest trends in security, systems engineering, network architecture, and also the threats that are evolving.

Explore schools offering Security Engineer Bootcamps.

Job Outlook for a Security Engineer

While the The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has not specifically recorded the outlook for security engineers, they do predict the job outlook for information security analysts. The BLS predicts that information security analysts, and related jobs, will grow 33% from 2020 to 2030. With security engineers playing a crucial role in an organization’s system and network security, these professionals will continue to be in high demand.

 

Best jobs for Security engineers

Security engineers are necessary in organizations of all sizes. Most security engineers enter this role after years of IT experience in positions such as a network engineer or security administrator. They later can move into ethical hacking or higher leadership roles such as security consulting or a chief information security officer. 

Security Engineer Salary

According to Indeed.com, the average salary for United States’ security engineers was $102,623 as of October 2021. Since salaries vary with experience and geographical location, the chart below includes the average salaries of workers in this role for some of the nation’s top tech hubs.

 

Security Engineers vs Security Analysts

These two professions can easily be confused since they require similar qualifications. One key difference is that engineers focus more on building the security involved in the network architecture. Analysts focus more on analyzing systems and networks for vulnerabilities. It is not uncommon for these two roles to overlap and workers in these positions to work collaboratively.

Browse bootcamps for Security Engineer.

Explore some of the top schools offering Security Engineer bootcamps and find the right fit for your needs and schedule.