You know you want a career in cybersecurity, but how do you become one of the high-paid security engineers?

Turns out, there are different types of security engineers, such as network, system, and applications specialists.

So, the question is, does it matter what branch of security the high-paid security engineer is in or are all security engineers paid the same?

All security engineers are paid well, but some branches of cybersecurity have a higher pay scale than others.

In fact, reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that some positions may pay over $200,000 per year.

How much you can earn depends on the following:

  • Branch of cybersecurity
  • Industry
  • Experience
  • Responsibilities

Let’s take a closer look at what being a security engineer is all about.

What is a Cybersecurity Engineer?

A cybersecurity engineer is a professional that specializes in Information Security (IT). These IT engineers perform various roles from an initial system build to executing security solutions to protect networks against imminent threats and cybercriminal activity.

Job titles within cybersecurity are hard to decipher.  Some companies use “engineer” for all job descriptions.  Others use “engineer” to indicate a specific skill set.

When people think of engineers, they think of someone who designs and builds complex systems or solutions for a particular purpose within functional constraints.

Engineers are focused on providing practical solutions to real-world problems.

Engineers are most commonly found in the following three subfields of cybersecurity:

  • Systems
  • Networks
  • Applications

The high-paid security engineers are usually in one of these three branches because these are the areas most involved in the creation and deployment of cyber defense systems.

With that being said, system creation and deployment does require programming knowledge. In other words, anyone who wants to work in this field must learn and use programming languages to be successful.

What do Cybersecurity Engineers do?

No matter the area of expertise, cybersecurity engineers keep data safe from cyberattacks. They must understand how the various systems and network components interact so they can identify possible vulnerabilities.

A military security engineer at work.

Applications engineers must understand how the various software modules are integrated to minimize software weaknesses. Three of the most common and highly paid cybersecurity engineers are:

  • Systems Engineer- Cybersecurity systems engineers are concerned with how a given enterprise operates. They are not concerned with individual applications but with the underlying operating systems and other tools that help the network operate at capacity.These professionals are responsible for identifying vulnerabilities and developing ways to mitigate a possible breach. As networks grow, they are tasked with making sure that the new components do not present a security risk.
  • Network Engineer – Network engineers are responsible for the computers, firewalls, routers, and other components that make up the physical network. They help design and configure the network to minimize intrusion and to maintain operational efficiencies. Then, they ensure that new devices added to the system are protected against possible breaches.
  • Applications Engineer – Cybersecurity individuals who specialize in applications focus on individual pieces of software. They work to identify possible vulnerabilities in the software and fix them.If applications engineers do not develop software but manage an enterprise-wide use of software applications, they work with providers to fix weaknesses, design workarounds until code is secure and monitoring new applications coming onto a network.

No matter the specialty, cybersecurity engineers are dedicated to defending against cyberattacks and unexpected criminal activity online as well as on all levels of network.

What Skills Does a Cybersecurity Engineer Need?

There is no one-size-fits-all skillset for cybersecurity engineers. Indeed, every engineer should have an understanding of the basic cybersecurity concepts such as:

  • Vulnerability assessments
  • Encryption
  • Threat modeling
  • Network architectures
  • Operating Systems
  • Forensics
  • Web security
  • Lastly, programming

How thorough an understanding of these concepts depends on the area of cybersecurity.

Obviously, a network engineer is going to need an in-depth knowledge of network architectures.

Whereas, an application engineer needs more experience with programming language and database platforms.

Becoming a high-paid security engineer also requires soft skills such as leadership and communications.

What Do High-Paid Security Engineers Earn?

To be a high-paid cybersecurity engineer takes several years of experience.  Companies are not only paying for your skills but also for the experience that can help identify concerns sooner.

The expectation is that engineers have a more comprehensive understanding of the interoperability of an organization’s enterprise.

  • Cybersecurity Systems Engineer – The average annual salary is almost $130,000 with salaries ranging as high as $185,000 per year, depending on location. The higher salaries are generally in areas such as California or Washington, where the cost of living is also high.
  • Application Security Engineer – The average salary is around $135,000, with salaries as high as $200,000. The variation in pay depends on location and on whether the engineer is working with third-party solutions.
  • Network Security Engineer – Security engineers make between $120,000 and $185,000 per year, with typical salaries around $150,000. Network security requires the most experience. Thye learn a lot of needed skills on-the-job.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals in this field can expect a 32% increase in jobs between 2018 and 2028.

What Are the Steps to Become a High-Paid Security Engineer?

The first step to become a highly compensated security engineer is to decide which of the subfields to pursue. Without a clear focus, it is easy to become sidetracked.

No matter which specialty engineers need a working knowledge of math, science, and computer operations.

Since a percentage of a cybersecurity engineer’s duties involves communication, it is wise to take classes in both written and verbal communications. It is a soft skill that high-paid engineers have mastered.

Creating a roadmap of needed and existing skills makes it easier to see where to start. Again, it is easy to become confused when looking at various cybersecurity programs, which makes it hard to decide.

A program such as the one powered by Woz U offers the flexibility to help follow any roadmap, making it simple to make adjustments.

Most high-paid security engineers have certifications. And, because the industry is continually changing, cybersecurity professionals must always ensure that their knowledge is as current as possible.

In some situations, certifications may substitute for experience. Companies typically want engineers with five to ten years of experience.

Not all experience needs to be in the area of specialty as long as it is within the computer industry.

You can get a fresh start and begin a career in the tech industry. The technology industry is a growing field and offer high job security.

Learn more about Powered by Woz U programs and get started today!

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