How to Become a
Cyber Security Engineer
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
The world today is dependent on the Internet to handle daily tasks in every industry, so security is one of the most important aspects of tech management. This has led to high demand for cyber security engineers.
If you are interested in helping protect data, you should become a cyber security engineer. The field is perfect for people who love a challenge. Like many other tech sectors, it is rewarding and has a lot of potential for growth. This comprehensive guide will outline how to become a cyber security engineer.
What Is a Cyber Security Engineer?
A cyber security engineer is a tech professional who designs and implements secure network solutions. These solutions defend against cyber attacks, hackers, and other threats that can disrupt a system. Cyber security engineers also monitor and test systems to make sure they are updated and functional.
There are many different names for cyber security engineers. Some are called IT security engineers, data security engineers, or web security engineers. In some cases, the role covers different IT positions and responsibilities.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Cyber Security Engineer?
You can attend a few different types of schools to get cyber security training. Some colleges and universities offer degrees in computer science, information systems, or cyber security. If you are interested in shorter and less expensive education, you can try a coding bootcamp or online courses.
Read below to learn more about the different paths you can take to become a cyber security engineer.
Best Cyber Security Engineer Education Tracks
Not every cyber security engineer follows the same path. However, you will need to get some kind of education to work in this field. Try one of the education tracks below to become a cyber security engineer.
Community colleges offer two-year associate’s degree programs for cyber security engineers. Most employers prefer four-year training, but you can get started at a community college. An associate degree can help you become familiar with the topic without spending too much time or money on it.
If you want to get a cyber security associate degree, you should try looking for a program in information technology or another tech topic. Not every community college offers a cyber security program, so you may need to major in something broader.
Cyber Security Engineer Degrees
If you want to enter the cyber security space, you can also try getting a bachelor’s degree. Most cyber security degree programs require foundations in science, math, and other topics. You will need to take electives to fulfill your degree requirements and get a well-rounded education.
If you decide to get a bachelor’s degree, you will be able to apply for entry-level positions when you graduate. You will also be able to get a master’s degree or PhD to improve your credentials. Graduate training will give you a competitive advantage and prepare you for management positions.
Cyber Security Engineer Bootcamps
Cyber security bootcamps can also train you to work in cyber security. These programs are shorter and less expensive than degree programs. You can learn different aspects of cyber security such as security administration, vulnerability testing, penetration testing, data security, and network administration.
There are lots of high-quality cyber security bootcamps across the country. You can try applying for Evolve Security Academy, Ironhack, or Fullstack Academy. You can also opt for an intermediate and advanced cyber security bootcamp if you already have basic training. Some bootcamps provide career services to help you get a job in the field after graduation.
Cyber Security Engineer Courses
Online cyber security courses can be a great way to learn specific skills. You can study cryptography, digital forensics, ethical hacking, and more. These courses are useful if you want to specialize in a certain area or learn extra skills in your off time.
These courses are affordable and sometimes even free. Some are self-paced and others offer live online sessions. You can find online cyber security engineering courses from providers like Udemy, Udacity, and edX. Keep in mind that they are not a replacement for a degree. Most employers require formal education for cyber security professionals.
How to Become a Cyber Security Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide
The process of becoming a cyber security engineer is like many other tech jobs. You need the appropriate training before you can get hands-on experience. You may also want to consider getting certifications to give you an advantage in the job hunt.
Check out the steps below to become a cyber security engineer.
Get an education
Before anything else, you need to get educated and get relevant training to qualify as an expert. It is the most important step to becoming a cyber security engineer. You will learn the topics and skills you need to help you find a job.
Learn technical skills
After getting the required training, the next step is to hone your technical skills. You may need to take the time to master programming languages and other essential skills. These include Java, Python, C++, and Ruby.
Gain hands-on experience
Getting hands-on experience is one of the most important things you can do. You need to practice what you have learned using real-world models. You can get an internship or join a program that offers hands-on training.
Certifications help validate your skills in cyber security. They can also help you stand out among your peers in the job hunt. Some jobs require professional certifications to prove that you have the training to work in the position.
Apply for cyber security engineer jobs
After getting certified, you can apply for jobs at different companies. Start by shortlisting companies in your preferred area. Career portals can help. Then, you can network and find job openings as soon as they come.
Key Cyber Security Engineer Skills
People who want a career in cyber security need professional, technical, and functional skills. In most cases, you will need formal cyber security skills as well as soft skills. These can help you succeed in the field.
Read below to learn more about the essential skills you need to become a cyber security engineer.
Cyber security is focused on technology, so you need to be computer-literate. You will need to troubleshoot, maintain, and update information security systems. You may also have to provide security solutions in real-time and implement network monitoring. In other words, you must be tech-savvy to handle the daily requirements of your job.
Cyber security is different from computer forensics, but they are related. A foundation in computer forensics will help you thrive as a cyber security expert. Most degree programs on cyber security have computer forensics as a component. You should know how to recover compromised data or track where breaches are coming from.
To protect an organization’s infrastructure and network, you should know how hackers can gain access to the system. Learning how to hack for good reasons is called ethical hacking. You need to learn the same things as a hacker to understand the system’s vulnerability and how to build an effective solution to stop attacks.
Cyber Security Engineer Salary and Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cyber security experts have a good job outlook. Information security jobs will grow 31 percent by 2029. This is massive growth and exceeds the national average. The BLS also says that people working in this sector enjoy a median salary of about $100,000 per year.
The demand for cyber security engineers is rising because of the projected cost of cybercrime in the world today. More security engineering jobs have opened to meet the high demand. If you want to get a lucrative job in tech, cyber security is a fantastic choice.
Entry-Level Cyber Security Engineer Job Requirements
To get an entry-level job as a cyber security engineer, you need to have a degree or a coding bootcamp certificate. Some jobs may also ask for certifications from entry-level candidates, so do your research beforehand. Mostly, you will need some sort of education and hands-on experience.
What Does a Cyber Security Engineer Do?
A cyber security engineer protects sensitive data from leaks, breaches, and taps. They protect financial records, client information, and confidential information. To do this, these experts work with penetration testers, technology managers, and security analysts.
Below are some top roles and responsibilities of cyber security engineers.
Detect, Investigate, and Prevent
Cyber security experts are the first line of defense for an organization’s data. This means that you have to detect, investigate, and prevent any oncoming attack. You will need to prepare for breaches and find vulnerabilities in the system. Different IT equipment and software can help.
Maintains Security Protocol
No matter where you work, it is important to maintain security protocols. Every organization might have different standards, so you should adjust your skills accordingly. Part of these standards sometimes includes testing. You will need to try to break into the system to see how to prevent hackers from entering.
Once you create and test a security system, you need to conduct an assessment. You will need to report your findings to company executives and make recommendations to prevent data breaches. Sometimes, you will need to explain concepts in layman’s terms. This means you should have good communication skills.
Cyber Security Engineer Certifications
The demand for cyber security engineers has grown in the past few years. If you want to get the best cyber security jobs, you will need to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is to get certifications. They can boost your resume and increase your salary potential.
Read below to learn more about the most important cyber security engineer certifications.
CompTIA Security+ is the standard certification for cyber security. People with at least two years of experience in IT can take the exam. The certification covers general cyber security topics and does not focus on one vendor product line.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
This certification is considered one of the best in the sector. For this, cyber security you need to have at least five years of work experience to apply. The management-focused certification can help you get certified in all aspects of cyber security.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
The Certified Information Systems Auditor certification focuses more on information auditing. Passing the exam can prove that you have audit experience. This means you can manage vulnerabilities and institute controls at an enterprise level.
How to Prepare for Your Cyber Security Engineer Job Interview
Because cyber security engineering is so important, most interview processes are extensive. These can be stressful, but they are necessary to land your dream cyber security job. If you prepare well, you will ace your interview and get the job.
Here are some common questions to expect during your cyber security engineer job interview.
Cyber Security Engineer Job Interview Practice Questions
- Why did you decide to enter cyber security?
- What is your process for protecting a server?
- What do you know about hashing, encoding, and encryption?
- What is ARP? When should you use it?
- What can you do to stop a brute-force login attack?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Cyber Security Engineer?
Becoming a cyber security engineer can take from a few weeks to four years, depending on the educational track you choose. Coding bootcamps take 13 weeks on average, and you can be ready for the job market within the shortest time possible.
If you choose to pursue an associate degree, you could finish the program within two years. A bachelor’s degree program can take at least four years. You may also want to take additional time and get a certification.
Should You Become a Cyber Security Engineer in 2021?
Yes, you should become a cyber security engineer in 2021. The demand for cyber security experts has risen higher than ever before. With a 33 percent job growth expected in the future, it has an excellent job outlook. If you want to enter the tech space, cyber security is the way to go.
You should become a cyber security engineer in 2021 because of the salary prospects and potential. As the world goes digital, the demand for cyber security experts will only continue to rise. Cyber security can guarantee a rewarding career.
Cyber Security Engineer FAQ
What does a cyber security engineer do?
Cyber security engineers protect computer systems from attacks and threats. They keep client and company information safe.
What skills do you need to become a cyber security engineer?
You need many different skills to become a cyber security expert. You need technical skills as well as soft skills like communication and teamwork.
Do you need a degree to become a cyber security engineer?
No, you do not need a degree to become a cyber security engineer. Some employers prefer degrees, but you can also enroll in a bootcamp. You can learn the same information in a shorter time.