Cyber Security Engineer: The Hottest Job Right Now

As we all know, mobile computing and the Internet have become a part of our daily routine. Lots of our daily tasks cannot be completed without these two. And, as time passes, this dependency will further increase. A reason why the importance of cybersecurity is felt more than ever before, due to which the demand for cybersecurity engineers has spiked. One of the hottest jobs in the Information Technology domain, it utilizes some of the most in-demand information security and IT skills, pays well, and is very much a role that many organizations are desperately trying to fill. In this article, I’ll provide you all sorts of details about this role, so what are we waiting for? Let’s begin.

Who is a Cyber Security Engineer?

Before we delve into other details of a cybersecurity engineer, let’s first define the role, as it is still a bit nebulous for many. To put it in simple words, it is a professional who creates and executes secure network solutions that provide security against advanced cyber attacks, hacking and persistent threats. A cybersecurity engineer also maintains those systems regularly to ensure that the systems and networks are updated and doing its job correctly (more on this later). 

IT security engineers, data security engineers, and web security engineers are some of this role’s other names. Moreover, a cybersecurity engineer’s role is usually integrated with other IT roles as there is a lack of available workforce.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Cyber Security Engineer?

Depending on their job profile, the roles and responsibilities of a cybersecurity engineer will vary. Following are some of the common responsibilities of a cybersecurity engineer:

  • Create, execute, maintain, and upgrade all the security networks and systems of an organization to keep all of its data protected.
  • Conduct a detailed evaluation of the organization’s security requirements and establish best practices & standards.
  • Respond to any security breach within the networks and systems of the organization.
  • Regularly conduct penetration testing along with various other tests to detect any vulnerability in the system and network.
  • Troubleshoot any incidences of security and network issues.
  • Actively participate in the investigations for any security breach and the change management process.
  • Handle everyday tasks like communication and coordination with various departments of the organization.

One will find many similarities if a comparison between the roles and responsibilities of a cybersecurity engineer and a security analyst is done. While the former will put the system through its paces, the latter will build solutions to secure systems and networks. In many organizations, the job responsibilities of both will be very similar.

Qualifications Required To Become A Cyber Security Engineer

To work as a cybersecurity engineer, you need to meet certain requirements, although these are not set in stone:

  • There were times when one could get a cybersecurity engineer job on work experience merit alone. But, times have changed, and now a bachelor’s degree in IT, computer engineering, computer science, or a related field is required by many organizations. After a bachelor’s, the next step in furthering your marketability through education is earning a master’s degree in a relevant field. You’ll need a master’s degree, especially if you are applying for senior cybersecurity engineering roles. 
  • Minimum professional experience of 2-3 years in cybersecurity job duties such as detection of security breaches, response, and investigation. 
  • Knowledge of operations, maintenance, and functionality of firewalls and endpoint security systems.
  • Node, Python, Ruby, Go, C++, and other such tools and language knowledge is also mandatory.
  • Keep up to date with the latest trends in the world of cybersecurity.

For better learning and career prospects, cybersecurity professionals can also get certifications. A very certification-friendly field, in cybersecurity engineering, the more relevant certifications you hold, the better off you will be. The good thing about this is that there are many good certifications out there, and the only limit is your imagination. Some experts have literally compared the situation to that of a Pokémon aficionado collecting Pokémon.

You may be thinking about which one is the best to fulfill your needs. Well, Certified Ethical Hacking, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and any security-related GIAC certification would be great additions to your professional certification arsenal for the role of a cybersecurity engineer.

Salaries For Cyber Security Engineers

As mentioned at the very start, cybersecurity roles can offer excellent pay, and the numbers certainly prove it. According to PayScale, the average salary for a security engineer in the United States is around $96,000 per year. This figure is more than double the national average wage’s median income, which is around $40,000. Although the salary may not make you as wealthy as the tech elite in Silicon Valley, you will be living comfortably and will clearly not be living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Let me also clarify that this figure is only the median income for all cybersecurity engineers, and it is not the ceiling by any means. Experienced cybersecurity engineers earn around $114,000, while those in the late stage of their career will take home an impressive figure of around $127,000. 

Moreover, whatever salary you’ll get will depend on several different factors, such as the number of years of experience you have, skill level, education, certifications, specialization, specific metropolitan area, and so forth. By including more education, more certifications, moving to a big city, and so on — will help you get paid significantly more than the national average for this already high pay rate. So, if you want to get paid even better, make the right moves.

Demand For Cyber Security Engineers

As mentioned above, the demand for cybersecurity engineers has spiked in recent times, primarily because governments, businesses, and other organizations are increasing their reliance on digital platforms. A Cyber Security Ventures report has mentioned that there will be over three million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. Now, all this is good, but on the flip side, the shill gap regarding cybersecurity professionals will continue to widen.

This job was termed the most rapidly-growing job with a wide skill gap in the article titled ‘Cyber Security’ published in Forbes magazine. The shortage of cybersecurity professionals is huge, and I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon. According to a Cyber Security Ventures report, cyber-related crime damages for organizations will increase to $6 trillion in 2021 compared to $3 trillion in 2015. A reason why the cyber-spending will be around $1 trillion by 2021.

Top Organizations Offering Best Cyber Security Jobs :

In the end, let’s take a look at the list of the top organizations offering the best cybersecurity jobs. Remember, this is only a shortlist of some of the most prominent ones; apart from these, many other organizations are currently hiring for cybersecurity jobs. There will be many more in the future.

  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Cisco
  • Symantec
  • Fire eye
  • Amazon Web Services
  • BAE Systems

That’s all, folks!