Companies across industries are desperately looking for cybersecurity engineers, thanks to the increased amount of stolen data over the years. In fact, cybersecurity engineer is the most in-demand cybersecurity position for 2019, according to CyberSeek.org.
Cybersecurity engineers develop and preserve IT solutions within organizations. People in this role will know how to build computer systems that can survive disruptions such as cyber attacks or natural disasters.
If this role sounds like an exciting opportunity for you, you might be wondering how to become a cybersecurity engineer. In this post, we’ll cover the primary skills and responsibilities, the career path to get there and any recommended education and certifications you might need.
What Is a Cybersecurity Engineer?
Cybersecurity engineers are mid-level IT professionals tasked with architecting, testing and implementing security solutions to shield against outside attacks. They’re also responsible for managing security technologies, conducting penetration testing and detecting and mitigating threats.
The average salary for a cybersecurity engineer is just under $130,000, according to Glassdoor.
The role of cybersecurity engineer and security analyst often overlap, and some companies combine the two. However, analysts are more likely to probe systems for weaknesses than create solutions to protect these vulnerabilities.
Career Path to Become a Cybersecurity Engineer
Becoming an engineer might be one step on your cybersecurity career path, but aspiring to this level can prove lucrative for your career.
Beyond increasing your earning potential, becoming a cybersecurity engineer is also a stepping stone to becoming a senior-level cybersecurity professional or chief information security officer (CISO).
Now that you’re familiar with the cybersecurity engineer role and opportunities, let's review the requirements, education and experience required to break into the field.
1. Understand the Cybersecurity Engineer Requirements
If you’re an IT professional eyeing the cybersecurity engineer trajectory, it’s important to understand what it takes to succeed in this role and identify and supplement your skills gap.
People within the cybersecurity engineer role are responsible for building strong systems that can withstand attacks.
The top cybersecurity engineer skills and responsibilities can include anything from configuring firewalls to collaborating with colleagues. Cybersecurity engineers are also required to:
- Develop alternative options for resolving any current issues with security
- Implement new firewalls and other intruder detection programs
- Test current systems for vulnerabilities
- Create corporate security policies
- Determine changes in regulatory and technical areas that could interfere with technical security
- Product automation scripts for handling any issues that do arise
- Collaborate with police, public officials and others to conduct investigations when major incidents occur
- Assess technologies that can improve current cybersecurity efforts
- Oversee changes in IT products or services both internally and for customers to protect user data
2. Earn Your Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in One of These Areas
Cybersecurity engineers work on various technical processes throughout their role, so many companies look for a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, computer science, information technology or something similar.
If you already have an undergraduate degree related to IT and want to develop a stronger foundation before diving in, you might consider getting a Master’s Degree in cybersecurity. The higher level of education can boost your earning potential.
While a college degree can accelerate your path to becoming a cybersecurity engineer, it’s not always a requirement. Many people focus instead on getting relevant cybersecurity training and certifications to develop their skills before entering the workforce.
3. Break Into IT As a Systems or Security Administrator
Becoming a cybersecurity engineer starts with taking the required education and gaining industry experience.
Often, cybersecurity engineers enter the field as systems administrators, security administrators or network administrators. From there, they specialize in cybersecurity and take the next leap to cybersecurity engineer.
When working as an administrator, vocalize your passion for cybersecurity and take every opportunity to get involved in security-related tasks and projects. Specify any learnings or experience gained on your résumé to highlight your expertise in this area.
4. Supplement Your Education With Relevant Certifications
Cybersecurity engineer training doesn’t stop at traditional methods of education. Professional certifications validate your expertise in the field of cybersecurity, and many companies require these credentials.
The threat landscape is constantly shifting, and cybersecurity certifications keep you up to date on the most successful threat countermeasures.
Leveling up your knowledge with ongoing cybersecurity training and certification demonstrates your initiative and commitment to the field while giving employers peace of mind that you possess the skills and knowledge to adequately protect their infrastructure.
Earning additional cybersecurity certifications can also distinguish you from applicants who have the bare minimum requirements.
Certifications are a must-have for any beginner or advanced cybersecurity professional. The top three certifications for cybersecurity engineers include:
1. Certified Ethical Hacker Certification
Certified Ethical Hackers have the same skills as black hat hackers but use their knowledge to evaluate security systems and come up with solutions. The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification program is meant to train individuals on how to think just like a hacker to devise new, combative solutions.
Cybersecurity engineers with CEH training will be equipped to create resilient IT systems that keep threats at bay.
2. Cisco Certified Network Professional Security Certification
The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Security certification program was built specifically for network security professionals working within the Cisco line of products. People who take this course and the subsequent exam are directly responsible for the security of networking devices, routers, switches and appliances.
IT professionals who earn their CCNP Security certification should also play a role in working with their company’s networking environments, particularly when it comes to firewalls, IDS/IPS solutions and VPNs.
3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional Certification
The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification was created to help IT professionals expand and improve their knowledge in building and managing robust cybersecurity programs.
The certification course expands on cybersecurity engineering skills and also adds certification-holders to its membership program, (ISC)2 , for additional networking opportunities, educational tools and resources.
New Horizons Cybersecurity Engineer Training
When you’re ready to embark on a cybersecurity engineer career path, New Horizons is here with the training and certifications you need to get started.
With an extensive list of certified training courses from top security vendors, New Horizons is ready to help you seek a new career in an exciting industry that needs you.
Take a look at the cybersecurity courses we have available or contact a training specialist to find the right training for you today.