How To Become a Cybersecurity Engineer (Salary and Skills)
Updated 16 March 2023
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Cybersecurity engineers take care of the design and implementation of secure networks and are valuable assets for an organisation. They oversee the overall security of data systems and online networks. Working as a cybersecurity engineer requires a well-developed set of skills and qualifications. In this article, we discuss what a cybersecurity engineer is, what they do, how much they earn, explore their skills and how to become a cybersecurity engineer.
Related: Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers
What Is A Cybersecurity Engineer?
A cybersecurity engineer designs and implements secure network solutions to protect an organisation from cybercriminals, cyberattacks and persistent online threats. Their primary job responsibility is to keep organisations safe from outside attacks. Also, to ensure network safety, these engineers continually test and monitor the organisation's security system to ensure they have the latest defence against any online threat. A cybersecurity professional may work in a small corporation or freelance with a small business. Often, a cybersecurity engineer performs data security and web security engineer duties within companies and organisations.
What Does A Cybersecurity Engineer Do?
Apart from protecting networks and data systems, a cybersecurity engineer performs various other tasks. Some of their day-to-day duties are:
Write security plans to protect the network from potential online breaches
Plan, monitor and upgrade security measures to protect the organisation's data and system
Troubleshoot security and network-related issues
Evaluates the organisation's computer network and data systems to find potential vulnerabilities
Install, test and configure network infrastructures
Define protocols and install and configure security devices
Participate in the change management process
Report and communicate with business stakeholders and department heads to provide an update on system and network security measures
Average Salary Of A Cybersecurity Engineer
The average salary of a cybersecurity engineer is ₹7,96,539 per year. Depending on where they work, where they live, their skills and experience and their role within an organisation, these professionals can see a variation in their yearly salaries. Also, the salaries of these engineers vary from state to state and union territory to union territory.
Skills of a cybersecurity professional
Some valuable skills required for this profession are:
A cybersecurity professional closely monitors and assesses computer networks for cyber threats and security breaches. They understand the potential area of weakness and implement security measures to prevent data or information leakage. These engineers use their analytical skills to strengthen organisation-wide network security.
Being able to communicate technical topics to nontechnical professionals effectively is critical for this job role. Also, communicating their thoughts to managers and colleagues and explaining complex issues is a desirable skill. Cybersecurity professionals require excellent written communication skills because they may communicate via email and discuss a potential security threat with business stakeholders.
Cybersecurity professionals learn different ways of solving network and security issues. They test and monitor the network systems regularly to find potential security hazards. So, employers prefer candidates who are problem-solvers and can find many solutions to a single problem. Excellent problem-solving skills help to address complex information security challenges, even with emerging technologies.
A part of a cybersecurity professional's workday involves maintaining and updating security systems, troubleshooting network issues and providing real-time security updates. This requires an in-depth understanding of the core cybersecurity concepts. Being technologically savvy can help in performing day-to-day activities.
Attention to details
Protecting an organisation from hackers and cybercriminals requires a cyber engineer to be highly vigilant to detect even a minor vulnerability. To achieve this, they would continuously monitor the network to find potential security issues that may arise. Also, they may view hundreds or thousands of lines of computer code to detect any change.
Having excellent computer programming skills is often a prerequisite for this job role. Proficiency in networks, computer systems and databases can help them perform all job-specific duties while ensuring network security. As the IT field rapidly changes, these professionals remain abreast with the current security to identify potential thefts.
Related: Computer Skills: Definition and Example
Proficiency in network and database platforms
A major part of their day involves working with network and database systems. So proficiency in common networking terms like virtual private network (VPN), subnetting, routing protocols, encryption techniques and secure network architecture is desirable. Also, to prevent data leakage, a cybersecurity professional is adept and proficient in data structuring, storing and disseminating.
How To Become A Cybersecurity Engineer
To understand how to become a cybersecurity engineer, consider these steps:
1. Earn your bachelor's degree
The minimum requirement to become a cybersecurity engineer is earning a bachelor's degree in computer science, system engineering, IT engineering, software engineering, computer programming or related fields. Engineering courses in these fields can help you get familiar with the fundamentals of cybersecurity, like cryptography, network communication, network infrastructure and computer networks. Having a decent knowledge of these fundamentals can help you get hired.
2. Gain relevant experience
Before becoming a cybersecurity professional, a candidate usually works as a system administrator, computer software engineer, network engineer or database administrator for one to five years. These positions help you understand more about how to maintain a database and network. You get hands-on experience solving computer and network related issues, making you ready for a cybersecurity role.
3. Complete a certification
You can pursue a certification soon after completing your bachelor's degree or pursue it after gaining some relevant work experience. Though these certifications are voluntary, they can increase your credibility and showcases your domain knowledge and expertise. For earning a certification, complete a specified number of training hours and pass an exam. Some common certifications that can help your CV stand out during the hiring process are:
Council Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO)
Certified Ethical Hacker Certification (CEH)
Cyber threat incidents (CTIA)
Council Certified Incident Handler (ECIH)
Council Security Analyst (ECSA)
4. Knowledge of programming languages
Proficiency in common programming languages like C++, Java, Python, Go, Node, Ruby and PowerShell is desirable. Understanding the basics of one or two programming languages can help you stay ahead of hackers who have in-depth knowledge of network systems and know how to exploit them. Also, many mid-level and senior-level cybersecurity engineering roles require a candidate to write and understand computer codes.
5. Pursue your master's
While it is not mandatory to pursue higher education, a master's degree can help in career progression and salary increment. With a master's degree, you can specialise in areas like information security or security engineering. This makes you an expert in the desired subject and increases your confidence. Also, many master's programmes allow you to complete an internship during the course, which helps you sharpen your skills and learn from experienced professionals.
6. Create a CV and apply for jobs
To get hired for the desired role, create a CV enlisting all your skills, qualification, experience and professional achievements. Also, read the job description, pick out keyword s it mentions and add them to your CV to make it relevant in an applicant tracking system (ATS).
Related: What Is an Applicant Tracking System? Definition and Tips
What Degree Is Needed To Be A Security Engineer?
You may need a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, cybersecurity or related fields. Degrees like BTech/BE, BCA and BSc can help you enter this field. For earning a BTech/BE degree, pass an entrance examination and enrol in an engineering college of your choice. Admission to the BSc course depends upon your marks in 10+2. Admission to the BCA course is on a merit basis. Certain colleges may conduct written examinations and personal interviews to enrol students in a BCA course.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Cybersecurity Engineer?
The time to become a cybersecurity engineer depends upon the undergraduate course you pursue. For instance, if you pursue an engineering course, it takes four years to become a cybersecurity engineer. But if you pursue a BCA or BSc degree, it may take three years. Also, many organisations prefer hiring candidates with some experience as a system or network engineer. So, after completing your graduation, work in different entry-level IT jobs before pursuing a role in cybersecurity.
Related: How To Become A Mechatronics Engineer (Skills And Salary)
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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