Security Engineer

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What Is a Security Engineer? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

A security engineer is a cybersecurity expert who takes proactive measures to monitor and protect a company’s systems. They employ cybersecurity tools like firewalls and data encryption techniques, as well as develop sound security practices to prevent and combat attacks. Here’s what to know about a security engineer’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.


What Is a Security Engineer?

A security engineer combines cybersecurity and programming expertise to actively protect a company’s data and networks against cyberattacks.


What Do Security Engineers Do?

Security engineers establish security best practices for employees, scan and test networks to detect weak spots, oversee transitions to new technologies and implement security tools like firewalls. When cyberattacks do occur, security engineers are the frontline defenders who work with teams to coordinate a swift and comprehensive solution. 

Security Engineer Responsibilities

  • Establish and disseminate security best practices for employees.
  • Implement security features and tools.
  • Scan and test networks.
  • Monitor security hardware and software.
  • Respond to security incidents.
  • Manage teams to deploy solutions when security is compromised.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Security Engineers

  • Research cybersecurity trends and new forms of attack.
  • Educate staff about security protocols.
  • Identify vulnerabilities and recommend security improvements.
  • Put together security documentation.
  • Develop and implement security automations.
  • Collaborate with various teams and meet with leadership regarding security.

Security Engineers Within a Company

Security engineers provide cybersecurity training and documentation for employees across an organization, as well as managers and coordinate incident response. A security engineer also makes recommendations to leaders about how best to close gaps and fortify security. They often belong to a larger engineering, security or technology team, and they may report to a more senior security engineer, a director of security or the VP of engineering.

Importance of Security Engineers

Security engineers make proactive efforts to develop solid security infrastructure, fortify weaknesses and educate employees about their role in maintaining security. They also respond quickly and strategically to potential attacks. That way, a company’s data and systems are kept safe.


What Skills Are Needed to Be a Security Engineer?

Qualifications to Be a Security Engineer

  • Extensive programming knowledge and experience.
  • Cybersecurity expertise, including understanding of different types of security measures and cyberattack methods.
  • Familiarity with coding languages such as Java, Python and C++.
  • Experience planning security infrastructure and protocols.
  • Understanding of how to test for and identify security gaps and weaknesses.
  • Ability to use relevant tools and software.

Security Engineer Prerequisites

  • A bachelor’s degree in a field like computer science or information technology.
  • Bootcamps and courses to sharpen coding skills.
  • Certifications specific to security engineering.

Security Engineer Hard Skills

  • Coding and programming knowledge.
  • Understanding of hardware and software.
  • Conducting technical research.
  • Monitoring security metrics.
  • Testing networks and identifying security vulnerabilities.
  • Expertise in types of cyberattacks and how to respond to them.
  • Understanding of how to choose and implement security measures.

Security Engineer Soft Skills

  • Problem solving mindset.
  • Management and collaboration.
  • Communicating technical concepts.
  • Meticulous organization and time management.

Tools and Programs Security Engineers Use

  • Tools like Burp Suite and Nikto to scan for vulnerabilities.
  • Penetration testing tools like Wireshark and Metasploit.
  • Encryption tools such as NordLocker and Tor.
  • Software like Argus for monitoring network security.
  • An intrusion detection system such as Snort.
  • Firewall tools such as AlgoSec, FireMon and Tuffin.
  • Antivirus software including Norton 360 and McAfee Total Protection.
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How to Become a Security Engineer

Security Engineer Education and Experience

Security engineers will need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as computer science or engineering. To fine tune their expertise and skills, coding bootcamps and security certifications can be helpful. Professionals will then need at least one to two years of relevant experience in a job like IT support before they can pursue a security engineer position.

Security Engineer Certificates and Courses

Security Engineer Career Path

Newcomers can grow into a security engineering role by first gaining experience in an entry-level job such as IT support specialist or systems administrator. Professionals who thrive as security engineers can go on to become security architects, IT security security managers or director of security.


Security Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

In recent years, there has been high demand for cybersecurity professionals, according to Forbes Advisor, with more than 78,000 openings for “cybersecurity engineer.”

The full compensation package for a security engineer depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average security engineer salary.


Expand Your Security Engineer Career Opportunities

Enhance your background with development and engineering skills through Udemy’s online courses.

Flatiron School

Do you want to break into tech and begin a new career? Are you ready to protect and serve in an entirely new way? No matter where you are in your career, this course will take you from foundational skills to…

Flatiron School

Do you want to break into tech and begin a new career? Are you ready to protect and serve in an entirely new way? No matter where you are in your career, this course will take you from foundational skills to…


Identity and Access Management is a fundamental and critical cybersecurity capability, to ensure the right people and things have the right access to the right resources at the right time.

In this course, you will learn about…


Note: The contents of this course are not covered in any of my other courses except for some basics. Although website hacking is covered in one of my other courses, that course only covers the basics where this course dives…


Security Engineer Certifications + Programs

Set yourself apart from the rest of the applicant pool with Udacity’s online development and engineering certifications.

This program addresses security topics related to corporate environments, which are often distinct from production environments and center around the devices, identities, and infrastructure used by the company’s personnel on a daily basis.

4 months
10 hours

You’ll master the skills necessary to become a successful Ethical Hacker. Learn how to find and exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses in various systems, design and execute a penetration testing plan, and report on test findings using valid evidence.

4 months
10 hours

You’ll master the foundational skills necessary to become a successful Security Engineer. This program will focus on how to protect a company’s computer systems, networks, applications and infrastructure from security threats or attacks.

4 months
10 hours

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