Security engineers, also known as information security engineers, fulfill a technical role within an organization. The primary function of security engineering jobs is to monitor and implement computer and network computer security protocols to protect sensitive information from theft or hacks.
Like other cybersecurity professionals, cybersecurity engineers are often expected to perform several job functions depending on the size of the organization, the organization’s industry, and the size of the security team or IT department.
How to Become a Security Engineer
1. Research: To become a security engineer the first step is to do research to determine the types of career opportunities available and the types of certification, education, and training that may be required to obtain a position you are interested in.
2. Education: The next step is to align your career ambitions and interests to an educational roadmap. Highly technical positions like engineering often require at least a bachelor’s degree in either cybersecurity or a closely related field like information management, computer science, or mathematics. Career tracks that are more management-oriented or senior may require a Ph.D. or master’s in security engineering, or broad work experience.
3. Certification: The cybersecurity industry often requires that employees and applicants have professional certification in specialized fields within the wider industry.
4. Network: If you develop and maintain a professional network during your career it will help with discovering entry-level jobs and help reveal further professional opportunities along the way.
What Do Security Engineers Do?
Like other types of engineers, a cybersecurity engineer builds technologies that help in keeping computer systems safe.
The main function of a security engineer within an organization is to develop and enforce security standards and plans. The work is mostly proactive, meaning cybersecurity engineers spend their time anticipating computer and network vulnerabilities and putting systems and procedures in place to deal with them.
Proactive security engineering often takes the form of updating and identifying software, running encryption programs, and creating firewalls.
Another way employed to find security weaknesses or holes is by actively testing for these by attacking the system the same way hackers would, or using penetration testing methods.
A security engineer’s job is sometimes reactive like when a security issue is detected they might have to determine how best to deal with the situation, either by working with outside teams or management to help the organization in recovering from security breaches, developing new tools and strategies, or moving information or data.
Security Engineer Skills and Experience
Before getting the position, cybersecurity engineers normally have a bachelor’s degree or higher in information security, cybersecurity, computer engineering, or any related field.
A key component of a cybersecurity engineer’s education is risk assessment methods and tools. Cybersecurity engineers are also trained in network security, architecture and design, as well as forensics.
As they constantly work with the latest mobile and computer technology, a security engineer needs to be familiar with the latest advances in virus detection and virus software, content filtering, and firewall architecture.
A cybersecurity engineer needs to be able to read computer code and look for malicious lines or anomalies that may create security vulnerabilities.
Apart from a high level of security-related technical details, a cybersecurity engineer is also responsible for communicating with colleagues and co-workers as well as explaining complex data and computer issues to decision-makers and high-level management.
A cybersecurity engineer may also work in an environment that requires government-issued security clearances or additional industry certifications.
A recent study of cybersecurity engineers has revealed there are some foundational experiences and skills in common. These include:
● Knowledge and background of risk assessment methods and technologies.
● Understanding computer code, specifically what dangerous code such as malware and viruses looks like and how to deal with it.
● Perform security risk evaluations and assessments.
● Understanding security breach protocols and computer forensics.
● Experience with implementing and developing security controls policies and procedures.
● Staying current on industry changes and knowledge of cybersecurity best practices.
● Understanding of hacker detection, firewall maintenance, and anti-virus software.
What Are The Responsibilities Of Security Engineers?
Security engineers develop technology systems and security tools that ensure information’s CIA (confidentiality, integrity, and availability).
Depending on the context, the role of information security engineers can take many forms. Depending on business operations and company size, security engineers may sometimes be tasked to first build security systems and then to develop security best practices for the organization.
In other scenarios, cybersecurity engineers may be tasked to maintain security systems and protocols and to actively attempt to break into or hack their employer’s information or data systems.
A crucial feature of any security engineering job is that professionals in the industry need to stay up-to-date constantly on the newest security threats and the technology that is developed to deal with them. This often entails staying up to date with professional certifications in cybersecurity.
Security Engineer Job Description
According to JobHero, a professional development website, there are several key characteristics that are typically used to define the responsibilities and roles of security engineers:
● Developing security protection: This means building and implementing software and security tools such as data structure firewalls and encryption algorithms to protect the organization’s information.
● Creating and communicating security procedures and plans across the company: This means implementing and tracking security best practices and then educating co-workers and company leadership about the best ways to implement the most up-to-date security protocols.
● Security monitoring: Apart from building and testing security procedures and infrastructure for organizational infrastructure, a cybersecurity engineer is also tasked with monitoring systems and software for irregular behavior or intrusions continually.
● Testing digital infrastructure for vulnerabilities: Security engineers are often tasked with conducting or supervising regular penetration tests to identify any type of weaknesses in the overall security plan. The aim is to attempt to hack an organization’s digital information and data before real hackers do so. Although it is seen as a part of security engineers’ job, penetration testing is also a specialty within the cybersecurity industry.
● Investigating security-related incidents after they occur: A cybersecurity engineer must also be a part-time investigator and be able to track intruders using digital forensic methods and figuring out the attacks’ source. Depending on the scope and size of an attack, security engineers may also sometimes work with law enforcement.
Security Engineer Outlook
There is a high demand for cybersecurity engineers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for cybersecurity engineers will increase by 18% through 2024.
The correlation between security engineer salary and time in the industry is strong, with most individuals at the high end of the scale having worked in cybersecurity-related fields for more than 20 years.
Salary is also influenced by geographical location and the size of the organization that employs the cybersecurity engineer.