Cybersecurity engineering is a hot commodity in the tech industry.
Forbes predicts that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, and many of these positions are going to go to people with no formal training in cybersecurity.
So what does it take to get into this field? How do you know if it’s right for you? And how can you prepare yourself for a career as a cyber security engineer?
In this article, we’ll cover everything from getting your first job out of college or bootcamp through transitioning from an individual contributor role to managing a team and more. Let’s get started.
Related: Best Cybersecurity Bootcamps
What Does a Cybersecurity Engineer Do?
A cybersecurity engineer is a person who designs and implements cyber security for an organization.
A cybersecurity engineer needs to be aware of the latest threats, vulnerabilities, risks, and regulations in order to make sure that systems are secure. Cybersecurity engineers often work with other staff like information assurance analysts, system administrators, software developers, network administrators or auditors on IT teams.
The job requires skills in cryptography; understanding how hackers use their knowledge of computers against them; familiarity with operating systems like Windows Server 2012 R2 or Linux Ubuntu 12.04 LTS; as well as networking protocols like TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) and Ethernet 802.3 standard which is used to connect devices on a local area network (LAN).
It’s important to note that although this is a very popular job position, it is also poorly understood. The cybersecurity engineer career path can continue through project management and become an information systems security manager, among other possibilities.
Cybersecurity Engineer Job Responsibilities
The cybersecurity engineer generally has a variety of responsibilities depending on the IT company they are employed by.
There are some general responsibilities that many have in common though:
- Keep track of emerging threats and vulnerabilities
- Analyze software coding design to look for weaknesses in coding logic, and design
- Ensure that systems are compliant with corporate policy and industry standards
- Monitor compliance with policies to ensure security controls continue to function as expected
- Configure, monitor, and maintain IT security systems such as firewalls, secure web gateways, intrusion detection/prevention systems, anti-malware software, and data loss prevention appliances
- Recommend new technologies or strategies — including developing new tools — that can strengthen security protocols
- Participate in vulnerability analysis and penetration testing of networks and applications
Cybersecurity Engineer Career Requirements
Many employers prefer at least an associate degree in information technology (AIT), or computer science. Basic knowledge of programming languages like C, C++, Python, Java is important for this profession.
Cybersecurity engineers often have a bachelor’s degree in any of these areas in order to find the most in-demand jobs in the field.
There are also some certifications that are commonly required or preferred by employers including CompTIA Security+, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), and CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker).
The employment outlook for cybersecurity engineers looks good. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that computer support specialist positions will grow by 13 percent across the country between 2014 and 2024 .
That translates into about 37,500 new job opportunities each year. As companies recognize increasing numbers of cyberattacks on their systems, they’re hiring more professionals to protect their networks and ensure the safety of their information.