This post is a step-by-step roadmap for how to become a cyber security engineer. You will learn: –
- What is a cyber security engineer
- Prerequisite cyber security engineer qualifications
- How to become a cyber security engineer
- Why cyber security engineers are in high demand
- Recommended certificated courses
- How to find cyber security engineer jobs
- Salary for cyber security engineers
With the rising costs of cybercrime, it’s likely to be one of the most in-demand jobs for 2023. The talent pool is still too small, so organisations pay highly for cyber security engineer professionals.
The need for online security is crucial. Cyber security engineers and analysts play a fascinating role in helping organisations better protect their data and assets.
The Statistics of Cybercrime
The following statistics on cybercrime came from Purplesec: –
- Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, cybercrime rose by 600%
- The average cost of a small business data breach ranges from $120,000 to $1.24 million
- By 2025, experts estimate that cybercrime will cost $10.5 trillion annually. Currently, it’s an estimated $6 trillion
- Every year over 70 million fall victim to cybercrime
- Enterprise security costs rose by more than 22% in 2021
- Zero trust security policies saved $1.76 million per breach
- Including time to resolve an attack, it can cost a company over $2.5 million to resolve
What is a Cyber Security Engineer?
Cyber security engineers are experts at creating and managing security policies, software, and hardware to protect an organisation’s information, computers, and networks. In addition, they have a specialist working knowledge of computer science and electrical engineering.
What does a Cyber Security Engineer Do?
Cyber security engineer responsibilities include some or all of the following: –
- Evaluate and identify a company’s security systems, data and network vulnerabilities
- Suggest and implement best standards and practices
- Design, implement and secure network solutions
- Protect against cyberattacks or other malicious threats
- Continuous monitoring, scanning, testing, and updating or upgrading system defences, including penetration testing
- Be active in the change management process
- Respond to and troubleshoot system or network security breaches
- Assist with security breach investigations
- Administration: routine tasks such as organisational communication and departmental reporting
Occasionally, you may see cyber security engineer job descriptions advertised as data security engineer, web security engineer, IT security engineer or cyber security software engineer. In addition, for smaller organisations, the cyber security role may differ to include other aspects of IT.
Is a Cyber Security Engineer the Same as a Cyber Security Analyst?
Above all cyber security analysts are slightly different from engineers, as they are more involved in stress testing systems under load to identify weaknesses. Likewise, it is possible to train in both areas, which, as a result, significantly increases your value to an organisation.
Cyber Security Engineer Qualifications
Naturally, organisations want the most qualified cyber security engineers, so if you’re considering cybersecurity as a career, here are the qualifications you need to become an in-demand, expert cyber security engineer.
- A degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, Systems Engineering or similar.
- If you do not have a degree, due to demand, organisations often accept CISCO certifications and other advanced qualifications
- Ideally, 2-years of experience in relevant duties such as forensics, incident detection and response
- Working experience in endpoint security: Understanding the function of a firewall and how it operates
- Good proficiency in tools and programming languages, such as Java, C++, Python, Power Shell etc
Cyber security engineers are excellent problem solvers with an eye for detail. They can work under pressure and cope with the stress of working in a fast-paced environment. An employer will expect you to stay updated with evolving hacker tactics and cyber security trends.
What is a Cybersecurity Engineer Salary?
The average salary for a cyber security engineer in the UK is around £50,000. Entry-level positions range from £25,000 to £35,000. Moreover, if you add cyber security architect skills to your portfolio, salaries range from around £75,000+.
You can earn significantly more working as a contract cyber security engineer. Most freelancers charge a daily rate for their services, and as those with expertise bring essential value to an organisation, it can be highly lucrative.
Is there a High Demand for Cyber Security Engineers?
As Cybercrime increases, so will the demand for skilled cyber security experts. In 2021, there were over 3 million cybersecurity vacancies globally. However, considering that organisations seek the most proficient cybersecurity professionals, there is a notable skill gap. Above all, that’s the primary reason to start training now and build your skills.
Across the globe, organisations, including governments, are building Web3 solutions. We’re seeing more applicants for Web3 jobs and as the digital arena expands, cybercriminals will develop more sophisticated methods of attack. Cyber security experts must be ahead of the trend and stay active in evolving technologies and how to deal with ever-increasing attacks.
How Big is the Cyber Security Talent Shortfall?
There is a shortfall of almost 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals, and it’s getting worse.
Data from a study by (ISC)² suggests that demand exceeds supply despite an increase of over 4.5 million (460,000 in 2021) cybersecurity professionals.
Clar Rosso, CEO of (ISC)² the world’s leading cybersecurity professional non-profit organisation, said, “As a result of geopolitical tensions and macroeconomic instability, alongside high-profile data breaches and growing physical security challenges, there is a greater focus on cyber security and increasing demand for professionals within the field.”
In the UK alone, (ISC)² assesses a shortfall of almost 57,000 cyber security professionals, up over 70% (year on year).
Rosso also said, “The study shows us that retaining and attracting strong talent is more important than ever. Professionals are saying loud and clear that corporate culture, experience, training and education investment and mentorship are paramount to keeping your team motivated, engaged, and effective.”
This shortfall of cyber security experts puts many organisations at risk, especially smaller companies, without the budget to hire the best candidates. Moreover, finding professional security staff has become more challenging in a limited pool of skilled applicants. Subsequently, talented cyber security experts can demand a high salary, which is difficult for small business owners.
The concerns of not having a security professional on site
- Increased risk of security incidents
- Insufficient time for in-depth cyber risk assessment
- Time lag to patch critical systems (increased vulnerability)
- Lack of resources
- Not enough time to train internal staff
Cyber security engineers, analysts and other security experts express considerable job satisfaction. 75% of respondents in the (ISC)² study said they felt passionate about their work or satisfied. Any negative responses were more connected to general dissatisfaction with an organisation, team, or a toxic workplace environment.
Can Cyber Security Engineers Work Remotely?
The covid-19 pandemic changed the face of work for security professionals, with at least 55% of people now working from home, which is over a 50% increase pre-covid. This situation is unlikely to change. The report suggests that security professionals would consider leaving their job if not allowed to work remotely.
Respondents cited that working from home helps avoid the risks of burnout, and they are more productive.
Am I too Old to Train as a Cyber Security Professional?
According to the (ISC)² study, the average age of a cyber professional is under thirty. However, this fact need not be a hindrance.
In 2020, Adam, a 64-year-old contract IT Analyst, observed the increase in cyber-attacks and commenced training as a cybersecurity professional.
Adam worked as an employee in cybersecurity for a high-profile organisation for a year. After that, he began receiving offers from other organisations for contract work. Since then, Adam has received at least two requests every week for contract or employed work. His average day rate is between £600 – £1000.
The motto of the story is not to allow age to become a barrier to following this lucrative and rewarding career. If you are good at your job, your services will be in high demand.
How About Jobs for Women in Cyber Security?
The gender gap in Web3 is gradually changing. Subsequently, more women are studying degrees in Computer Science and IT, recognising the potential rewards in an evolving industry. The (ISC)² study revealed that 30% of cyber professionals are women under the age of thirty, and 14% are over sixty.
You might like to read Jobs for women in Web3.
In addition, inclusivity and diversity also factored in the survey concerning women’s and others’ jobs in cybersecurity. 49% of cyber professionals (under 30) are from Asian, black or minority ethnic backgrounds. 19% are over 60 years old.
Female respondents said they had experienced discrimination in the workplace regarding disability, neurodiversity or gender or sexual identity.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Cyber Security Engineer?
With qualifications and experience, you can transition into cyber security relatively quickly if you are already working in IT. However, if you start from a blank canvas, anticipate two years or more to qualify and gain an entry-level job as a cyber security engineer. However, this timescale is a generalisation and with the ever-increasing demand, once qualified, you have the skills to start applying for cybersecurity engineer jobs.
Top 5 Cybersecurity Books for Beginners
Even if you pursue qualifications in cyber security, you might find it helpful to acquire a few highly rated books on the subject. Below are 5 of the best books for beginners; all are available on Amazon.
- Cybersecurity for Dummies: Joseph Steinberg
- Hacking: A Beginner’s Guide: John Slavio
- Coding for Absolute Beginners and Cybersecurity: Alan Grid
- Practical Malware Analysis: Michael Sikorski and Andrew Honig
- AWS Penetration Testing: Jonathan Helmus
What Qualifications are Available to Train as a Cyber Security Engineer?
Certification is essential if you want to pursue a career in cyber security. After that, gain verifiable real-use work experience, and the world is your oyster.
(ISC)² is an industry-leading portal for cyber security training with an indisputable reputation. Moreover, the courses range from beginner to advanced so you can progress your career systematically.
The following is a list of cybersecurity courses available with (ISC)²: –
- Start Your Career with Certified in Cybersecurity: This course teaches you the skills necessary for a junior or entry-level position. It also covers best practices, policies, and procedures
- Cybersecurity Leadership & Operations: For those who understand cybersecurity strategy and implementation. The certification proves you have the skills to design, develop and manage an organisation’s overall security
- Advanced Specialities: Provides additional training after the CISSP, covering cybersecurity architecture, engineering, and management
- Security Administration and Operations: Gives you the technical skills to implement, monitor and administer IT/ICT infrastructure
- Cloud Security Expert: Advanced technical skills for designing, managing, and securing cloud data, applications, and infrastructure
- Risk Management Framework: Advanced technical skills for protecting, authorising, and maintaining information systems
- Secure Software Development: Leading applications skills for incorporating security practices such as authentication, auditing, and authorisation in the software development cycle
- Securing Patient Data and Critical Systems: (Medical specific) Develop the skills for successful implementation, management and assessment of patient and healthcare privacy and security information
Simplilearn is another course provider with a good reputation and a wide range of courses, including cybersecurity.
The Simplilearn website lists the following certification training: –
- COBIT 5 Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies
- CompTIA Security+ 501
- CND: Certified Network Defender course
- CHFI: Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator Certification
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor
- CEH (V12) – Certified Ethical Hacker
- CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
- CCSP: Certified Cloud Security Professional
Course details estimate time to complete, costs and availability, including self-paced learning or fast tracking via a boot camp. In addition, 9 out of 10 people completing Simplilearn courses said they achieved their learning objectives.
Conclusion: How to Become a Cyber Security Engineer in 2023
There’s no question that a career in cyber security is a fantastic decision. Subsequently, a busy, rewarding, and lucrative future is guaranteed if you learn how to become a cyber security engineer over the next year.
If you need help getting started after qualifying, contact the CB Recruitment team, who can help you create your new career as a cyber security engineer.
“Looking for a job by yourself can become frustrating. Having someone like Jay who accompanies you during the process, presents you with the offers that best fit your profile and doesn’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed the first time, makes your life easier. He knows the crypto industry well, has good contacts and persists until success: I am very grateful to him.”
Adrià Garcia Font
Communications Manager at t3rn