How to Get Started as a
Cyber Security Engineer
Refine Your Skills and Remain Relevant
A cyber security engineer works to prevent attacks on databases using hardware, firewalls, and encryption. Also called cyber security analysts or information security analysts, these individuals work with other security professionals to protect digital networks against threats.
One key difference between security engineers and security analysts is their duties relating to security. Engineers primarily design and implement security architecture, while analysts work to detect security breaches by monitoring the network. If you want to learn how to become a cyber security engineer, read our guide below.
What Is a Cyber Security Engineer?
A cybersecurity engineer defends databases and networks from cyber-attacks. They use hardware, encryption tools, and firewalls to ensure site security. Cybersecurity engineers may choose to focus specifically on designing these safety measures and putting them to use.
How Does Cyber Security Engineering Relate to Data Science?
Cyber security engineering relates to data science because it often uses data analysis to solve issues. With this analysis, cyber security engineers can be made aware of problems or vulnerabilities. They can use this awareness to resolve the issue in their planning and design of security protocols.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Cyber Security Engineer?
Most employers are looking for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. This takes about four years, but there may be accelerated options. Additionally, you can pursue boot camps, online courses, or a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security to continue your education.
Where to Study Cyber Security Engineering
Where you study will depend on what your goals are. You may pursue a degree in cyber security or attend coding bootcamps. Below are some education options for you to pursue.
Cyber Security Engineering Community Colleges
Many community colleges offer certificates and Associate Degrees in Cyber Security. Community college is a more affordable and accessible option than a four-year university. Certificate programs take three months to a year to complete, and associate degrees usually take two years to complete.
Cyber Security Engineering Universities
To become a cyber security engineer, you can earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security, Computer Science, or another tech-related field. This will give you a comprehensive understanding of the skills needed to pursue this career. Most entry-level cyber security jobs require a bachelor’s degree.
Cyber Security Engineering Bootcamps
If you’re looking to switch career paths or test out the tech field, boot camps are a comprehensive and affordable alternative to traditional education. Some cybersecurity boot camps include Evolve Security Academy and Fullstack Academy.
Most boot camps require previous knowledge of technology and programming. The length of these programs ranges from a few weeks to one year. Many boot camps have online and self-paced learning options, making them accessible to almost anyone.
Cyber Security Engineering Online Courses
Pursuing an engineer position in cyber security can be done with online courses. Many bootcamps and massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer free online courses on specific topics. Learning from online courses is often the most cost-effective option, but it requires self-discipline and self-teaching.
Unlike comprehensive bootcamps and colleges, most online courses don’t offer career services or job guarantees. However, online courses allow you to be completely in control of your learning schedule. This aspect can be helpful for those who may struggle with a stricter syllabus or for those pursuing education while working.
How to Become a Cyber Security Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide
The best way to become a cyber security engineer is by pursuing a bachelor’s degree, but there are also other steps to take. We’ve provided a list of suggestions for anyone interested in this career. Keep in mind that everyone’s pathway differs depending on their goals and current position.
Earn a bachelor’s degree
A degree in information technology, cyber security, or another computer-related field provides future engineers with essential knowledge and training.
Gain work experience
You can do this through internships or entry-level jobs. Many degree programs have internship opportunities through tech companies that allow you to get college credit while working. Gaining real-world experience will help you advance in your career.
Get licenses or certifications
While this is an optional step, it can be helpful to earn certifications. Licenses and certifications confirm the depth and volume of your knowledge of certain security practices.
Earn a master’s degree
A Master’s Degree in Cyber Security is also an optional step, but it allows you to expand your knowledge on digital security measures. It can also be an opportunity to gain higher positions and salaries in the industry.
Apply for cyber security roles
With a bachelor’s degree, you can apply for junior positions, and with a master’s degree, you can apply for senior positions. There are many job search resources available online through LinkedIn, Indeed, and other sites.
Entry-Level Cyber Security Engineer Job Requirements
Most positions require a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Having attended additional bootcamp programs or received certification can set you apart from other candidates. Additionally, most jobs prefer experience in related occupations. You should check job postings in your area to see what requirements are like.
Cyber Security Engineer Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts earn an average salary of $103,590. This is almost three times the national average for all occupations. Although this is not the exact same job title as a cybersecurity engineer, you can expect a similar salary for this similar position.
The BLS also reports that employment for information security analysts is predicted to increase by 31 percent between 2019 to 2019. This is incredibly fast compared to other occupations. Information security analysts and cyber security engineers will most likely be in high demand for the foreseeable future.
Example Cyber Security Engineer Job Interview Questions
- What are encoding, encryption, and hashing?
- How do you deal with high-pressure environments?
- What is cross-site scripting?
- Are you familiar with ethical hacking?
- Can you describe a time where you had to solve a problem on the spot?
What Does a Cyber Security Engineer Do?
Cyber security engineers plan, design, and carry out security measures using hardware, encryption, and firewalls. This helps defend against cyber attacks and security breaches. These professionals have a variety of specific responsibilities, a few of which we have listed below.
Identifies Security Risks
Cyber security engineers must monitor and identify anything that poses a risk to network security. Once they identify security risks, they may need to redesign and reimplement the software or firewall. Once a risk is identified, they can also team up with other security specialists to resolve the issue.
Responds to Technical Issues
Cyber security engineers also focus on responding to technical issues. These include bug fixes as well as code adjustments. This helps their security operations to perform and run smoothly. Knowledge of programming languages is helpful for this career.
Plans and Implements Security Changes
This is a key function of a cyber security engineer. It is also one of the key differences between an engineer and an analyst in this field. Planning and implementing changes means designing code, software, and firewalls to ensure site security.
Essential Cyber Security Engineer Skills and Certifications
Many skills are important in the field of cyber security. Some are specific to this career, and others are common within tech careers in general. Certifications are often a way to confirm your skill level to current and future employers.
Multiple certifications are worth investing in, which we have listed below. Additionally, there is a short list of the three most important skills for a cyber security engineer.
Cyber Security Engineer Skills
As an individual who has to find, analyze, and create solutions for security issues, a strong analytical sense is important. Those with analytical skills will excel in this field. These skills can help engineers figure out what went wrong and understand how to prevent similar issues in the future.
When designing a security plan, cyber security engineers will need to use their creativity. This is especially true as security issues evolve and become more complex. The same solutions we used five years ago may not be as effective as those we create today.
Cyber Security Engineer Certifications
While they are not essential, professional certifications can help you stand out when applying for jobs. Some employers require certifications, especially for higher-level positions. Below are some of the most common for cyber security.
Certified Ethical Hacker
This focuses on something called penetration testing. Penetration testing is a simulated attack against your system to check for weak spots and issues. This certification is a way to test your skills in realistic simulations. This is a great certification to start with.
Certified Information Systems Auditor
This certification demonstrates knowledge, technical skills, and proficiency when it comes to facing challenges in the modern age. It is considered a global standard for individuals with a career in information systems. This helps engineers to implement an audit strategy based on risk management.
Systems Security Certified Practitioner
This certification is a beginner security certification. It tests an individual’s ability to implement and manage information security. Other key topics in this certification are security administration, risk recovery, and malicious activity.
Reasons to Become a Cyber Security Engineer in 2021
There are many reasons to become a cyber security engineer. At the top of the list is job security. As our world becomes more digital, cyber security will become increasingly important. Additionally, these engineers earn high salaries, well above the national average. If you want to be a cyber security engineer, you should start in 2021.
Cyber Security Engineer FAQ
Are there opportunities for advancement in a career as a cyber security engineer?
Yes, along with pursuing a graduate degree, cyber security engineers can earn certifications for specific concentrations. This will allow individuals to pursue senior and managerial positions.
What is the work environment like for a cyber security engineer?
Cyber security engineers work in a variety of industries and places. They may work in banks, large retail companies, and government agencies. This is due to the need to secure sensitive data. They work in the information technology departments of these industries.
Can I become a cyber security engineer without a bachelor’s degree?
While a bachelor’s degree is becoming the minimum education requirement for most tech careers, there are other options. Bootcamps offer intensive courses on specific subjects and many schools offer job guarantees. More entry-level positions are accepting boot camp graduates as boot camps become more standard within the industry.
What are the best certifications to get as a cyber security engineer?
The Systems Security Certified Practitioner is a beginner certification for implementing and managing information security. The Certified Ethical Hacker is also a good certification to consider because it requires practice in ethical hacking.