How To Become A Security Architect (With Duties And Salary)

Updated 21 June 2023

A primary component of an organisation's IT strategy is to secure its systems and data from cyberthreats, malware attacks and other cyberattacks that result in the disruption of operations, revenue loss and reputation damage. A Security Architect within a company helps design and implements advanced security measures that align with its IT strategy. If you take an interest in pursuing a career in this field, you can benefit from learning about the roles and responsibilities of the position.

In this article, we define 'What a Security Architect is?', share steps on how to become a Security Architect, outline the courses to pursue, list their responsibilities, provide their salary and discuss their career potential.

Please note that the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

What Is A Security Architect?

Security Architects are responsible for designing and implementing security solutions that protect an organisation's data and systems from internal and external threats. They conduct risk assessments and devise mitigation strategies. They perform periodic security audits to identify the effectiveness of existing security solutions and to determine areas of vulnerability. Security architects may also train IT staff on security policies, procedures and best practices.

Related: What Are Cybersecurity Tools? (With Types And Examples)

How To Become A Security Architect?

Follow these steps to learn how to become a Security Architect:

1. Complete your education

After completing your 10+2 senior secondary education, you can consider pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science, information science or a related field. After completing your undergraduate course, you can further your career by pursuing an advanced degree in cybersecurity or a related field. You can then complete additional certifications from recognised institutes to demonstrate your proficiency in areas including risk management, security design, security operations and incident response.

Related: 10 Useful Academic Skills (Plus Tips For Developing Them)

2. Pursue certification courses

Certification courses can help further your knowledge and understanding of networking fundamentals, design, security, and monitoring. These are some standard certifications you can consider:

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): This entry-level certification course validates a candidate's understanding of network fundamentals, infrastructure services and security.

  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP): This is a mid-level certification course that validates a candidate's knowledge of network security, advanced routing and network design.

  • Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE): This is an advanced-level certification course that tests an individual's competency in network design methodologies, optimisation and scalability.

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): This certification programme validates a candidate's skills in risk management, asset security and security architecture, and engineering.

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): This certification programme validates an individual's knowledge and understanding of hacking concepts, foot printing and reconnaissance, scanning networks and social engineering.

Related: What Is The CCNA Certification? A Definitive Guide

3. Prepare your resume

When applying for jobs, review the job description to identify relevant keywords, including skills, work experience and credentials. Include the ones that align with your skill set, experience and qualifications on your resume. This can help you rank higher in an applicant tracking system (ATS). Add your contact details at the top of the resume. Include a professional summary that reflects your skills, work experience and notable accomplishments. Add your work experience in reverse chronological order, including your job title, company name, employment period and duties. Use strong action verbs and quantifiable results to highlight the impact of your work.

For example, you can mention how, as a security engineer, you implemented a new patch management process that reduced the time required to patch critical vulnerabilities by 50%. After mentioning your work experience, you can list your technical and soft skills. Some examples of technical skills for the role include knowledge of network and cloud security, penetration testing, vulnerability assessment and incident response and recovery. Some soft skills include communication, team management, decision-making, critical thinking and leadership skills. In the end, you can include a list of certifications along with the vendor names and issue dates.

Related: Incident Management Interview Questions With Sample Answers

4. Network with people

As a security architect, attending conferences, seminars and workshops can provide valuable insights into the latest developments in cybersecurity. Following cybersecurity experts on social media can help you build professional relationships and share important information. Networking can also help you learn about job openings and opportunities and get recommendations and references to aid your job search.

Related: 9 Effective Business Networking Tips For Young Professionals

What To Study To Become A Security Architect?

Employers usually require candidates to have an undergraduate degree in computer science, information technology or a related field. For example, a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) is a four-year undergraduate degree you can pursue after your 10+2. There are several state-level and national-level entrance examinations for admissions into different universities. Admission to the bachelor's programmes depends on the student's scores in the entrance examinations. Some private universities may also offer admission based on the student's score in 10+2. Some core areas that the programmes may focus on in security include security analysis, network design and architecture, cryptography and security software development.

Upon completing your bachelor's programme, you can also consider pursuing advanced degrees in cybersecurity to improve your career prospects. For example, a Master of Technology (MTech) in cybersecurity, which is a two-year master's programme, can be suitable for this job role. Admission to these programmes depends on your score in Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) or other entrance examinations conducted by different institutes. You can also opt for a master's degree after a few years of work experience. The master's programmes usually cover cybersecurity policy and governance, cloud security and virtualisation, risk management, compliance and information security management.

Related: Software Engineering Courses After 12th (With 5 Job Roles)

Responsibilities Of A Security Architect

Here are some responsibilities of a Security Architect:

  • Reviewing current security measures of an organisation to identify areas of improvement

  • Researching, reviewing and implementing security architectures

  • Developing preventive security control techniques to avoid security breaches and data loss

  • Overseeing system upgrades

  • Ensuring each component of a project, along with the tools, processes and technologies, meets the organisational security standards

  • Establishing disaster recovery procedures to ensure minimal disruption due to unexpected downtime

  • Assisting the IT team in developing, implementing and testing new tools and technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, DevSecOps and cloud computing

  • Ensuring an organisation's systems comply with the security and regulatory requirements

Related: Cyber Security Resume Skills (Definition And Examples)

How Much Does A Security Architect Earn?

The national average salary of a Security Architect is ₹7,14,542 per year. These salaries can depend on several factors, such as the employer, location, educational qualifications, experience and skills. For example, security architects working for big firms, financial institutions, consulting firms and health care organisations may have higher salaries than other industries.

Related: How Much Does Cybersecurity Make? (With Skills And Types)

What Is The Career Potential Of A Security Architect?

Due to a shift towards data-driven culture, organisations have started gathering, processing and managing large amounts of data. They have also set up large IT infrastructures comprising software and hardware components and network systems to provide quality products and services to clients and customers. This necessitates the need for a robust security architecture that can protect a company's IT systems, networks and data from unauthorised access, malware and other cyberthreats. Security Architects are essential in implementing comprehensive, scalable, proactive and cost-effective security architectures for different organisations across various industries, resulting in an increased demand for the position.

With significant experience in the field, Security Architects can advance to the roles of:

  • Security Director: They prepare long-term security plans in alignment with a company's goals and objectives, oversee the implementation of security policies and devise risk management strategies.

  • IT Director: They oversee an organisation's IT strategy, including hardware, software and networks and ensure they align with its long-term goals and objectives.

  • Chief Information Security Officer: They are part of the executive team and work with Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to develop cybersecurity strategies to protect an organisation from internal and external threats.

Salary figures show data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing the article. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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