What is a Security Engineer?
Security Engineer is one of those tricky titles. Many job ads list it under names such as Information Security Engineer, Information Assurance Engineer or Information Systems Security Engineer. The “engineer” part can also be confusing to candidates and employers – it may or may not be “really” about engineering in the traditional sense of the word. Think of them as builders. Security engineers develop security systems to protect an organization’s assets – the biggest of them all being data.
Are you considering a career as a Cybersecurity Engineer? Or are you an employer who wants to know if this is the cyber pro you need to hire? Read more to find out.
What does a Cybersecurity Engineer do? It depends a lot on who they work for, including the organization’s specifications, scope and size. However, there’s a common ground. Engineers are tasked with duties often related to constructing secure systems – such as networks and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) – and keep them protected. Other areas they can work or specialize in are software engineering and application security.
Other important duties include installing and testing new software, developing security action plans, penetration testing, security checks, firewall setup, vulnerability assessment, providing effective security solutions, checking for code vulnerabilities and responding to incidents in case of a breach or cyberattack.
Given the technical complexity of their tasks, engineers need to have a solid and specialized skill set. These include computer programming, coding, scripting, knowledge of programming languages (Python, C++, Java, Powershell), operating systems (Linux, Windows, UNIX) and network architecture, cybersecurity best practices, pentesting, ethical hacking, computer forensics, incident response and, of course, software engineering. Soft skills are also a must in the cybersecurity world, where effective communication, acing both team and independent work, managing and leadership qualities can leverage any career.
In this field, an academic background is usually relevant. A bachelor’s or master’s in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or Cybersecurity gives you more credibility and allows for more chances of career progression. Security Engineers work across different fields including technology, finance, insurance and government. Certifications are, as always, recommended and often required.
Some good options for certifications are: CISSP, GIAC CISM CISA and CEH.
Experience is also a key factor in this role. It’s not an entry position, so 3 years of previous experience in other security positions are usually expected, but it can be anywhere between 1 to 5 years depending on duties and seniority.
In Germany, the average salary is around €50.000/year, sometimes more than €70.000/year depending on the country and employer.
Do you need a Security Engineer?
Security teams often need security engineers and, in general, the bigger the organization and the more assets it has to protect, the more it needs highly specialized security staff. This is a good reason why you shouldn’t overlook the significance of engineers in this field.
Sectors where there’s a pressing need for security, such as finance, healthcare and government do absolutely need security engineers.
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This is a straightforward guide made to help employers and cybersecurity professionals to find each other, providing them with current standard terminology and descriptions. It is by no means exhaustive.
While there is some discussion in cybersecurity about job titles and functions, we use the terms in their broadest sense, focusing on what can be put in a job description to make it more accurate and easy to understand.
Consultant - Network Security