Do you dream of having a position in the exciting IT world? Are you looking for a way to stay ahead of cybersecurity threats? Consider working as a cybersecurity engineer.
You may wonder: how to become a cyber security engineer? I will show you the steps you should take on your journey. With the qualifications, certification, and experience, you can join the rank of this profession.
Read until the end to explore the career path and skills needed for this job!
Before diving into the career path to become a cybersecurity engineer, you should get an overview of this position.
Cybersecurity engineers create and manage security policies, software, and hardware to protect networks, computers, and information.
These engineers aim to understand cyberspace. To do this, they combine computer science and electrical engineering. They design and implement secure solutions to prevent hackers or persistent threats from attacking the networks.
Furthermore, these experts constantly test and monitor these systems. This way, they can make sure all defenses stay updated and work well.
In general, the following list includes the typical responsibilities of this position:
- Evaluate the security needs of an organization and design the best standards and practices accordingly
- Design, implement, maintain, oversee, and upgrade security measures required to protect data, network, or system
- Respond to the security breaches
- Troubleshoot security and network issues
- Perform penetration testing
- Take proper security measures
- Conduct scans and testing to identify errors in the systems and networks
- Support investigating security breaches
- Handle administrative tasks
Are you ready to work in this IT industry? Check the steps below to complete your task more easily!
If you want to know how to work as a cybersecurity engineer, this field is highly technical and requires knowledge in coding and computer networks.
You may want to gain a computer science or cybersecurity bachelor’s degree. These degrees will provide a firm foundation in the required subjects. Besides, related fields such as math and electrical engineering may offer valuable skills.
It is worth noting that a degree isn’t compulsory for cybersecurity engineers. But it’s a powerful option.
The (ISC)² reported that up to 81% of cybersecurity specialists hold an undergraduate degree. And 51% own a degree in the computer science industry.
If you prefer a non-college route, consider cybersecurity boot camps because they offer a good education. You can gain the skills needed after completing these boot camps.
In addition, anyone who graduates from these boot camps can pursue certifications so that they can support their expertise.
It is optional to gain a job in cybersecurity engineering at first. You may look for entry-level positions so that you can build the essential skills and gain experience.
For example, you can consider potential roles, such as cybercrime analyst or cybersecurity specialist. Besides, intermediate positions like cybersecurity analysts are great ideas.
Moreover, some people try some IT jobs before moving to cybersecurity. For instance, you may work as an IT auditor or software developer.
The cybersecurity engineer is constantly growing. Thus, certifications are an excellent way to become a competitive candidate.
Obtaining at least one certification is advisable if you are determined to work toward this role. Below are some recommendations to consider.
For example, consider gaining an entry-level certification such as CompTIA’s Network and Security. It will help you bolster your resume. Also, it qualifies you to work as a cybersecurity specialist. This certification can fulfill the vital requirements if you desire a US Department of Defense position.
If you are an intermediate cybersecurity professional, consider gaining ISSACA’s Certified Information System Auditor. Also, the Global Information Assurance certification can offer credentials to measure your skill areas and knowledge.
Furthermore, you should get the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification. It qualifies you to be an elite expert in this field. It requires a CISSP-holder’s recommendation and at least four years of paid experience.
Building a solid portfolio to show your experience and skills to your employers is essential. It can also help you to open various job opportunities.
A great resume highlighting your skills, education, and experience would be best. Next, build a portfolio to show your certifications and technical abilities. Including presentations, papers, or projects you get involved in is a good idea.
In addition, join communities in cybersecurity engineering. Moreover, attending seminars and conferences can help you network with other experts and learn more. Consider the following tips to build a compelling portfolio!
- Choose a suitable platform to host your cybersecurity portfolios, like WordPress or Wix
- Include keywords to optimize the search engines
- Promote the portfolio and share it on popular social networking sites
- Always update your portfolio
You must get essential skills in this field, as shown below:
- Ethical hacking
- Understanding Database platforms and operating systems
- Understanding Network architecture
- Computer Forensics
- Programming Skills
- Project management
- Creative thinking
Once you have gained experience and essential qualifications, it’s time to create a good CV and apply for jobs.
Add everything related to your career to your CV to give your potential employer an overall look at your capabilities. Also, research the market and find jobs that suit your desires and requirements.
Before becoming a cybersecurity engineer, consider this position’s benefits and drawbacks.
- Protect sensitive information
- Enhance security posture
- Mitigate risks
- Improve compliance
- Protect critical infrastructure
- Support business continuity
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Build trust
- Long working hours
- Extremely stressful job
- Meet uncooperative people
- Noisy and messy working environment
- Harmful content
I will discuss the necessary cybersecurity engineering skills more clearly in this section. Keep reading to explore more detail!
Before jumping into this industry, learn and master the following technical skills first. Let’s check them out!
Cybersecurity experts must have a deep understanding of ethical hacking. So, they can understand the operation of intruders and the damage they may cause.
Furthermore, you may need to intrude into third-party networks ethically. Thus, you can understand how to protect your network.
For this reason, knowing about ethical hacking actions is advantageous for these professionals. It can help you make excellent plans and methods to prevent your network from hackers.
If you want a promising cybersecurity engineering career, you should feel comfortable working in operating systems. You must understand the functionalities of Linux, Mac, Windows, and other popular OS options.
In addition, you should be familiar with the database platforms you will work on to create layers safely. So you can save your database networks from hackers and cyber attacks.
As a cybersecurity expert, you should deeply understand the network architecture so that you can curate proper and excellent plans. It would be best if you determined what to protect.
Additionally, you must know how all systems connect across the network. You should also identify the connections that are easy to get attacked.
This aspect is essential to investigate cyber-attack situations. They can provide technologies to identify and save the shreds of evidence from systems. It is helpful when you show your cyber-attack case in court.
What’s more, computer forensics can help you to explore lost data or information from a system or recover it. If you work in this field, you must develop this expertise.
Cybersecurity engineers should be able to analyze potential risks. It’s essential to identify the issues. So you can plan the proper actions and prevent the organization’s network from potential hazards.
To develop this necessary skill, you should know the techniques and tools to detect the attacks before significant damage. Also, enrolling in courses related to risk analysis can help you open various doors to get the best job opportunities.
It’s crucial to master programming skills. You must write or detect malicious code to protect the system and network from potential threats.
You must learn one or more coding languages. So you can have a promising IT job with a good salary package.
Apart from technical skills, you must also learn and gain soft skills.
This skill is vital to lead your team members. You must teach them strategies and methods to keep networks, systems, and data safe.
A cybersecurity engineer must know how to guide teams and manage and control the process when launching updates and solutions.
You must ensure your projects follow the standards. Also, the updates and products should meet stakeholder expectations.
Some cyber attacks may get intense. Sometimes they even cause announced disasters. If these situations happen, you must apply problem-solving skills to address issues. This way, you can avoid accidents from these problems.
This skill is key in cybersecurity engineering. You should be aware of raising issues in your computer systems. You must find practical solutions to communicate and present your plans efficiently.
These experts cannot work alone. So if you work in this field, you will be a part of a team and work closely with other specialists.
This way, they can collaborate to determine how to establish and maintain solid cybersecurity practices and measures.
All IT experts must have creative thinking abilities combined with problem-solving skills. As a cybersecurity expert, you must constantly develop innovative solutions to protect your networks and systems from hackers and other attacks.
Knowing the time it takes to become a cybersecurity engineer is challenging. It depends on the education, experience, and certifications you get.
In general, you may expect to get an entry-level position in the cybersecurity engineering industry between two and four years. That’s the case if you gain the necessary education and experience.
However, if you already work in this field, you can obtain additional certifications to transition into cybersecurity engineering. It’s an excellent strategy to climb the career ladder.
For instance, the BLS predicts a 33% increase in employment for security experts between 2020 and 2030. The average job growth rate across all US occupations is four times slower than this pace.
Furthermore, engineers in cybersecurity make a median yearly pay of $135,150, according to ComputerCareers.org. It is more than twice as much as the national average salary for all occupations ($58,760).
The risky nature of this work and the rising economic need for cybersecurity personnel are the reasons why cybersecurity income potential is often so high.
The degree of experience and job responsibilities may also affect cybersecurity pay. The average salaries for cybersecurity specialists in various jobs as of 2023 are listed below.
- Cybersecurity Specialist: $116,920/year
- Cybercrime Analyst: $100,000/year
- Incident and Intrusion Analyst: $88,230/year
- IT Auditor: $110,000/year
- Cybersecurity Analyst: $107,500/year
- Cybersecurity Consultant: $121,450/year
- Penetration and Vulnerability Tester: $101,090/year
- Cybersecurity Manager: $160,000/year
- Cybersecurity Engineer: $135,150/year
- Cybersecurity Architect: $159,750/year
Becoming a cybersecurity engineer requires a computer science foundation, practical experience, certifications, networking, and continued learning.
By following these steps and staying committed to your professional development, you can pursue a successful career in cybersecurity engineering. You will also help protect digital systems and networks from cyber threats.