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Should You Become a Cyber Security Engineer?

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By: ginasilvertree

August 2, 2018

These days, many people are asking themselves whether they should become cyber security engineers. As cyber jobs increase exponentially and thousands of cyber positions remain open, it’s a good time to ask this question. In this post, we’ll explore the training that’s necessary for, the work that’s done by, and the responsibilities of a Cyber Security Engineer.What do Cyber Security Engineers do?It’s no surprise that faulty software often leaves networks vulnerable to malware, spyware, adware, phishing and more. A security engineer analyzes computer networks, ensures they’re running securely, and tries to foresee possible security issues that may arise in the future. In short, security engineering focuses on designing computer systems equipped to deal with disruptions like natural disasters and/or malicious cyber attacks.What’s Required of a Cyber Security Engineer?Hiring managers and recruiters typically seek cyber security engineer candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or other related fields of study, and at least three years of experience in identifying threats and developing effective protection countermeasures.Additionally, most employers will expect their engineers to embody:
  • An understanding of cyber security methodologies
  • The ability to evaluate system changes for security implications and the know-how to make recommendations for improvements
  • Knowledge of current cyber security trends, as well as the interest in continued research of emerging trends and hacking techniques
  • Proficiency in Java, Python Net, C++, bash, and Powershell
  • Networking experience with the TCP/IP stack (this may not be a requirement, but is often preferred)
  • A solid understanding of the OSI model, renowned ports, and services (this may not be a requirement, but is often preferred)
  • The ability to work well with others, including collaboration and communication with other departments
  • The ability to thrive in fast-paced environments and work under pressure
  • Strong attention to detail and problem-solving skills
Note: There may be other requirements, depending upon the specific organization and the complexity of its networks and systems.

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What’s a Typical Cyber Security Engineer Job Description?As a cyber security engineer, you’ll be responsible for protecting the networks and systems of an organization against threats from the countless (and growing) adversaries in cyberspace. Cyber security engineers perform assessments and penetration testing; provide development and implementation of secure network solutions by architecting and engineering trusted systems into secure systems, and manage audit/intrusion and security technology systems.Cyber security engineers must be able to troubleshoot, identify unauthorized access, and offer solutions regarding an organization’s systems and networks related to cyber security. In this position, you’ll perform very detailed work at the forefront of information protection efforts for the organization. It is your training, skills, experience, and education that stand between the organization for which you work and threats and breaches, like unauthorized access to data and information or intrusion into your organization’s systems.Cyber security engineers may also be known as IT security engineers, application security engineers, web security engineers, or data security engineers. Whatever the title, you will also be responsible for collaborating with other departments to establish security protocols and protect IT systems (in any cyber position, it’s important to play well with others).What Are Some Cyber Security Engineer Roles and Responsibilities?Cyber security engineers’ primary mission is to protect the computer systems and networks of an organization from threats and attacks (if you can picture yourself wearing a cape, that’s probably a good thing). To consistently achieve this mission, there are many tasks and duties cyber security engineers must perform. Here are their most common functions:

  • Developing security practices and standards
  • Creating new, more efficient, ways to resolve current security issues
  • Making recommendations to management regarding security enhancements and improvements
  • Performing penetration testing
  • Monitoring systems and networks for intrusions or security breaches
  • Conducting network scans to identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities
  • Installing software, including data encryption programs and firewalls
  • Installing or processing of security products and procedures
  • Installing appropriate software to improve notifications of intrusions
  • Developing automation scripts to manage and track incidents
  • Monitoring systems to identify irregular behavior
  • Leading incident response efforts
  • Leading investigations into breaches
  • Supervising and providing feedback for changes in hardware, software, and user needs
  • Reporting findings and feedback to management
  • Planning and implementing information security strategies for an organization
  • Training or educating network users on information security
  • Recommending improvements in technical, legal, and regulatory areas as they pertain to information security

Learn how to become a cyber security engineer >>  
A Day in the Life of a Cyber Security EngineerA day in the life of a Cyber Security Engineer likely starts with a large pot of coffee. After that, as with other information security jobs, work as a cyber security engineer is hardly routine. While there are some aspects of the job that are handled or performed daily, you’ll never really know what your day will entail until it happens. Cyber security engineers typically work in fast-paced, complex environments and are frequently required to work odd hours and even overtime (in some cases). It’s important to note that this can be stressful for people who don’t thrive in these kinds of environments.A threat or attack will always take precedence over daily activities, but when your organization is not under attack, you’ll probably be:

  • Ensuring that appropriate security controls are consistently in place to protect the organization's digital files and infrastructure
  • Planning, implementing, managing, monitoring, and upgrading security measures for the protection of systems, networks, and data
  • Undertaking various administrative tasks, reporting, and communication with other departments
  • Performing penetration testing to identify system and network vulnerabilities
Note: Day-to-day tasks and activities can vary for cyber security engineers, depending on where they work and the types of systems and networks they’re responsible for protecting.So, there you have it: a quick snapshot of the world of a cyber security engineer. It’s a vast an interesting place that just might be the right spot for you.Sources and Resources:
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