So, You Want to Be a Security Engineer?



A Security Engineer, bridging the gap between engineering and information security, is a highly desirable tech job. It is one without a cookie cutter fit and a role that probably looks different every day of the working week.

Find out why a career in Security Engineering is one of the coolest jobs in the information security sphere.

What does a Security Engineer do?

Security Engineers are the gatekeepers of the twenty-first century. Whether it is a natural disaster wreaking havoc or a malicious cyber-attack, it is a Security Engineer’s job to design computer systems able to prevent or effectively cope with disruptions. Working in Security Engineering requires the ability to work through three key steps;

  1. Understanding a businesses’ current computer security levels
  2. Analysing how securely a businesses’ computer networks are running
  3. And, identifying and predicting security flaws capable of disrupting current computer networks.

Daily challenges for Security Engineers include figuring out solutions to complex security dilemmas and implementing detection systems and firewalls able to combat these dilemmas. A Security Engineer is responsible for performing penetration testing, vulnerability testing and security assessments, whilst also having an awareness of the businesses’ risk landscape.

It’s a role that is neither repetitive nor monotonous. Whilst Security Engineer jobs have responsibilities that need ticking daily, such responsibilities fluctuate depending on the ever-changing security landscape.

What qualifications does a Security Engineer need?

Security Engineering is an intermediate-level position that requires a technical foundation. Protocol knowledge, network architecture expertise and beyond need to be honed at this level. This leans into the need for previous professional experience and real-time knowhow.

As an intermediate-level position, there are hard skills and qualifications that are non-negotiable. A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Systems, Cyber Security or a related field is required. Beyond this, five to ten years of experience in the Information Security realm is needed. Certifications and additional qualifications are an added bonus that doesn’t go unnoticed by employers. The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification or the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification are two well-known options worth exploring.

Experience with penetration testing and vulnerability assessing, the ability to navigate virtualisation technologies and knowledge of secure network architecture are some of the hard skills needed. Soft skills required include creativity, interpersonal skills and flexible thinking. Problem solving is a daily must so an inquisitive mind that is detail oriented is also needed.

Where does a Security Engineer sit in a business?

Securing a position as a Security Engineer begins with an entry-level IT or security role. Such positions include an IT Technician, Network Engineer and System Administrator. With a few years of experience in one of these roles, aspiring Security Engineers will have the required experience to secure a Security Engineering job.

As an intermediate-level position, a Security Engineer sits within a company’s technology department. A Security Engineer will report directly to the Security Manager or the upper management depending on the size of the business and their technology department.

Moving up from a Security Engineering role, many professionals progress into Security Management, Security Architecture or a Security Consultant role. This progression brings a significant increase in salary and responsibility.

What can a Security Engineer expect to be earning?

A Security Engineer can anticipate an average annual salary of £58,091 in London, United Kingdom, $129,328 in Australia and $107,340 in the United States. That being said, a Security Engineer’s salary fluctuates significantly depending on a professional’s experience level and the size of the business.

With every day different from the one before, it is no wonder many consider a career in Security Engineering and share resounding satisfaction for their work. If looking for a career in the Information Security realm that is both exciting and variable, a Security Engineering career may be the one for you.


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