How to Become a Cybersecurity Engineer – Forbes Advisor

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Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cybercrimes will cost the world a colossal $10.5 trillion per year by 2025. Given these high stakes, organizations are looking for cybersecurity experts to protect their data and help limit losses. due to cybercrime.

Beyond the many entry-level and intermediate cybersecurity positions, the cybersecurity engineer role sits near the top of the career ladder. This position requires advanced skills and offers competitive salaries.

This article explores how to become a cybersecurity engineer, the daily duties of these professionals, and the career facts of cybersecurity engineers.

What is a Cybersecurity Engineer?

The cybersecurity engineer is among the most advanced roles in cybersecurity. This role is sometimes referred to as an information security engineer or network security engineer. Cybersecurity engineers focus on protecting data and preventing disruption from digital attacks.

The main responsibilities of cybersecurity engineers include designing, implementing, monitoring and upgrading security measures. As part of information or cybersecurity teams, these engineers respond to security vulnerabilities, test and identify system vulnerabilities, and write reports for managers.

Cybersecurity Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

Cybersecurity engineers earn very competitive salaries. According to Payscale, these engineers earn an average base cybersecurity salary of nearly $99,000. Their salaries are likely to increase as they gain experience and earn certifications.

As for job prospects, there is a massive shortage of cybersecurity manpower. Cyberseek, a collaboration between the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, CompTIA, and Lightcast, analyzes cybersecurity labor market data. Between May 2021 and April 2022, there were more than 700,000 job postings for cybersecurity professionals, according to Cyberseek.

Cybersecurity positions take on average 21% longer to fill than other job types. This indicates a great lack of talent in the field of cybersecurity.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 35% job growth for information security analysts from 2021 to 2031. This indicates continued strong demand for similar cybersecurity professionals.

How to Become a Cybersecurity Engineer

Cybersecurity engineers occupy advanced roles that require a solid foundation of computer knowledge and skills. Candidates can acquire these skills through traditional courses, self-study or bootcamps.

Remember that becoming a cybersecurity engineer will likely require years of education and experience. Getting certified can also be helpful.

earn a degree

If you are wondering how to get into cybersecurity, remember that it is a highly technical field requiring training in computer networks, coding and programming, and encryption, among others. A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or computer science can provide a solid foundation in these subjects. Related fields like electrical engineering or math can also provide useful skills.

A degree isn’t always required for a cybersecurity career, but it’s a solid option. According to a survey conducted by (ISC)², an international non-profit information security organization, 81% of current cybersecurity professionals hold an undergraduate degree or above. Fifty-one percent of cybersecurity professionals hold a degree in computer science.

For those taking the non-academic route, a cybersecurity bootcamp can also provide a good education. Attending a cybersecurity bootcamp can quickly equip you with the skills required for an entry-level position in the field. Bootcamp graduates can also pursue certifications to back up their expertise.

Gain experience

A cybersecurity engineering position is unlikely to be the first position in your career. First, you should look for entry-level cybersecurity jobs to help you gain experience and build your skills.

Potential roles to consider include cybersecurity specialist, cybercrime analyst, and incident and intrusion analyst. More intermediate positions include cybersecurity analyst, consultant, and penetration tester.

Alternatively, you can start in an information technology (IT) job before moving into cybersecurity. Related roles include software developer, network or systems administrator, and IT auditor. In the aforementioned (ISC)² survey, more than 50% of respondents started their career in IT before making the transition.

Get Certified

Due to the advanced nature of this engineering role, cybersecurity certifications can be a great way to make you a more competitive candidate for available roles. As you move into an engineering role, consider earning one or more of the following certifications.

Entry-level certifications such as CompTIA’s Security+ and Network+ can bolster your cybersecurity resume and help you qualify to become a cybersecurity engineer. These certifications also fulfill the requirement to work for the US Department of Defense, if that is your goal.

For mid-level cybersecurity professionals, ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor® and Certified Information Systems Manager® are good options. Additionally, Global Information Assurance Certification, an entity that administers information security certifications, offers credentials that measure specific areas of knowledge and skills.

The cybersecurity industry’s gold standard is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, which makes you an elite cybersecurity expert. This designation requires a minimum of four years of paid experience and the recommendation of a current CISSP holder.

Apply for jobs

Once you’ve acquired the training and certifications you need, it’s time to apply for jobs. And with over 700,000 vacancies in the field to choose from, you should be able to find a cybersecurity engineer role that catches your eye. Companies like Palo Alto Networks, Datadog, and CrowdStrike are good places to start.

If you are interested in working for the US government, USAJOBS is a one-stop-shop for positions across the country.

FAQ to become a cybersecurity engineer

What do I need to learn to become a cybersecurity engineer?

Required knowledge includes fundamental knowledge of computer hardware and software, principles of intrusion and firewall detection, programming languages ​​such as Python and C++, principles of identity management, encryption, and security testing. vulnerability.

How long does it take to become a cybersecurity engineer?

The demand for cybersecurity experts is high and the time to become a cybersecurity engineer can vary. Expect to spend several years completing training and gaining experience in the field before landing a job as a cybersecurity engineer.

Is it difficult to become a cybersecurity engineer?

Becoming a cybersecurity engineer takes hard work and dedication, but it is doable. According to (ISC)², 26% of cybersecurity professionals surveyed started in a different field. Eight percent explored cybersecurity concepts on their own and were recruited to work in the field.

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