Security Engineer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Security Engineer, or Security Administrator, handles the digital security for their company or clients. Their duties include building digital security protocols, operating a cyber security system and maintaining an IT security infrastructure for their organization or their clients’ organizations.

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Security Engineer Duties and Responsibilities

Security Engineers are the first line of defense against malicious actors in the IT industry. They screen their company’s critical IT infrastructure for weaknesses and create robust countermeasures to prevent future incidents. Security Engineers also train employees on security best practices and advice management on investments to safeguard the company’s computer and network systems. Here are examples of Security Engineer responsibilities:

  • Develop, execute and track the performance of security measures to protect information and network infrastructure and computer systems.
  • Design computer security strategy and engineer comprehensive cybersecurity architecture.
  • Identify, define and document system security requirements and recommend solutions to management.
  • Configure, troubleshoot and maintain security infrastructure software and hardware.
  • Install software that monitors systems and networks for security breaches and intrusions. 
  • Monitor systems for irregular behavior and set up preventive measures. 
  • Plan, develop, implement and update company’s information security strategy.
  • Educate and train staff on information system security best practices.

What Does a Security Engineer Do?

Security Engineers typically work in a variety of settings and industries, including both the public and private sector. This technical position involves identifying threats and vulnerabilities in the company’s IT systems and software architecture and preparing for potential threats that could disrupt the company’s operations. They also test security systems to monitor and improve performance. Security Engineers advise management on policies and procedures related to the IT industry. The role requires in-depth expertise in specific hard skills such as networking and protocols.

Security Engineer Skills and Qualifications 

Security Engineers require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. The role requires technical knowledge of networking, computer security systems and database. Candidates must be familiar with web-related technologies and network protocols to perform duties. Here are examples of Security Engineer qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science or a related field
  • Five or more years’ work experience as a System Security Engineer or related position
  • Proven experience developing, operating and maintaining security systems
  • Extensive knowledge of operating system and database security
  • Proficiency in networking technologies, network security and network monitoring solutions
  • Knowledge of security systems including anti-virus applications, content filtering, firewalls, authentication systems and intrusion detection and notification systems
  • In-depth knowledge of security protocols and principles
  • Critical thinking skills and ability to solve complex problems 

Security Engineer Salary Expectations 

A Security Engineer earns an average salary of $105,934 per year. Pay depends on the job responsibilities, employer, the economy of the geographical region and level of work experience. 

Security Engineer Education and Training Requirements

Security Engineers require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, cybersecurity or related fields. Senior positions may also need a master’s degree in a specific area of specialization such as IT security. The role is technical and the ideal candidate must have hands-on experience in computer security systems, networking, web-based protocols and frameworks. Candidates often have certifications such as CCNP Security, GIAC and Microsoft Systems Developer training. 

Besides expert knowledge in fundamental and advanced cybersecurity solutions and regulations, Security Engineers need excellent communication skills because the role involves interacting with different people within and outside the organization. They will also have leadership qualities and good problem-solving skills. 

Security Engineer Experience Requirements

Security Engineer experience requirements depend on the employer’s needs and the scope of the position. Entry-level roles may require up to one to three years’ experience, while senior positions need up to 10 years’ industry know-how. Successful candidates will be proficient in secure network architectures, encryption technologies and standards, application security, virtualization technologies and secure coding practices. They will be familiar with identity and access management principles, networking routing techniques, social engineering, Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) and gateway anti-malware. Security Engineers must be able to work long hours and collaborate within a team.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

Here are job description samples for Security Engineer related positions:

Frequently asked questions about Security Engineers

 

What makes a good Security Engineer?

Excellent Security Engineers must have a certain set of skills and specific technical training in order to perform their jobs effectively. When considering a Security Engineer, look for these qualities: 

  • Problem-solving skills: One of the primary responsibilities of a Security Engineer is finding creative solutions to cyber security problems. 
  • Technical knowledge: Good Security Engineers have considerable technical knowledge that allows them to create effective digital security solutions for their company or for their clients. 
  • Autonomy: Most Security Engineers are relatively self-directed, meaning they must have strong time management skills and be comfortable working independently. 
  • Design oriented: Often, one of the responsibilities of a Security Engineer is designing digital security protocols to protect sensitive information, so a design background is useful. 
  • Communication ability: Excellent Security Engineers are able to explain, both verbally and in writing, how their security protocols work to internal and external stakeholders.

 

What is the difference between a Security Engineer and an IT Technician?

Security Engineers and IT Technicians both work on computer systems to ensure their functionality, but the specifics of their work differ substantially. Security Engineers’ primary objective is to protect an organization’s digital information by creating and implementing specific protection protocols. An IT technician helps ensure all hardware and software related to a computer system is functioning appropriately, particularly in instances of damage or malfunction. They don’t usually work on an entire system’s security measures. 

 

What are the daily duties of a Security Engineer?

Security Engineers often perform two somewhat disparate types of tasks in their daily work. They usually spend the majority of their time ensuring the security protocols they have in place are effective or designing new security protocols for clients. However, should there be a data breach of any kind, they’ll focus on quickly finding the issue related to the data breach and protecting the impacted data. Once they’ve fixed the breach, they’ll evaluate the whole security system to find any other weak points and fix those as well. 

 

Do Security Engineers have different responsibilities in different industries?

Generally, Security Engineers perform the same types of tasks and functions regardless of the industry they work in. However, the cyber system and type of information they protect can differ substantially from job to job. For example, Security Engineers who work for the government or military manage highly sensitive and confidential information that may be actively targeted by hackers. Security Engineers who work for individual businesses often protect important and personal confidential information, but may not face the same types of threats that higher risk industries do. 

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