Cybersecurity Engineering: Job Description, Education, Work Opportunities
With the emergence of computer technologies and the cyber world, more and more people are now relying on computers and the internet for various purposes. Millions of people around the world use computers and connect to the internet in order to do basic things like communicating, socializing, learning, shopping, and more. With the increasing population of computer and internet-users all over the world, it can also be understood that certain issues also come with these great developments.
One of the common issues brought about by the fast-growing computer and internet world is security. Millions of people connect to the cyber world from common individuals and groups of people to a whole company or even an institution. Almost all companies and institutions nowadays are equipped with computer technologies to improve work efficiency. These people and institutions share a lot of data and information through networks online and some of this information is very important and confidential.
The protection of these important and confidential data is the main concern of most users nowadays. Although there are a lot of professionals and experts today on computers like computer science experts, information technology professionals, and computer engineers, with the growing concern in cyber attacks and crimes, specialists that are focusing on cybersecurity are definitely becoming important.
What Is Cybersecurity Engineering?
Cybersecurity engineering is a focused and sub-discipline of other major engineering disciplines like computer engineering, electronics engineering, and information security engineering. The main focus of cybersecurity engineering is to develop and create various types of cybersecurity solutions, measures, and products that will help secure and protect digital information and data, and the whole computer and network system from cyber threats.
Cybersecurity engineering is just a small part of computer and electronics engineering before but with the growing problems in cybercrimes around the world, institutions and governments realized the importance of this specific component requiring the need for a more focused study and training for future cybersecurity engineers.
What Cybersecurity Engineers Do?
Cybersecurity or information security engineers usually study the latest threats in cybersecurity and develop measures to protect information and systems from these threats. A lot of cyber threats develop and evolve every now and then that is why information security engineers need to be always updated with some new threats in order to create products and solutions that will counteract and will prevent these threats from attacking a specific system.
Aside from developing preventive measures from cyber attacks, cybersecurity engineers also develop and build recovery solutions in case security breach takes place. They are the ones that handle cyber security breaches in major companies like government institutions and banks. Some cybersecurity engineers also develop cyber threats to understand the nature of these threats and to test the quality and security level of their own security measures.
Where Do Cybersecurity Engineers Work?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, most cybersecurity engineers work in government institutions and private companies. They usually work in a team together with other computer specialists and engineers like computer engineers, information security analysts, computer network analysts, and web developers. They work in an office setting but they usually need to be on-call most of the time so they can easily respond and work when security breach arises.
Some cybersecurity engineers are also self-employed professionals working for consultations and providing cybersecurity services for small companies and businesses.
Education Requirements, Training and License
To become a cybersecurity engineer, a person must first earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or other computer-related field. Cybersecurity engineering is a specialization related to computers so most schools or universities offering this program require applicants to have a minimum degree in computer-related courses.
If you want to focus on business-related cybersecurity measures, some schools also offer MBA or Master of Business Administration with focus on information systems so students can develop business skills while also learning the basics of information security, which are very crucial for businesses relying heavily on computer and cyber systems.
Most of the cybersecurity engineering degree programs require 2 years of study depending on the type of curriculum offered. This is the most preferred education if you want to become a licensed information security engineer specializing on cybersecurity.
However, a lot of IT companies and organizations also offer non-degree programs or certifications in cybersecurity suitable for computer engineers and information security analysts who want to improve their knowledge and skills on cybersecurity.
Skills And Requirements Based On Employers
According to various job postings for cybersecurity engineers, most employers look for cybersecurity engineers with sufficient experience in various technical areas, such as configuration and testing. Employers like big industries usually look for cybersecurity engineers with certifications in system security designs and information technology security plans.
Aside from the specific skills and knowledge, cybersecurity engineers must have analytical and organizational skills, and must be able to work efficiently and communicate well with others in a team. This is because most cyber security engineers work in a team of computer and information security professionals especially when working for large industries and institutions.
Work Opportunities And Salary Scale
Based on the US BLS 2011 report, the median salary of information security specialists including cyber security engineers and information security analysts is about $78,000 every year. The Bureau also projected an employment growth of about 22% for the next 10 years from year 2010 to 2020. The expected employment growth for this profession is faster than average compared to other computer-related professions probably due to the increasing demand for security engineers especially in private institutions, government agencies, business sectors, and even in the healthcare industry.
With more cyber threats and attacks becoming more complicated and sophisticated, the need for highly skilled and well-trained cyber security engineers are also increasing. With the expected high employment growth for the next years and the good salary scale, pursuing a career in cyber security is definitely a good option for aspiring professionals.
Aside from the good pay and the demand, cyber security engineers can usually qualify for entry-level jobs right away after earning their degrees and certifications in cyber engineering. Self-employment opportunities are also great with this profession with so many users from teens, students, households to office workers, and small businesses with computers and may need cyber security help and service from time to time.