“True Cyber Security is Preparing for What’s Next, Not what was Last” - Neil Rerup
In a situation, when you feel that your rights as an individual or a citizen is being violated; whom do you seek help from for resolution of the problem? It is often the law enforcement department. The role of Cyber Security Engineers is much like these police officers. By way of monitoring and implementing network and computer security protocols; Cyber Security Engineers, not only help in safeguarding sensitive information within the Cyberspace, but also protects your rights in terms of securing your virtual identity. Thus, from smallest of business enterprises to the largest of IT giants; organizations rely upon Cyber Security professionals for ensuring the safety of their users’ data. So how to become a Cyber Security Engineer? Let us try to answer this question.
In this blog, we shall take up the question of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer for beginners? Besides looking at the position of a Cyber Security Engineer in terms of his roles and responsibilities as well as skills required; we shall try to provide a rough picture of the path which you can adopt if you wish to develop expertise as a Cyber Security Engineer. Additionally, you shall learn how to major in to become a Cyber Security Engineer.
The job of a Cyber Security Engineer is just one among the multiple other job designations available within the field of Cyber Security. If you wish to read more about some of the other prominent Cyber Security jobs, do read our blog on “Top 8 Cyber Security Jobs”
Who is a Cyber Security Engineer?
A Cyber Security Engineer is responsible for different Security Engineer responsibilities, like designing, building and executing secure network solutions in order to provide protection against hacking attempts and advanced Cyber Attacks. They safeguard the data and network of an organization. A Cyber Security Engineer essentially adopts a proactive role where they utilize their skills and expertise in anticipating computer or network vulnerabilities and accordingly developing ways for dealing with the same.
Since these professionals are liable for detecting weaknesses in the system, they perform penetration testing too in order to rectify the flaws. Additionally, they are also responsible for creating firewalls, executing encryption program as well as finding and updating software.
Cyber Security Engineer: Skills Required
As you do happen to consider the question of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer, it is imperative for you to strategically acquire and develop expertise in consonance with that of a Cyber Security Engineer. Let us look at some of these skills.
- Knowledge of Cyber Programming Languages like Java, Ruby, C/C++, Go and Python.
- Knowledge of management and architecture of Operating Systems. This is important because operating systems may have their own flaws and vulnerabilities. It will be important for you as a Cyber Security Engineer to be familiar with an Operating System in order to be able to detect any problem.
- As someone seeking to be a Cyber Security Engineer, it will be important for you develop deep-rooted understanding of Networking. This will include knowledge of Subnetting, Encryption Technologies, DNS, Routing Protocols, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Voice over IP (VoIP) and other such Network Security Technologies.
- Another crucial technical skill of a Cyber Security Engineer is that he is required to have an extensive understanding of Database Platforms. This will include knowledge of Data Structures, Data Management, Data Dissemination, and so on.
- A Cyber Security Engineer is someone who is required to keep himself continually abreast with all latest development in the field of Firewall Architecture, Content Filtering as well as Virus Software and Virus Detection.
- Understanding of Computer Code as well as Knowledge of Risk Assessment Technologies.
- Knowledge of Security Breach Protocols and Computer Forensics.
- Proficiency in performing Risk Assessments.
In addition to these hard/technical skills, there are some soft/non-technical skills which are an important part of all literature dealing with the question of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer for beginners.
- A Cyber Security Engineer is often required to convey complicated data and security related issues to colleagues, decision makers as well as high level management. The latter may not have a technical understanding of these problems. Thus, Cyber Security Engineers are required to have excellent communication skills which will enable them to present their view points in the most comprehensible form.
- Cyber Security Engineers are required to be fast learners, creative thinkers as well as have an aptitude for problem solving.
Thus, as you seek to understand how to major in to become a Cyber Security Engineer; you will definitely look for paths which will enable you to cultivate the above mentioned skills and competencies.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Cyber Security Engineer
Any answer to the question of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer, will be futile without taking into consideration the roles and responsibilities that Cyber Security Engineers are expected to undertake in their professional capacity. Let us look at some of these professional duties.
- A Cyber Security Engineer is responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of security measures and protocols. In some cases, they may have to develop security best practices for the rest of the organization.
- They need to plan, manage, execute, supervise and upgrade the organisational security infrastructure, in order to safeguard the data and resources of the company.
- They detect system vulnerabilities and troubleshoot security and network issues.
- They act as channels of communication between different departments in the course of conduct of their security duties. They are also responsible for informing the decision makers on the best ways for implementing appropriate security protocols.
- While Penetration Testing is a specialized responsibility of an Ethical Hacker or a Pen Tester; Cyber Security Engineers also do indulge in the same in order to identify network and system weaknesses.
If you are someone who is interested in the field of Ethical Hacking as well, do read our blog on “Learn Ethical Hacking from Scratch: Know How”
- Cyber Security Engineers perform an important role of regularly monitoring and observing systems and software for any kind of intrusion.
- It is expected that a Cyber Security Engineer should be proficient in digital forensics methods, which will help him to trace intruders and narrow down upon the source of attacks.
- Cyber Security Engineers also do have to undertake miscellaneous administrative duties, along with maintaining continuous liaison with the appropriate departments of the organization.
How to major in to become a Cyber Security Engineer: Requisite Qualifications
When you think about how to become a Cyber Security Engineer in terms of what kind of qualifications should you possess; you should remember that it is beneficial to have a relevant academic background. This can be considered as the first step in your journey towards being a Cyber Security Engineer. You can choose to major in and earn your graduation degree in a relevant discipline like Computer Science/Information Technology/Systems Engineering and alike. This will help you in acquiring a decent understanding of some of the fundamental concepts within the field of Cyber Security, such as Cryptography, Computer Networks and so on.
One of the most common answer to the question of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer for beginners, deals with acquiring relevant certifications. These certifications can have multiple advantages for the aspiring candidates.
- Certifications act as testimonies and validations of your skills and competencies as a prospective Cyber Security Engineer
- Some organizations put forth the requirement of specific certifications as eligibility criteria while recruiting candidates for different Cyber Security positions.
Some of the most popular certifications are:
- Certified Informations System Security Professional (CISSP)
This is considered to be one of the most popular Cyber Security certifications, offered by ISC2.
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Offered by EC Council, this certification is considered to be indispensable for the purpose of ethical hacking and penetration testing. It helps you to acquire expertise in commercial hacking tools, techniques and methodologies.
- CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)
Offered by CompTIA, acquiring this certification requires you to possess an in-depth understanding of some of the fundamental concepts within the field of Cyber Security. This includes, Enterprise Security Integration, Risk Management, Enterprise Security Architecture and Operations, and so on.
This is another well-known Cyber Security certification, which is universally recognized. It stands as a testimony to your knowledge about Cyber attacks, vulnerability and threats; network design and architecture; issues of risk, governance and compliance; as well as about operation and incident response.
- Additionally, there are certain other well-known Cyber Security certifications too. Such as:
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) Certification
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Certification
- Certified Network Defenser (CND) course Certification
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator Certification (CHFI)
How to become a Cyber Security Engineer for beginners: Steps Involved
When you do think of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer, one common question which might occupy your mind is that how long does it take to become a Cyber Security Engineer. It is important to remember that the journey towards becoming a Cyber Security Engineer is not a cake walk and the timeline to become one would largely depend upon your academic qualification, professional experience and certifications. If you do have the requisite experience, you might make your way into entry-level Cyber Security Engineer positions within two to four years. Having said that, let us look at some of the tentative steps which might be involved in your Cyber Security Engineer career pathway.
- Extensive Research
The answer to the question of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer for beginners, is not as simple as it seems. As a novice, it will be important for you to indulge in some substantial amount of self research. This is important for acquiring an idea of existing job openings and opportunities within the field. Additionally, you will also get a sense of the kind of education, training and certifications, which might be required to make your way to the position of a Cyber Security Engineer.
- Academic Qualification
Once you have done your part of research in understanding the pre-requisites of this career position; it will be important for you to begin your educational journey in line with your ultimate professional goal. There is no doubt that a Cyber Security Engineer position is a highly technical one, and as such would require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, either in Cyber Security or in such other related field like Computer Science, Mathematics or Information Management. If you wish to climb higher up in the ladder and aiming for a more management oriented senior position, you might even require a Ph.D. or at least a master’s in security engineering, along with substantial work experience.
- Relevant Certifications
As already stated, the response to the question of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer, can in many cases, be incomplete without taking into account the kind of certifications which one can acquire within the field of Cyber Security. This is all the more important as some of the business organizations view them as compulsory requirements in the recruitment process. You can certainly aim for professional certification in the like of those mentioned in the sections above. This will certainly give a significant boost to your claim as a potential Cyber Security Engineer.
- Networking and Acquiring Hands-On Experience
No matter, the quantum of skills, certifications or degrees at your disposal; sometimes work experience becomes indispensable for initiating your professional career. It will be important for you to develop and maintain an extensive professional network all throughout. You can choose to go for various training programs or different internships which will provide you with an opportunity to work on live projects in real-time environment. Additionally, you can opt for some entry level Cyber Security jobs for professional exposure. They only do help you in understanding the basic functioning of the domain; however, they do add up to your professional experience, when you eventually try for Cyber Security Engineer jobs.
How to become a Cyber Security Engineer: Possible Learning Paths
There is no denying the fact that there is definitely no shortcut to become a Cyber Security Engineer. The path may be long and arduous too. Even then, there are definitely certain important pointers which you should keep in mind while thinking how to become a Cyber Security Engineer. This includes an understanding of possible learning paths that you can choose from, for acquiring or sharpening your skills within the Cyber Security domain.
- The College Way (Duration: 4 years)
This is the conventional and traditional route that you can opt for. This will involve getting admitted into an institutionalized college course where you study Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or some other related discipline. This route is comprehensive, but is definitely expensive and entails the rigor of systematic regular physical classes. It is quite suitable for young engineers and its greatest advantage is that many employers happen to put forth a college degree requirement in the recruitment process.
- The Bootcamp Way (Duration Varies)
This is a newer and more contemporary route you can opt for. It is far more suited in case of individual who are looking for an uplift in their career, upskilling themselves or even a change in their career. Advanced courses in bootcamps might require you to possess at least some basic knowledge of programming languages, networking, coding and so on. On the other hand, you can also opt for enrolling yourself in a basic or introductory course on Cyber Security, in a bootcamp. The greatest advantage of this path is that it takes less time for you to get certified; it is more cost effective than a college path; and it is definitely more flexible, characterised by online sessions wherein you can acquire knowledge from the comfort of your home.
- The Self-Learning Way (Duration Varies)
The advent of the Internet has definitely solidified the idea that knowledge is at your fingertips. There is no dearth of educational resources available online. Moreover, a number of online learning platforms have also surfaced which help students to indulge in self-learning. The biggest advantage of this route is that it is the most cost-effective and economical learning path. Additionally, you are not constrained by deadlines as it is self-paced. However, if you really do want to benefit from this choice, you need to be extremely self-disciplined.
It is evident that there is no one single answer to the question of how to become a Cyber Security Engineer. The response would depend upon whether you are looking at what skills to acquire; which learning path to choose from; or how to major in to become a Cyber Security Engineer. In this blog, we have attempted to cover all the issues and concerns which might occupy you as you think of initiating your career in this field. Hence, if you are really serious about this professional career and happen to lack a technical background, you can definitely opt for a basic Cyber Security Course to begin with.
If you wish to read more on getting into the Cyber Security domain, do read our blog on “How to Get into Cyber Security?: Find Your Answers”
We, at Syntax Technologies, provide you with the amazing opportunity of developing expertise in consonance with a Cyber Security expert, with all the benefits which accompany an online bootcamp. Read more about our Cyber Security course.