Cyber Security Sales Engineer, Know It All!

Cyber Security Sales Engineer, Know It All!

Ever thought about using your security knowledge in sales. If so, keep reading to learn what it takes to become a cyber security sales engineer!

Ready to Get Hired? Upload Your Cyber Security Resume Today!

Table of Contents

Click below to know more about becoming a cyber security sales engineer…

What Is a Cyber Security Sales Engineer?

What’s Another Name for Cyber Security Engineer?

What Does a Cyber Security Sales Engineer Do?

Are Sales Engineers in High Demand?

How Can I Be Successful in Cyber Security Sales?

Is Sales Engineer a Stressful Job?

What Is the Salary of a Sales Engineer in Cyber Security?

Do Sales Engineers Need to Code?

What Comes After Cyber Security Sales Engineer?

What Degree Is Best for a Cyber Security Sales Engineer?

How Do You Become a Cyber Security Sales Engineer?

What Is a Cyber Security Sales Engineer?

A cyber security sales engineer is a professional who combines technical expertise with sales acumen to effectively present, demonstrate, and promote cyber security products to clients.

This role allows you to leverage your technical knowledge, communication skills, and relationship-building abilities.

The purpose of your role is to bridge the gap between the technical aspects of cyber security and sales. Though you’re not leading the initial sales discussion, you’re still responsible for leading the technical discussions.

Your job is to support the sales representative (as part of the sales team) to facilitate a business deal. In doing so, you’re able to help clients understand the value and functionality of the solutions being offered.

What’s Another Name for Cyber Security Engineer?

Depending on the organization and specific job responsibilities, a cyber security sales engineer might be called by different names. Here’s a look at several alternative names for a cyber security sales engineer:

  • Solutions Engineer
  • Pre-Sales Engineer
  • Technical Sales Consultant
  • Sales Systems Engineer
  • Sales Support Engineer
  • Security Solutions Architect

Though these titles emphasize different aspects of the role, they generally involve the same set of skills listed previously.

What Does a Cyber Security Sales Engineer Do?

Your responsibilities would be diverse, and you’ll often work closely with your organization’s sales and technical teams. Let’s look at what a typical cyber security sales engineer does:

Pre-sales support

In pre-sales support, you’ll work with the sales team to identify business opportunities by understanding the client’s technical requirements.

You’ll then use your expertise to determine if that client is a fit for the products offered by your company.

Solution design and customization

Many times, a client doesn’t always know what they want. To design a solution that meets their unique security requirements, you’ll be expected to work closely with them.

As part of that interaction, you’ll get to know the client’s current security infrastructure and their security posture.

At this point, you’ll develop a customized solution that fits their environment and provide guidance on its implementation.

Product demonstrations and presentations

One of your key responsibilities is to conduct product demonstrations and presentations for your client. Of course, that’ll require you to have a solid understanding of your company’s products.

Once you’ve been trained, you’ll discuss the benefits of your product with the client’s technical and non-technical team members.

You’ll be responsible for creating new presentations and customizing demonstrations to their needs.

Proof of Concept (POC)

As a Proof-of-Concept (POC) project, you need to help your client evaluate your product’s effectiveness. This involves setting up and configuring the product in their environment.

Part of your job will be to monitor the product’s performance and address issues that arise during the testing phase.

Technical sales documentation

As a security sales engineer, you’re also responsible for creating and maintaining a variety of technical sales documentation.

This includes docs such as product datasheets, whitepapers, case studies, etc. The documentation provides clients with valuable insights into the product’s features, capabilities, and overall benefits.

Training and education

Once your client has made the purchase, you don’t just say goodbye; you need to provide training and educational resources.

You’ve got to ensure they fully understand what their receiving and how they can best use it. This may involve on-site training sessions, developing e-learning materials, or hosting webinars.

However, training and education doesn’t always have to happen after the client has made a purchase. There may be times where you educate potential clients on your products for marketing purposes.

This might involve doing live demonstrations at security conferences and trade shows.

Post-sales support

It’s important to ensure your client’s ongoing success by helping your organization to maintain that relationship with the client. Even after the sale, you’ll stay along for the customer journey by providing continued support.

You may be responsible for troubleshooting your client’s issues and assisting with product updates. This might even involve gathering feedback to help drive product enhancements.

Are Sales Engineers in High Demand?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that cyber security sales engineers are in high demand. After having done some research on this question, here’s what I was able to find:

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the growth for sales engineers between the years 2021 and 2031 is 6%. That equates to about 3,400 additional jobs.

Now, compare that to the position of information security analyst with a growth rate of 35% (or an additional 56,000 jobs) for the same time frame.

A LinkedIn job search of “cyber security sales” or “presales” vs “cyber security analyst” or “engineer” didn’t yield very much either. And searching by people’s job titles was even worse.

Even after checking Indeed, I again wasn’t very impressed. However, that doesn’t mean cyber sales engineering jobs are non-existent; you’ll just need to work harder to find a position.

How Can I Be Successful in Cyber Security Sales?

If you want to be good at cyber security sales, learn to develop your product knowledge and interpersonal abilities.

If you’re lacking in either, you’ll have a much more difficult time closing a deal. Let’s go through each:

Develop a solid foundation in cyber security

You need to familiarize yourself with the security frameworks, standards, and regulations of the industry your organization or clients do business in.

For instance, if your company specializes in medical device products, you should be very knowledgeable about HIPAA regulations or the HITRUST framework.

If you can learn these requirements outside your normal working hours, it’ll provide a tremendous value to your team.

Know the security products you’re selling

Ensure you have an in-depth knowledge of the security solutions you’re selling. It’s crucial you know your product inside-out to effectively demonstrating the value of your offerings.

Learn about your products features, benefits, capabilities, and limitations. You should understand how other clients use your product (use cases) as well as how they compare to competitors.

Develop strong communication and presentation skills

Be able to effectively communicate complex security concepts to everyone. Practice your presentation and demonstration skills, and tailor your communication style to suit the audience.

This means knowing when to use technical or non-technical jargon depending on who you’re speaking to.

Cultivate active listening and empathy

This step is the most important step of all! If you don’t get this part right, it’ll all go downhill. There have been many instances where inexperienced sales members think they know better than their clients.

Practice active listening, ask open-ended questions, and show genuine empathy for their challenges. If you can do this part, you’ve nailed the most critical aspect of building your clients’ trust and credibility.

You’ve got to understanding your clients’ needs and concerns before you start spitting out solutions!

Develop the right security solution

This is why active listening is a vital part of the job. It’s not uncommon for the client to misidentify the problem.

You’ll find yourself poking and prodding at the client’s responses to get at the root cause of the issue. Once you find the core problem and their pain points, start to cultivate a response that addresses their concerns.

And if you can illustrate how your solution addresses their specific concerns, you’re more likely to establish their trust.

ProTip: Don’t develop a solution your clients’ don’t need, they’ll resent you for it later on!

Collaborate with your internal teams

Cyber security sales engineers don’t work alone; no sales engineer is complete without a collaborative, internal team!

Be prepared to work closely with your colleagues in product development and technical support. They’ll be the one to keep you informed of product updates and new features.

You might even coordinate with other departments within your organization: legal, finance, or customer success teams.

Learning to work with all team members ensures a smooth operation and successful delivery of your clients’ projects.

Build and maintain relationships

The core aspect of any sales effort is to establish and nurture relationships with potential and existing clients. Be proactive in reaching out to potential clients, follow up on leads, and maintain regular communication with existing clients.

ProTip: Having a relationship doesn’t mean that you’re always talking business!

Hone your negotiation and closing skills

Cyber security sales often involve complex negotiations and long sales cycles. Learn to develop your negotiation skills and closing techniques; and most importantly, be able to handle objections, a lot.

You’ve got to be patient but persistent and remember that building trust and credibility with clients takes time.

ProTip: Never bring up business unless your client brings it up first!

Set goals and track progress

Establish clear goals and objectives for your sales performance, and regularly monitor your progress. Use customer relationship management (CRM) tools to track leads, sales, and client interactions.

Analyze your performance data to identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Invest in professional development

Just because your role isn’t overly technical in nature doesn’t mean you’re allowed to remain stagnant. At some point, you might be required to pursue certifications or attend training programs and conferences.

Use these as opportunities for investment in your own professional growth to enhance your skills.

Is Sales Engineer a Stressful Job?

Sales engineering can be a stressful job, depending on your personality, work environment, and your company’s culture.

There are several common stressors and challenges associated with becoming a cyber security sales engineer:

High performance expectations

As a sales engineer, you’ll often face high expectations from management to meet or exceed sales targets and quotas.

While those expectations are mostly felt by the sales rep, don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be spared. The pressure to generate revenue can lead to long hours and intense competition.

Travel and irregular hours

You might be required to travel frequently for client meetings, product demonstrations, and industry events. The continuous travel requirements can lead to odd working hours, bodily stress, and a disrupted work-life balance.

Even if you’re not traveling, you still might have to work according to the client’s schedule.

Balancing technical and sales responsibilities

Balance your technical expertise and sales acumen by delivering the right amount of information without going overboard.

Try to stay knowledgeable on new products features while refining your sales strategies, negotiation techniques, and interpersonal abilities.

Complex sales cycles and long lead times

Sales engineers often deal with complex products that require extensive customization and implementation. Be prepared to invest significant time and effort in each sales opportunity, often with no guarantee of success.

Client management and relationship-building

The downside of building relationships with your clients is the need to manage your clients as well. This means having to manage their expectations, address concerns, and handle any objections that arise.

Because this can be emotionally draining, you need to possess strong interpersonal skills. This is even more true with difficult clients or challenging situations.

Problem-solving and troubleshooting

As the technical expert, you’ll be called upon by the client to troubleshoot issues, before and after the sale. If you work for a large company, it’s possible that troubleshooting the client’s technical issues falls upon another department.

If not, resolving these issues can be time-consuming and stressful, especially when they directly impact client satisfaction.

Keeping up with industry trends and competition

Cyber security sales engineers must continuously stay informed of industry trends and technologies. Know what your competitors are bringing to the market and always be on the lookout for disruptive technology.

You’ve got to work with your internal teams to address those changes and bring them to market quickly.

While all of these factors can contribute to your stress, it’s essential to recognize that your experiences will vary.

What Is the Salary of a Sales Engineer in Cyber Security?

I made a comparison between two separate job titles. Since not all companies having a listing for “cyber security sales engineer”, I looked under “technical sales engineer” to find a more broadly accepted term.

As of March 2023, you can expect a minimum average base salary of $86,417 per year, nationally, as a technical sales engineer. I calculated that by averaging the following six median base salary figures:

  • $92,505
  • ZipRecruiter: $81,192
  • Glassdoor: $77,771
  • Payscale: $80,766
  • Comparably: $97,646
  • Zippia: $88,623

However, when specifically looking at cyber security sales engineers, the salary range can be higher due to the specialized nature of the field.

Four of the platforms provided me with the average median base salary for security sales engineer as of March 2023:

  • $91,465
  • Glassdoor: $98,151
  • Payscale: $114,323
  • ZipRecruiter: $115,998

If that’s accurate, that provides you an average median base salary of $104,984. Keep in mind that these are median base salaries that are only applicable to those with a few years of experience.

This figure obviously increases for those working in high-demand industries, large corporations, or major metropolitan areas with a high cost of living.

For entry level cyber security sales engineer, your salary will be significantly less. However, with your base salary, you’ll still receive commissions, bonuses, and other performance-based incentives, which can significantly increase your total compensation.

Of course, any benefits package you receive, including health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks, will vary by company and contribute to the overall compensation package.

Do Sales Engineers Need to Code?

Cyber security sales engineers generally don’t need to be proficient in coding. That’s because your primary responsibility is in the sales and technical support aspects of your products.

However, having a background in, or understanding of, coding or scripting will enhance your overall effectiveness in the role. Here’s why:

Instills client confidence

Your team may be tasked with developing a customized solution to fit your clients’ requirements. But how will you know if their request is feasible unless you understand how your product is coded?

You could say, “we’ll check and get back to you”, but that doesn’t instill confidence in your potential client. So, by having that knowledge, you’ll be in a much better position to confidently respond to your clients.

Collaborating with technical teams

You’re going to be working closely with your technical colleagues: developers, engineers, and architects. Therefore, understanding coding often helps to facilitate communication and collaboration with them, making your job easier.

Troubleshooting and problem-solving

At times, you may end up troubleshooting issues or providing technical support during the pre-sales or post-sales process.

A basic understanding of programming concepts and languages can help you more effectively diagnose and resolve product issues.

Continuing education and professional development

Familiarity with coding will help you to better understand new technologies and tools. This in turn, helps your organization stay ahead of the curve and maintain its relevance in the field.

It’s worth noting that the extent to which coding skills are necessary or useful will vary depending on your specific product, service, or industry focus.

What Comes After Cyber Security Sales Engineer?

After working as a security sales engineer, you have various career paths for growth, depending on your goals. Here are a few to consider:

Senior Sales Engineer or Principal Sales Engineer

With a proven track record, you can advance to more senior or principal roles within your company. Your responsibility then becomes mentoring junior sales engineers, leading larger sales teams, and managing high-profile clients.

Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager, or Director of Sales

If you know how to provide leadership, then a sales management role is better suited for you. You’ll oversee sales teams, set sales targets, develop sales strategies, and manage key accounts.

Product Management or Product Owner

A cross-functional role and a great fit if you’re interested in the strategic and technical aspects of security products.

You’d be responsible for guiding the development, positioning, and overall strategy of the organization’s cyber security products.

Business Development or Strategic Alliances

This is great if you have strong relationship-building skills and an interest in exploring new markets or partnerships.

These positions involve identifying and pursuing new opportunities for growth, forming partnerships with other organizations, and expanding the company’s presence in the market.

Technical Account Management or Customer Success Management

You’ll enjoy this role if you prefer working closely with clients and ensuring their satisfaction with cyber security solutions.

These roles focus on building long-term relationships with clients, providing ongoing technical support, and ensuring that clients are getting the maximum value from your products.

Cyber Security Consulting

If you’re able to gain deep industry knowledge and experience, consider transitioning into cyber security consulting roles.

Your role then becomes to provide expert advice, guidance, and solutions to help clients address their security challenges, assess risks, and implement effective security measures.

What Degree Is Best for a Cyber Security Sales Engineer?

The best degree for a cyber security sales engineering position will depend on your career goals, interests, and the specific requirements of the position.

Here are a few college degrees that are beneficial for your career:

  • Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering
  • Cyber Security
  • Information Security
  • Information Technology
  • Information Systems
  • Network Engineering
  • Network Security
  • Business Administration or Management
  • Sales or Marketing

Some individuals may choose to pursue a combination of technical and business-related degrees. For instance, a dual degree in computer science and business administration combines elements of both fields.

This allows you to gain a well-rounded education in both technical and business aspects of the role. However, if you choose to do only one, go for the technical degree while learning business through side coursework.

How Do You Become a Cyber Security Sales Engineer?

Cyber security sales is a great career especially if you’re an entry level candidate. That’s because becoming a sales engineer doesn’t require you to have technical or sales experience.

If you possess a cyber security degree, or relevant security certifications, you’ve already taken a step in the right direction.

The only other core qualifications are having very strong communication, collaboration, and interpersonal skills. And while having experience is desired, it’s usually not a requirement.

After that, it’s just a matter of finding a job and applying.

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by Amit Doshi

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How To Be an Identity and Access Management Engineer!

How To Be an Identity and Access Management Engineer!

Ever thought about becoming an Identity and Access Management (IAM) Engineer, or simply wanted information about the role? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into understanding the role and responsibilities of an IAM Engineer and how to become one.

Ready to Get Hired? Upload Your Cyber Security Resume Today!

Table of Contents

How to be an Identity and Access Management Engineer? Click below to find out!

Definition of Identity and Access Management (IAM or IdAM)

IAM Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

Technical Skills Required

Certifications, Training and Education

IAM Engineer Career Path and Opportunities

Final Thoughts and Helpful Links

Definition of Identity and Access Management (IAM or IdAM)

For those of you that haven’t heard of Identity and Access Management, it’s a security framework that allows an organization to manage digital identities and control access to resources, such as applications, systems, and data. It helps ensure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive information and that access can be revoked or modified as needed. The main components of IAM include authentication, authorization, and administration of accounts.

IAM Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

Design and implementation of IAM systems

Identity and Access Management Engineers play a crucial role in ensuring the security of an organization’s data and resources. The IAM Engineer (or IdAM Engineer) designs and implements systems to control who has access to what resources and when, ensuring that only authorized users can access sensitive information.

To design and implement IAM systems, you as the engineer, start by:

  1. Understanding the business requirements and defining the scope of the project. This includes identifying the resources that need protection, the users who need access to these resources, and the access policies that need to be enforced.
  2. Based on these requirements, you’ll need to create a high-level design that outlines the architecture of the IAM system.
  3. A detailed design is then created by the selecting appropriate technologies and setting up the systems.
    • Define the authentication methods, such as username/password or multi-factor authentication.
    • Define the authorization methods, such as role-based access control or attribute-based access control.
    • Define the access rules for both the authentication and authorization system such as setting up user accounts and assigning roles and permissions.
  4. Before the information system goes live, you’ll test it to ensure that it meets the business requirements and is secure.
  5. You’ll also create procedures for ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the system, including regular security audits, updating access / identification and authentication policies, and handling user management tasks.

User authentication and authorization is a critical aspect of Identity and Access Management. An IAM Engineer manages this process so only authorized users can access sensitive information.

During this process, you’re going to work closely with other personnel, such as the security and compliance teams, to meet the organization’s privacy requirements.

Ensuring data security and privacy

Personal data must be handled in accordance with privacy regulations such as NIST, GDPR, etc. Therefore, the following security measures are implemented:

  1. Implement security measures such as data encryption methods, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication.
  2. Configure the IAM systems to enforce access controls and prevent unauthorized access.

You’ll work with the organization’s legal and compliance teams to ensure that personal data is handled according to privacy regulations. This includes defining policies for data protection and implementing processes for data access and management.

Monitoring and maintaining IAM systems

To keep IAM systems functioning as expected, regular monitoring and maintenance is expected.

  1. You’ll need to set up monitoring and reporting tools to alert you to any security breaches or unauthorized access attempts.
  2. Expect to regularly reviews logs and audit trails to detect any suspicious activity.
  3. Continually evaluate and improve the IAM system to ensure the highest level of security and efficiency. This also requires that systems include the latest security patches and updates.
  4. Conduct regular reviews to update authentication and authorization policies.
  5. Take action to prevent or mitigate any security breaches and unauthorized access.

All of this requires collaboration with other departments, such as the security, development, and engineering teams.

Technical Skills Required

Knowledge of IAM concepts and protocols

As an IAM engineer, it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of IAM concepts and protocols. Policies, processes, and technologies should ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive information.

A solid understanding of IAM concepts is essential for the design and implementation of effective systems. Concepts such as access control, authentication, authorization, and single sign-on are key to ensuring that sensitive information is protected. The engineer must understand how these concepts work together to create a secure IAM environment.

In addition to IAM concepts, it’s also important to have a deep understanding of IAM protocols and frameworks. SAML, OAuth, and LDAP are examples used to implement various aspects of identity access, such as authentication and authorization. The IAM Engineer must understand how these protocols work, how they’re used in IAM systems, and how they can be configured to meet the organization’s needs.

Understanding of security frameworks

Security frameworks provide a structured approach to implementing security measures, thereby helping to protect sensitive information. The IAM Engineer is involved in integrating IAM systems with security frameworks to create a secure IAM environment.

Familiarity with security frameworks such as ISO 27001, NIST, and COBIT are essential. These frameworks provide guidelines and best practices for implementing security measures, covering areas such as risk management, access control, and incident management. You must understand how these frameworks apply to IAM and how they can be used to guide the design and implementation of IAM systems.

In addition to security frameworks, understanding the regulations and compliance requirements that apply to IAM systems is vital. Regulations such as GDPR and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) place specific requirements on the protection of sensitive information. The IAM Engineer must ensure that the systems they design and implement meet these requirements.

Familiarity with programming languages and scripting

As an Identity and Access Management Engineer, having familiarity with programming languages and scripting is essential. IAM systems are complex and often require the use of custom scripts and code to integrate with other systems and automate processes.

Familiarity with programming languages such as Python, Java, and JavaScript is important for the engineer. Additionally, familiarity with scripting languages such as Shell, Perl, and PowerShell are a must. Scripting languages are used to automate various IAM tasks, such as user provisioning and deprovisioning, password management, and reporting. You must understand how to write programs and scripts in these languages, how to troubleshoot them, and how to optimize them for performance.

Knowledge of cloud computing and virtualization

Many organizations are moving their IAM systems to the cloud, as such, you must be able to work within this environment. This means you need to be familiar with cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

These platforms provide a range of services that can be used to build and deploy IAM systems, including storage, databases, and identity management services. The engineer must understand how to use these services to build and deploy secure IAM systems in the cloud.

In addition to cloud computing, familiarize yourself with virtualization technologies such as VMware and Hyper-V. Virtualization technologies are used to create virtual machines that can run IAM systems. Learning how to use these cloud technologies to build and deploy secure IAM systems is beneficial.

Knowledge of IAM tools

IAM tools are used to automate and manage various tasks, such as user authentication, authorization, and password management.

There are many IAM tools on the market such as Okta, OneLogin, Microsoft Active Directory, and SailPoint. These tools provide a range of functionality, including user provisioning, single sign-on, and reporting. The best way to learn how these tools work is by requesting a trial version that may contain limited functionality.

It’s assumed that you already know how basic network security equipment and software operates, such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems. These are used to enhance the security of the information systems, and the engineer must understand how to integrate them with the IAM tools to build a comprehensive security solution.

Certifications, Training and Education

Degree Requirements

Becoming an Identity and Access Management Engineer requires a combination of education and experience. While there is no specific educational requirement for this role, having a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information security, or a related field can be helpful.

Individuals who are just starting out in their IAM career can obtain entry-level positions with a degree in a relevant field, but those who are looking to advance into more senior positions will likely need to have a master’s degree or higher.

In addition to a formal education, hands-on experience is also crucial for IAM Engineers. This can be obtained through internships, on-the-job training, or by working on personal or community projects. Familiarity with IAM concepts and technologies, such as authentication and authorization protocols, security frameworks, and programming languages, is also essential.

Overview of relevant IAM engineer certifications

To demonstrate their expertise and commitment to the field, many engineers choose to pursue certifications in IAM.

Some of the most relevant certifications for IAM Engineers include Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate (one of several Microsoft IAM certifications) or Certified Identity and Access Manager (CIAM). These certifications provide recognition for knowledge and skills in areas such as security frameworks, access control, and risk management.

In addition to IAM certifications, engineers may also consider certifications in cloud computing, such as AWS Certified Solutions Architect or Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect. These certifications demonstrate expertise in designing and deploying cloud-based systems, which is increasingly important as more organizations move their IAM systems to the cloud.

Certifications can demonstrate an engineer’s commitment to their profession and can also help them stay up to date with industry developments and best practices. Many certifications require continuing education and recertification, which helps ensure that IAM Engineers remain knowledgeable and current in their field.

Importance of continuing education

Continuing education can take many forms, including attending conferences (e.g. Gartner), participating in online training programs (e.g. Udemy), obtaining certifications, and even getting a degree.

The best thing about attending conferences and workshops is that it allows you to learn from industry experts, network with peers, and stay informed of new developments in the field.

Online training programs and certifications provide a flexible and convenient way to learn new skills and stay current with best practices. And though having a degree isn’t always required; as previously mentioned, it is very helpful to advance your career.

Additionally, IAM Engineers can also expand their knowledge through self-study and experimentation. This may involve reading industry publications, participating in online communities, and testing new tools and technologies in a controlled environment.

It doesn’t matter what you decide upon. By expanding your knowledge and skills, you can increase your value to the organization and are able to pursue new opportunities for growth and development.

IAM Engineer Career Path and Opportunities

Job roles and titles

Roles and titles in the IAM field can vary depending on the size and type of organization, as well as the engineer’s level of experience and expertise.

Common job roles for IAM Engineers include Security Engineer, Information Security Analyst, Identity Management Engineer, and Access Management Specialist. These roles may be part of a larger information security team or may be standalone positions.

In larger organizations, you may hold more senior positions, such as Security Architect or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). These roles typically involve high-level strategic planning, risk management, and the development of security policies and standards.

In smaller organizations, you might be responsible for a broader range of tasks, including system design and implementation, user administration, and monitoring and maintenance of IAM systems.

Regardless of the specific job title, all IAM Engineers are responsible for ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive data and systems. This includes designing, implementing, and maintaining secure access control systems, conducting regular security assessments, and responding to security incidents.

Identity and Access Management Engineer Salary

Due to the high demand, IAM engineers are well-compensated professionals. Salary expectations for engineers can vary depending on several factors.

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary in the United States is around $90,000 per year. However, in cities such as San Francisco and New York, the average salary can be higher, reaching upwards of $120,000 per year.

Experience is also a major factor in determining salary expectations. Entry-level IAM Engineers with less than five years of experience can expect to earn an average of $70,000 to $85,000 per year, while those with 10 or more years of experience can earn upwards of $120,000 to $140,000 per year.

Your industry also plays a role in determining salary expectations. Engineers working in the technology, finance, and healthcare industries tend to earn higher salaries compared to those in other industries. If you have specific IAM expertise or work for a larger organization, you can also command a higher salary.

Career growth and advancement opportunities for Identity and Access Management Engineers

Because of the demand for your skills, IAM Engineers can enjoy a wide range of career growth and advancement opportunities.

With sufficient experience, you’ll eventually move into more senior roles, such as Security Architect, Cybersecurity Director, or even Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

As you become more of a subject matter expert, you’ll start leading projects or initiatives, or may even consider starting your own consulting business. This can provide you with new challenges, exposure to different technologies and processes, and the opportunity to broaden your skill set.

What job title leads to becoming an IAM Engineer?

Individuals interested in becoming an Identity and Access Management Engineer may start out in an entry-level IT role such as  Help Desk Technician, IT Support, Network or System Administrator.

These roles will give you hands-on experience with technologies and processes related to IAM. They involve activities such as user account management, responding to support tickets, monitoring systems, network security, and data privacy. These all provide you with a strong foundation of knowledge and experience that can be applied to the role.

One of the key benefits of an IAM career is the opportunity for professional growth and advancement. This provides you with the opportunity to take on more responsibility, develop your skills and knowledge, and advance you career.

Another benefit is the opportunity to work in a challenging and dynamic environment. Designing and implementing the IAM system requires you to think creatively and critically to solve complex problems.

Helpful Identity and Access Management Links

If you’re interested in exploring the field, there are a few helpful websites that can provide you with valuable information.

Identity Management Institute: An organization solely dedicated to identity and access management. Find information about the latest trends, best practices, and challenges in the IAM industry. It also offers a range of certifications, educational resources, including webinars, white papers, and research reports.

Gartner: Provides in-depth research and analysis on a wide range of technology topics, including IAM. It also provides access to Gartner events, where you can network and learn about the latest trends in the industry.

NIST: Contains a wealth of information and resources on IAM, including project, events, presentations, guidelines, standards, and best practices.

LinkedIn Learning: Access a range of online courses and training programs, including those focused on IAM. You can also connect with other professionals and learn from their experiences.

Reddit: Use this popular forum to discuss anything related to IAM. Facebook and LinkedIn are also great resources to find like-minded groups.

YouTube: As always, YouTube will deliver hours of IAM videos. This is a great place to start to learn the basics, or even find videos that do a deep dive.

Meetup: This is a great place to find groups and interact with individuals that are also interested in IAM. Since Meetup only searches by locality, search for the keyword “identity” or “access” and you’ll come across dozens of events in-person or online.

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Cyber Security vs. Data Analytics

Cyber Security vs. Data Analytics

Deciding between cyber security vs. data analytics? Due to the nature of the online world, the IT industry is always evolving and adapting. Each year comes with its own set of new advancements, requirements, abilities, and threats.

However, because the world is moving at such a pace, there is a severe shortage in filling the important jobs. That leaves us with cyber security and data analytics, two fields with one thing in common. They are among the most desired by employers right now.

Because they are critical to modern workplaces, getting experience and qualifications in either of these sectors is a gold mine. Having said that, despite the two job roles having one thing in common, they are actually different career paths. Some people often have a tricky time choosing the best one for them.

Fortunately for you, we have created a guide on cyber security vs. data analytics, and the key differences between them.

Ready to Get Hired? Upload Your Cyber Security Resume Today!

Table of Contents

Cyber security vs. data analytics…Read below to know more!

What is Cyber Security?

What is Data Analytics?

Cyber Security vs Data Analytics – The Differences

Finding Jobs in Cyber Security vs. Data Analytics

What Jobs Can I Apply for in Cyber Security and Data Analytics?

Cyber Security vs. Data Analytics…Which Should I Choose?

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is the practice of protecting computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from digital attacks, theft, and damage. It involves implementing technologies, processes, and policies to secure information and prevent unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.

Cyber security threats can come from various sources, including hackers, cyber criminals, state-sponsored actors, and malware. These threats can take many forms, such as phishing scams, ransomware attacks, data breaches, and network intrusions. Cyber security professionals use a variety of techniques and tools, such as firewalls, encryption, multi-factor authentication, and threat intelligence, to detect and defend against these threats.

The importance of cyber security has increased dramatically in recent years as more and more sensitive information is stored and transmitted electronically. Businesses, governments, and individuals must take proactive measures to protect themselves from cyber security threats, as the consequences of a successful attack can be devastating, including financial loss, reputational damage, and loss of sensitive information.

What is Data Analytics?

Data analytics is the process of analyzing and interpreting large and complex data sets to extract meaningful insights and drive informed decision-making. It involves using mathematical and statistical methods, as well as various tools and technologies, to uncover patterns, relationships, and trends in data.

Data analytics can be applied in a wide range of industries and applications, including business, finance, healthcare, marketing, and sports. The goal of data analytics is to turn raw data into actionable insights that can inform business strategy, improve operations, and drive innovation.

Cyber Security vs Data Analytics – The Differences

This is a question a lot of people ask, especially just before choosing their route into the world of IT. What is the difference between cyber security and data analytics? Don’t they both basically deal with data?

Of course, there are similarities because both job titles work within the same umbrella of IT, however, they are very different roles. Cyber security is all about keeping confidential data safe and out of the wrong hands, while data analytics is about putting that data in the right hands in order to make the best possible decisions for the company.

Let’s take a look at some comparisons across the key parts of the jobs, including the responsibilities, education, salary, prospects, and more.


Being a cyber security professional is all about protecting the information your company wants to keep out of the hands of any attackers. The important thing to remember is that attackers do not always come in the form you may think. Companies often want to keep sensitive data away from certain employees as much as they do strangers. Therefore, cyber security professionals use an array of techniques to keep information and networks secure, while preventing and dealing with any attacks, breaches, malware, etc.

The day-to-day life of a data analyst is about collecting data from a wide array of sources and piecing it together to create meaningful information. At first, data always seems like a collection of random numbers on a page. However, it is the job of a data scientist or analyst to take unstructured and structured data and turn it into insights that help the company to make important decisions for the future. For example, a company may want their data analyst to look at product sales and create a detailed profile of their consumers, based on age, gender, location, political beliefs, interests, etc.


The world of IT is often very technical and advanced, so it requires a certain level of education and understanding. It makes sense that if a company is hiring you to protect their sensitive information or shape their future decisions, they will want to know you are qualified to do so.

While a formal education is never required, it does make it easier! Some data analytics applicants may be able to earn a starting position after completing a bachelor’s degree, however, a master’s degree will be needed to make meaningful progress in your career. If you want to work your way up the ladder and take the next steps, then a master’s should be on your to-do list. Data analytics revolves around complex stats and maths, so knowing your way around the concepts and the practical application of those concepts is a must.

In contrast, a master’s degree is not so much of a necessity in the world of cyber security. A bachelor’s degree in some kind of IT or security field will likely be enough. However, you will obviously need all the skills and creativity required to actually impress in your role as a cyber security professional. It is one of those jobs that often requires certain traits that cannot be taught.


As we explained before, both of these roles come with high demand and lower supply, which is always a recipe for a good salary. The salary range for cyber security or data analysts can vary widely based on several factors such as location, industry, company size, and level of experience.

In general, the median salary for data analysts in the United States is around $60,000 to $80,000 per year. However, data analysts with advanced skills and several years of experience can earn salaries well over $100,000 per year. It’s worth noting that the salary range for data analysts can also vary greatly based on the industry they work in, with some industries such as technology, finance, and healthcare offering higher salaries than others.

According to Glassdoor, the median salary for cyber security analysts in the United States is approximately $80,000 per year, with salaries ranging from around $60,000 to $110,000 or more. However, highly skilled and experienced cyber security analysts can earn salaries in excess of $140,000 or more, particularly in industries such as technology, finance, and healthcare that place a high value on cyber security expertise. It’s worth noting that salaries for cyber security professionals tend to be higher compared to other IT roles due to the high demand for their skills.


To put it simply, the internet is going nowhere. And while the internet is around, there will always be a need for data analysts and cyber security professionals. So, the basic prospects in both job roles are pretty wide and secure for the foreseeable future.

It’s estimated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the field of analytics will grow by 23% between 2021 and 2031.

The global cyber security market is expected to reach $376 billion by 2029, driven by increasing cyber threats and data breaches. This high demand for cyber security experts means that there are many job opportunities available in a variety of industries, including government, finance, healthcare, and technology.

Data Analytics Skills and Tools

Strong mathematical and statistical skills: Data analytics requires a strong understanding of mathematical and statistical concepts, such as probability, regression analysis, hypothesis testing, and statistical inference. This includes the ability to apply these concepts to real-world data sets to identify trends, patterns, and relationships.

Proficiency in data analysis tools and programming languages: Data analytics professionals should have experience with data analysis tools, such as R, Python, SQL, and SAS, as well as be able to program in at least one of these languages. This allows them to access, manipulate, and analyze large and complex data sets, as well as create models to solve specific business problems.

Data visualization skills: Data visualization is a key component of data analytics, as it allows data analysts to present insights in a clear and easily understandable format. A good understanding of data visualization techniques, tools, and best practices is essential to effectively communicate insights to stakeholders.

Data interpretation and critical thinking skills: Data analytics professionals must be able to interpret data and use critical thinking skills to identify trends, patterns, and insights that can inform business decisions. This requires the ability to analyze large and complex data sets, draw conclusions, and make recommendations based on the data.

Experience with big data technologies: With the growth of big data, experience with big data technologies, such as Hadoop and Spark, is becoming increasingly important in the field of data analytics. These technologies allow data analysts to process and analyze large and complex data sets in real-time, providing valuable insights for businesses.

Soft Skills for Data Analytics

Attention to detail: Data analytics requires a high level of accuracy and attention to detail, as even small errors in data can lead to incorrect conclusions and decisions. This requires a strong focus on data quality and the ability to validate data sources and assumptions.

Adaptability and a willingness to learn:It’s essential for data analytics professionals to continuously stay up to date with emerging technologies and best practices. This requires a strong commitment to learning and professional development.

Strong communication and collaboration skills: Data analytics professionals must communicate complex data insights and findings to non-technical stakeholders in a clear and concise manner. Collaboration skills are also crucial to work effectively with cross-functional teams, such as data scientists, business analysts, and subject matter experts, to ensure that data insights align with business goals.

Business acumen: Data analytics is not just about technical skills, but also about business knowledge. A good understanding of business operations, processes, and decision-making is important in data analytics, as the goal is to provide insights that can drive business decisions.

Cyber Security Skills and Tools

Knowledge of network security and architecture: A deep understanding of how networks are designed and secured is crucial in the field of cyber security. This includes knowledge of different networking technologies, topologies, protocols, and the potential security threats associated with them.

Familiarity with different operating systems and platforms: Security professionals need to be familiar with different operating systems and platforms, including Windows, Linux, iOS, etc., to be able to identify and address security issues in these environments.

Expertise in security protocols and encryption technologies: Familiarity with various security protocols, such as SSL/TLS, IPSec, and SSH, is crucial in ensuring secure communication over networks. Knowledge of encryption technologies, such as AES, RSA, and Elliptic Curve Cryptography, is also important to secure data in storage and transit.

Ability to perform vulnerability assessments and penetration testing: Cyber security professionals should be able to perform vulnerability assessments to identify potential security weaknesses in systems and networks. They should also be able to carry out penetration testing to simulate real-world attacks and evaluate the effectiveness of existing security controls.

Understanding of firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and security information and event management (SIEM): Firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and SIEM solutions play an important role in protecting networks from cyber threats. Understanding how these technologies work and how to use them effectively is crucial for cyber security professionals.

Knowledge of programming and scripting languages: Knowledge of programming and scripting languages, such as Python, JavaScript, and Ruby, can be useful for writing scripts to automate security tasks, develop custom security tools, and analyze data for security purposes.

Familiarity with security regulations, laws, and compliance standards: Cyber security professionals should have a good understanding of various security regulations, laws, and compliance standards. These include regulations and standards such as: GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, NIST, etc.

Soft Skills for Cyber Security

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills: In the field of cyber security, it is essential to have strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills to identify and respond to security incidents effectively. This requires the ability to analyze complex security issues and make decisions quickly under pressure.

Strong communication and collaboration skills: Security professionals often work in teams, and it’s essential to have strong communication and collaboration skills to work effectively with others. This includes the ability to explain security concepts to non-technical stakeholders and to collaborate with other teams, such as incident response and legal, to address security incidents.

Continuous learning and staying up to date with emerging security threats and technologies: The cyber security landscape is constantly evolving, and it is crucial for cyber security professionals to continuously learn and stay up to date with emerging security threats and technologies. This requires a strong commitment to learning and professional development.

Finding Jobs in Cyber Security vs. Data Analytics

While there are differences between the jobs themselves, searching for a job is rather similar. There are a number of things you can do to give yourself the best chance of landing an interview:


Attending networking events is a great way to meet employers looking to hire cyber security professionals or data analysts. It’s also always good to meet like-minded people, get your name out there, and talk to recruiters. Most of these events are free, so take a look at websites like Eventbrite or Meetup. Once you go to a few of these events and meet people, you will likely be invited to more. It’s also a good way to get interviews or introductions/meetings.

Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and designed to really sell your skills and abilities. It’s a great tool for online networking and serves as your outward-facing profile to the world of employers.


Conferences are great for three things – learning new knowledge, meeting people, and having fun! Most include an opportunity to hear from speakers at the top of their field, as well as plenty of chances to network with like-minded people and potential employers. Simply by being there, it also gives the impression that you are keen to learn.

If you’re interested in attending conferences related to cyber security or data analytics, here are a few well-known ones in each field:

Cyber Security Conferences:

RSA Conference: One of the largest and most prestigious cyber security conferences, held annually in the United States.

Black Hat: A leading information security event, providing a platform for researchers to present their findings and share ideas.

DEFCON: The world’s largest underground hacking conference, held annually in Las Vegas.

BSides: A community-driven series of cyber security conferences, held in cities around the world.

SANS Institute: A cyber security training and research organization that hosts various conferences and events throughout the year.

Data Analytics Conferences:

Data Science Salon: A conference focused on AI, data science, and machine learning.

KDD Conference: A conference on knowledge discovery and data mining, held annually.

Data & Analytics Summit: A conference focused on data science, AI, and machine learning.

Spark + AI Summit: A conference focused on Apache Spark and AI, organized by Databricks.

These are just a few examples. It’s a good idea to research and find the conferences that are relevant to your interests and career goals.

Cyber Security vs. Data Analytics Research

In both fields, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, stories, and news. Read the latest articles and blogs, listen to podcasts, subscribe to newsletters, etc. It’s important to keep learning without overwhelming yourself.

Here are a few well-known news sites and podcasts for both cyber security and data analytics:

Cyber Security News Sites and Podcasts:

Dark Reading: A website dedicated to cyber security news, analysis, and research.

Threatpost: A website focused on the latest news and analysis on cyber security threats and trends.

SecurityWeek: A website dedicated to providing in-depth coverage of information security and cyber threats.

The CyberWire: A daily podcast covering the latest news, analysis, and research in the world of cyber security.

Security Ledger: A podcast that covers the intersection of technology, security, and policy.

Risky Business: A weekly podcast that covers the latest developments in cyber security and information security.

Data Analytics News Sites and Podcasts:

KDNuggets: A website focused on data science, machine learning, and AI.

Data Science Central: A website that provides news, resources, and tutorials for data science and machine learning.

Data Skeptic: A podcast that explores the field of data science and machine learning through conversations with experts.

Linear Digressions:Explore machine learning and data science through conversations with experts and real-world examples.

These are just a few examples, and there are many more news sites and podcasts in both fields. It’s a good idea to do some research and find the ones that are relevant to your interests and career goals.

What Jobs Can I Apply for in Cyber Security and Data Analytics?

There are a number of roles within cyber security and data analytics for you to research. It’s important to find a job that fits your personal requirements and is a good fit for you.

Cyber Security Roles:

  • Cyber Security Analyst
  • Security Consultant
  • Computer Forensic Analyst
  • IT Security Specialist
  • Cryptographer
  • Incident Responder
  • Penetration Tester
  • Systems Engineer
  • Vulnerability Analyst
  • Cyber Security Manager (Senior Role)
  • Information Technology Director (Senior Role)
  • Cyber Security Officer (Senior Role)
  • Data Analytics Roles:

  • Data Scientist
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Engineer
  • Data Consultant
  • Data Statistician
  • Data Architect
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Senior AI Architect
  • Chief Data Scientist (Senior Role)
  • Chief Information Officer (Senior Role)
  • Cyber Security vs. Data Analytics…Which Should I Choose?

    When trying to determine a career in cyber security vs. data analytics, it is important to ask yourself a few questions. So, before judging which career path best suits these talents and passions, ask yourself:

  • What area of IT am I passionate about?
  • What natural technical skills do I have?
  • How creative am I? Am I an out-the-box thinker?
  • What do I struggle with?
  • How important are money and future prospects to me?
  • What tasks can I see myself doing in my day-to-day job?
  • What are my short-term career goals?
  • What are my long-term career goals?
  • Am I more excited by the prospect of cyber security or data analytics?
  • Final Thoughts

    Cyber security or data analytics are two fields that are in high demand and offer exciting opportunities.

    Let’s start with cyber security. If you enjoy keeping computer systems and data secure, then cyber security might be the right choice for you. There will always be a demand for skilled cyber security professionals to keep organizations and individuals safe.

    If you’re interested in working with big data used to make decisions, then data analytics might be a better fit. You’ll get to uncover patterns and insights and use your findings to support decision-making and drive business growth.

    In the end, both fields require technical skills, a love of learning, and a passion for making a difference. So why not explore both and see which one resonates with you more? I’m sure you’ll make the right choice!

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    by Amit Doshi

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    How to Become a Cyber Security Researcher?

    How to Become a Cyber Security Researcher?

    If you’ve ever wanted to be a cyber security researcher, this is the guide for you. I’ll show you how to get started, and what skills are most important. Read further to find out more!

    Ready to Get Hired? Upload Your Cyber Security Resume Today!

    Table of Contents

    How to become a cyber security researcher? Click below to find out!

    What Is a Cyber Security Researcher?
    Cyber Security Researcher Salary
    Cyber Security Researcher Skills
    What Does a Cyber Security Researcher Do?
    What Tools Does a Cyber Security Researcher Use?
    How to Become a Cyber Security Researcher?

    What Is a Cyber Security Researcher?

    Cyber security researchers are a part of the security field responsible for identifying and analyzing threats that may have an impact on the stability of an organization’s information systems.

    By understanding these threats early on, they can work with security teams to prevent the exploitation of system vulnerabilities.

    The work done by cyber security researchers can be applied to any industry and is essential for keeping business networks, financial accounts, government defense systems and other important information systems secure from cyber criminals.

    Security researchers often have a background in mathematics or computer science with some exposure to penetration testing. These fields are useful for understanding how information systems function and how they can be broken into.

    Commonly referred to as “blue teaming” activities, some security researchers focus solely on keeping malicious actors out of networks or systems, while others concentrate more on finding ways to disable or disrupt malicious activity already underway.

    Not all cyber security researchers are alike; each one has their own area of specialization. Some focus on data protection, while others might look at how to protect networks, IoT, wireless networks, mobile devices, etc. And some go even further by specializing in specific types of threats, such as phishing or ransomware attacks.

    For organizations to make the necessary security improvements, security researchers must relay how different attack scenarios can affect their products or systems.

    Cyber Security Researcher Salary

    While there isn’t a lot of information on this position, ZipRecruiter lists the salary range of a cyber security researcher between $53k and $150k with a nationwide average of $115k. presents an average of $96k.

    Cyber Security Researcher Skills

    To become a good cyber security researcher, you’ll need to develop the following skills:

    Passion for Research

    This role isn’t a typical 9-to-5 job and will require hours of sitting in front of computers doing endless research. Part of your job will be to research materials that won’t always be found by performing a simple Google search, so prepare to dig deep. You need to love what you do and be able to think outside the box. If you can manage that, then becoming a cyber security researcher may be the right career path for you!

    Penetration Testing & Forensics

    Being a researcher means you’ll need to identify and analyze different types of threats. And though you’ll mostly likely seek out threats within your area of expertise, you still need the ability to identify how they work (i.e. exploitation techniques, mitigation techniques, who’s behind them, as well the motivation behind the threat). You’ll be using your extensive knowledge of coding and forensic analysis to help you answer these questions.

    Keep Your Knowledge Updated

    As time goes on, you’ll begin to develop quite a bit of tribal knowledge that should remain as part of your toolkit. Expect to possess knowledge of the latest technologies being used for criminal activity. All your knowledge will be used to perform malware and vulnerability research and reverse engineer them. You’ll be responsible for monitoring the latest developments in malicious software and detection tools, educating businesses about vulnerabilities and risks associated with them, and making recommendations on how businesses can protect themselves against attacks.

    Excellent Analytical Skills

    If there’s one skill you must absolutely possess as a security researcher, it’s curiosity. If something doesn’t look right, how deep are you willing to dive to figure out the problem? This is where all your research skills really come into good use; expect to analyze an immense amount of data and be able to make decisions based on that analysis. Be prepared to explain your findings in a clear, concise language that can easily be understood by others.

    What Does a Cyber Security Researcher Do?

    What does a security researcher do? A researcher must be able to design, test, and implement new security systems as well as evaluate the effectiveness of existing systems while recommending upgrades.

    Proactive Threat Research

    To stay up-to-date with the latest developments in technology, you’ll be expected to research and analyze threats (i.e. malware analysis) using multiple resources:

    Reactive Threat Research

    Even after threats have breached the system, your job is to investigate threats while working with the incident response team to collect and analyze log data. You may be tasked to understand how the breach entered the system, the method of transmission and attack throughout the network, the damage caused, etc. (i.e. reverse engineering). Throughout the investigation, you’ll try to determine the source of the malware and the exploited vulnerability to prevent such breaches from reoccurring.

    Vulnerability Research

    You’ll also be expected to work with the ethical hacking team to reverse engineer the organization’s software. You’ve got to understand the current vulnerabilities, the effect software patches have on vulnerabilities (i.e. patch analysis), and report upon the criticality of remaining vulnerabilities. You also need to maintain a relationship with the risk & compliance team to understand how the organization’s vulnerabilities are being addressed.

    Tool Development

    Cyber security researchers are often responsible for software development to deter and defend against malicious attacks. Using your knowledge of malware and attack vectors, you’ll be working with other IT professionals (from computer science experts who build systems from scratch to programmers who write software code) to help develop software programs designed to better protect against cyber threats.


    Documentation will always be part of the job description. You must be able to define and describe the characteristics of the malware and vulnerabilities you encounter so that your information can be relayed to others in your organization or even published for public consumption.

    What Tools Does a Cyber Security Researcher Use?

    The vast toolkit available to a researcher requires a wide scope of knowledge. That’s because the background of a cyber security researcher usually comes from a combination of penetration testing, malware analysis (reverse engineering), and cyber security analysis skills. It’s good to know what tools work best under different conditions so you have a better understanding of how to analyze different types of threats.

    However, since the field of security research is quite large, you’re not expected to become a genius in every tool. As with every other field in security, you can learn to specialize depending on your interest and area of expertise. Here’s a list of some open source and proprietary tools you can start using for free:

    • Machine Code / Binary
    • Programming & Database Languages: (e.g. C/C++, SQL, Java)
    • Scripting Languages: (e.g. JavaScript, Python, PHP, Perl, PowerShell, Ruby)
    • Assembly Languages & Instruction Set Architectures: (e.g. MIPS, ARM, Intel x86, RISC-V)
    • Operating Systems: (e.g. Windows, Linux, Unix, MacOS, Android)
    • Virtual Machines: (e.g. Kernal Virtual Machine, VMware Fusion, Oracle VM VirtualBox, Qemu)
    • Containerization and Orchestration Tools: (e.g. Dockers, Kubernetes)
    • Vulnerability Scanning Tools: (e.g. Wireshark, Nessus, Metasploit, OpenVAS, Nmap)
    • Static Code Analysis Tools: (e.g. SonarQube, Visual Studio)
    • Network Analysis Tools: (e.g. Nagios Core, Cacti)
    • Decryption Tools: (e.g. EmiSoft)
    • SIEM Tools: (e.g. OSSIM, ELK Stack, OSSEC)
    • Memory Dump Analysis Tools: (e.g. LiME, Volatility Foundation, RAMmap)
    • Debugger: (e.g. Ghidra, IDA Pro, WinDbg, radare2)
    • Decompilers and Disassemblers: (e.g. Capstone Engine, Binary Ninja, Hopper Disassembler)
    • Threat Modeling Frameworks: (e.g. MITRE ATT&CK, OWASP Top 10, STRIDE)

    The only way you can learn these tools is by getting your hands dirty with them. With each language comes a world of opportunities for learning how different types of malwares affect systems differently. Start with one technology and begin moving towards others.

    How to Become a Cyber Security Researcher?

    The best way to prepare for a career in cyber security research is by becoming as knowledgeable about the field as possible. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to answer interview questions and handle job responsibilities. Here are several ways to make your way into the field of cyber security research:

    Step 1: Determine Your Interest

    As we’ve discussed, cyber security research is a large field. Figure out what area of research captures your interest and start learning the aspects of that specialty. For instance, if your area of interest is network security research, you better know your core web and network protocols (e.g. TCP/IP, HTTP/HTTPS, DNS, etc.). Really take the time to learn about each area of specialization then dive right in!

    Step 2: Learn the Concepts

    Beyond knowing the operating system, start studying the different aspects of information security such as cryptanalysis, computer forensics, penetration testing, security analysis, threat modeling, and reverse engineering techniques. All these concepts will eventually come into play and are very important in your research.

    Step 3: Learn the Languages

    You do need to understand how computer languages work. Start teaching yourself scripting languages such as Python then slowly making your way backwards by learning C-like languages, assembly language, and then machine code. If you want to know how malware works, then being able to read the language it’s coded in is a major requirement.

    Step 4: Take Cyber Security Researcher Courses or Certification Exams

    There’s no better way to display your knowledge base than by earning a certification. Don’t think that a certification means you know everything or are an expert; it simply means you’ve dedicated the time to learn the basics. Below are sample of the certifications you can study for:

    • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) by EC-Council
    • CPENT (Certified Penetration Testing Professional) by EC-Council
    • PenTest+ by CompTIA
    • OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional) by Offensive Security
    • OSCE (Offensive Security Certified Expert) by Offensive Security
    • GXPN (Exploit Researcher and Advanced Penetration Tester) by GIAC
    • GWAPT (Web Application Penetration Tester) by GIAC
    • eLearnSecurity

    If you take any educational coursework; even if the course doesn’t offer a certification, it’s still a good way to build your knowledge.

    Step 5: Learn the malware

    You need to show an interest in learning how malware thrives. Start by learning about the history of malwares and how it has evolved over the decades. Then progress to learning how modern forms of malware operate and learn their detection techniques. Use the tools at your disposal to obtain threat intelligence information; understand the types of malwares and their attack surfaces, methods, paths, patterns, signatures, and intent. In other words, get into the mindset of the hacker and figure out how they thought to develop this threat.

    Step 6: Learn the tools and practice

    Spend time learning about tools used in cyber security research and how they work (such as the ones mentioned above). While some tools can perform multiple functions, most of them are specialized to a specific area. Take the time to download the open-source tools and work with them in simulated environments. At this stage, you should focus on gaining familiarity with the tools used for reverse engineering. During this process make sure you practice what you’ve learned. Learn to create and infect a virtual machine, then learn how to detect, respond, and reverse engineer it so that the tools become second nature to use.

    Step 7: Learn security research trends

    Learn about new trends in technology and how they affect cyber security. This includes reading blogs and articles that discuss these topics, talking with peers who are already working in the field, and taking advantage of training resources offered by employers or industry organizations. While the field does involve some individual work, consider being part of a community by joining organizations such as: or to understand issues that other researchers are facing. Take advantage of open-source intelligence (OSINT) tools, capture-the-flag (CTF) events such as Pico CTF, bug bounty programs such as Hackerone, or threat simulators such TryHackMe. While you might be inclined to search the dark web to obtain threat intelligence information (remember to use extreme caution and only observe…never participate), you may be better off scouring more legitimate and reliable sources of information.

    Interested in More…

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    Top 16 Ways to Make Money in Cyber Security!

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    How to Become a Cyber Security Architect?

    by Amit Doshi

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    Read more
    How To Become a Cyber Security Architect?

    How To Become a Cyber Security Architect?

    Wondering how to become a cyber security architect? Today’s article discusses everything you might want to know to help you achieve your goal.

    Table of Contents

    Interested in learning more about how to become a cyber security architect? Click below to find out!

    What Is a Cyber Security Architect?

    Why Security Architecture Is Important to An Organization?

    What Are the Skills Required for Cyber Security Architect?

    Cyber Security Architect Qualifications

    Security Architect Certification Path

    What Does a Cyber Security Architect Do?

    How Much Does a Cyber Security Architect Make?

    Do I Need a Degree for Cyber Security?

    Cyber Security Engineer Vs Cyber Security Architect

    How to Become a Security Architect?

    Can I Take a Security Architect Training Course?

    What Is a Cyber Security Architect?

    The role of a security architect is to design and implement security solutions within an organization’s enterprise infrastructure.

    This is so that users may safely interact with the information systems and with minimal concern for the loss of data confidentiality, integrity, or availability.

    Architects work with executive management, engineers, analysts, and other IT staff members to design and implement the security architecture.

    Architects also design and allocate systems to properly manage the enterprise-level security risks.

    A security architect also known as: Information Assurance (IA) Architect, Information Security Architect, or Security Solutions Architect. Whatever the position is called, the role is the same.

    Why Security Architecture Is Important to An Organization?

    Security architecture provides a framework for the design and implementation of security measures.

    The architecture is a system of policies, procedures, and controls that define how security will be implemented and maintained within an organization.

    Organizations also rely on the security architecture to understand their current security posture so they can make informed decisions about future investments in technology and security.

    It’s a complex and strategic process that involves technical and non-technical elements.

    What Are the Skills Required for Cyber Security Architect?

    A cyber security architect needs to have a broad range of skills to effectively design the security architecture.

    The skills required for this role vary depending on roles and responsibilities. However, there are some general security architect skills you’re expected to possess:

    Operating Systems and Security Tools

    Understand how Windows, MacOS, and Linux/Unix-based operating systems work. Much of the systems infrastructure you’ll be designing, and data collection/security tools your team will be using, are based upon any one of these operating systems as a foundation. And though you may not have access to any of the infrastructure and tools (to maintain a separation of duties), not fully understanding them will become a severe hinderance to your performance.

    Coding / Software

    Knowing how to code, how software is designed including its use cases and applications, how software interacts with the infrastructure and the vulnerabilities that result. While you won’t be doing any coding on your own, you will be working with a technical security team responsible for the development of the security components and tools that’ll protect your organization’s information systems.

    Brush up on your soft skills

    Don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills. We’ll talk about additional soft skills below but becoming a security architect requires you to be analytical, detail-oriented, have good research and problem-solving skills, and be able to provide creative solutions. It’s especially vital that you remain open-minded, receptive to new ideas, and willing to lean upon your analysts and engineers to fill in gaps in your knowledge.

    Have the right mindset and perspective

    Don’t focus on a particular area of the system. This position requires a deep and holistic understanding of entire information infrastructure. You’ll need the vision to creatively design a security solution with the latest and most tested tools and configurations available. This means understanding how the existing infrastructure combined with the security infrastructure will work with each other.

    Communicate with your stakeholders

    Cyber security architects also need excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, to effectively convey their findings and recommendations to other stakeholders within an organization. It’s vital to translate technical knowledge into a business language that’s easily understood by non-technical people. You may even find yourself in a position to justify some of your decisions to executive leaders based on necessity rather than cost.

    Act like a leader

    Being a subject matter expert (“SME”), your position lends itself into becoming a leader. This means you’ll also act as the “spokesperson” for your security team. This is especially true, if you’re in a smaller organization where you also act as the highest security team member. At this level, confidence in your abilities and mentoring your team is key!

    You’re the one who’s accountable!

    As the SME, you’re automatically held to the highest level of accountability. Know the specific details about how the security infrastructure operates. When a security breach occurs, everyone will look to you to understand what has happened. Work with the forensics team to understand how the investigation will proceed. Then determine what actions are needed to mitigate further harm and future security breaches (aka incident response).

    Risk and Compliance

    The entire reason why your position exists is to reduce organizational risks, which include the risk of security breaches. To reduce this risk, knowing how to read, understand, and implement security controls based on compliance standards such as: NIST SP 800-53, NIST CSF, ISO 27001/2, etc. is crucial. This also means incorporating results of threat models, risk and vulnerability assessments, and any other threats assessments as part of the architecture.

    Know the network

    This probably goes without saying but as a SME, you must know the design and operation of the entire network infrastructure, the software used to operate the network, as well as the resources and tools used maintain the network.

    Working with teammates

    Provide that critical link between management and engineering to help turn business requirements into technical design requirements. Get comfortable working across the organization with executive leadership, analysts, engineers, vendors, and other technical team members to help plan and execute the deployments of new systems or updates.

    What about the money?

    Design the security infrastructure according to the budgetary constraints of the project. If the organization cannot afford the design, development, or maintenance of the security infrastructure, there is a chance the organization may fail to properly operate such infrastructure due to inadequate resources. To design a cost-effective solution agreeable to stakeholders, realize that customers don’t enjoy wasting money, especially when it comes to IT security.

    Are project management skills important?

    Keep a project on time, under budget, and manage stakeholder needs. If you don’t possess these abilities, you won’t stand a chance of being able to manage large, complex development and deployment processes. If you have little experience in this area, consider senior-level security engineering or systems admin roles with a PMP certification.

    Cyber Security Architect Qualifications

    Take a look at the basic qualifications needed for a cyber security architect:

    How much experience is needed?

    The time it takes for you have enough knowledge will always depend on your abilities and your security exposure. Expect to possess a minimum of 5-10 years of experience in information security with the bulk of that time spent as a security engineer, system administrator, or a combination of both. You won’t have the requirements of a security architect with anything less.

    What do I need exposure to?

    As an architect, maintain a wide variety of exposure to networking and security roles. Coding, networking, development, security, etc. are all pieces of what it takes to become an IT security architect. Take every opportunity to gain exposure in different roles even if that means occasionally switching jobs.

    Security Architect Certification Path

    Security Certification: A security architect certification doesn’t imply that you’re an expert, but it does help employers understand the minimum level of knowledge you possess. Once you reach this level the Security+ cert isn’t good enough; most employers will look for the following certifications:

    CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) by ISC2

    CISSP-ISSAP (Information Systems Security Architecture Professional) by ISC2

    CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) by ISACA

    GSE (GIAC Security Expert) by GIAC

    GDSA (GIAC Defensible Security Architecture)

    CASP+ (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner)

    Keep in the mind that the choice of certification is less relevant than the actual knowledge you possess.

    If you possess at least one of these certs, you should be fine; although if you have the CISM, it might be a good idea to get one more as it’s slightly less technical in nature.

    Enterprise Architecture Framework: In addition to the security certification, it’s a good idea to also obtain an architectural framework certification to showcase your foundational knowledge of architectural design. Each framework differs in its approach or area of specialization. SABSA is a highly recommended enterprise security architecture framework but research which framework works for you. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of frameworks; however, this should help you to get a head start.

    TOGAF (The Open Group Architectural Framework)

    SABSA (Sherwood Applied Business Security Architecture)

    DoDAF (Department of Defense Architectural Framework)


    What Does a Cyber Security Architect Do?

    Security architects generally blend execution and management.

    You’ll still be heavily involved in the technical aspects of the job, but you’re not always the person performing the implementation (no scripting, troubleshooting, server setups, etc).

    Other teams will worry about the technical challenges of deploying the solution. You must know the specific challenges they face and develop solutions to overcome them.

    In smaller organizations, the security architect responsibilities are slightly less defined, and you’re likely to have multiple responsibilities.

    You may find that your duties range from cyber strategy, generally reserved for Cyber Security Directors or CISOs, to cyber development and integration, usually performed by security engineers.

    In larger organizations, the position is much more defined because the information systems are highly scaled and much more complex. You may have several security architects, each responsible for their own areas of specialization such as: cloud security architect, data security architect, network security architect, etc.

    Research & Strategy

    As part of implementing any new or updated infrastructure, you’ll need to evaluate the business requirements, resource constraints, security technology, and threat landscape to determine a solution that will work best for the organization. Due to the evolving threat landscape, keep yourself updated with the latest knowledge. By understanding having this knowledge in the background, you’re able to offer employers and clients with the most technologically sound and cost-effective solutions.

    Document everything

    At the onset of any new implementation, you’ll participate in design or structural change-related activities. Heavy amounts of documentation (drawing, reading, writing, reviewing, and approving) are expected at nearly every point of the design lifecycle. The image below should give you a brief understanding of the types of documentation required to implement a successful security architecture.

    Content Metamodel Overview
    Content MetaModel Overview is reproduced with permission granted from The Open Group, L.L.C.

    Implementation & Test

    Security solutions sometimes presents a challenge (or aren’t usable at all) and require a modification to the environment. As such, you’ll work directly with the security team, engineers, and analysts throughout the development process. These team members will work with you to implement and test these modifications.

    Attend project reviews

    Project meetings and reviews to discuss strategy, documentation, and implementation occur daily. During this time, you’ll provide guidance on all security-related matters. Expect to spend time reviewing the security architecture with stakeholders, vendors, and engineering teams to explain technical details.

    How Much Does a Cyber Security Architect Make?

    Considering the salary displayed by the following websites, the average salary of a security architect is around $135k ($65/hour).

    Keep in mind, this is this the medium value, the upper and lower range can vary significantly. $141,000 or $68/hour

    PayScale: $131,000 or $63/hour

    ZipRecruiter: $146,000 or $70/hour

    Glassdoor: $120,000 or $58/hour

    Do I Need a Degree for Cyber Security?

    Yes, because you’re now the SME, your looked upon as the expert by most employers.

    Employers want to ensure the architect being hired is fully capable of taking on the responsibilities of this role and have the academic background to prove it.

    Therefore, having a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement at this level. While it’s difficult to find a “security architect” degree, you can research several alternatives to get your foot in the door:

    • Information Technology (with a concentration in security, administration, or development)
    • Network Administration
    • System Administration
    • Computer Science
    • Computer Engineering
    • Network Engineering
    • Software Engineering
    • Cyber Security
    • Information Security

    Cyber Security Engineer Vs Cyber Security Architect

    Security engineers and architects, though highly skilled, have very different roles.

    Cyber security engineers work to ensure the safety of a company’s information systems from a technical aspect. They implement solutions, developed by the architect, by applying their knowledge of computer science and engineering. A cyber security engineer develops, troubleshoots, manages and maintains various information systems in order to keep them secure.

    Cyber security architects focus on the business aspects of security by designing the overall security architecture to withstand an attack. While there is a heavy technical component to this role, it’s more managerial in nature.

    A cyber security engineer does not need to have a background in business or management, although it can help, but a cyber security architect must understand these topics before entering this role.

    How to Become a Security Architect?

    Look at the steps below to help you get started on your security architect career path:

    1. Determine what line of security architect do you prefer? Interested in application-based security, or more infrastructure-based security? Do some research into the requirements and responsibilities of job descriptions that match those interests.
    2. Explore the two separate routes to become a security architect: Security Engineer or System Administrator. Determine how to can obtain one of these positions; either one is fine if you can stick with it. Expect to spend around four to five years in this line of work.
    3. If you’re a security engineer or system administrator, don’t stick with your current set of responsibilities for too long. You’ll need a broad amount of experience while you’re here so seek out opportunities to learn new things. If you’re finding that difficult, start looking for jobs that do allow you to grow. In the meantime, start really working on those soft skills.
    4. Study for the security certifications and architectural frameworks that will help you learn the necessities of becoming a security architect. Passing these certifications shows employers you’re technically qualified to move toward a higher role.
    5. If you have the time and resources, you might consider getting your MBA. It’ll teach you some of the business aspects of becoming a security architect and looks great on your resume. Some MBAs offer concentrations in IT or information systems which is even more beneficial.

    Can I Take a Security Architect Training Course?

    Yes, you can take a security architect course but be warned!

    It isn’t a substitute for the experience and the exposure requirements discussed above.

    Because a security architect position is not an entry-level position, I was able to find only two security architect bootcamps provided by Udacity and SANS.

    Fair warning, the SANS course is a prep course specifically designed to help pass the GIAC Defensible Security Architecture (GDSA) exam, but it’s still an option to think about.

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    5 Steps to Become a Cyber Security Manager!

    5 Steps to Become a Cyber Security Manager!

    If you’re interested in becoming a cyber security manager, read on as this guide will teach you everything you need to know about the job description, requirements, and salaries.

    Table of Contents

    How to become a cyber security manager in 5 easy steps!…Click below to find out more!

    What Is a Cyber Security Manager?

    What Does a Cyber Security Manager Do?

    Salary for Cyber Security Manager

    Is It Hard to Get a Cyber Security Job?

    Who Does a Cyber Security Manager Report To?

    Cyber Security Manager Qualifications

    Do Security Managers Need a College Degree?

    Do You Need Security Certifications?

    Skills Required for Cyber Security Manager

    How to Become a Cyber Security Manager?

    What Is a Cyber Security Manager?

    While the role of cyber security manager is company specific; in general, security managers are responsible for maintaining the cyber defenses of the organization in order to protect the company’s network infrastructure and ensure compliance with industry security standards.

    What Does a Cyber Security Manager Do?

    While you’ll still maintain a vital role in the daily security operations of the company; as manager, you’re also responsible for implementing, or even developing, the organizations security policies and procedures. This will require you to act as the liaison between upper management and IT by coordinating with other departments that have a stake in protecting the network infrastructure.

    Security managers will supervise a team of cybersecurity analysts, engineers, and team leads who, together, ensure that a company’s network infrastructure remain secure against cyber-attacks.; and as leader of your team, you’ll direct security tasks resulting from those coordination activities.

    Since your role is now partially administrative in nature, you can expect to be involved in more administrative meetings, in addition to any technical meetings, and be expected to work collaboratively with other stakeholders to create and monitor processes that reduce overall business risks, including the evaluation of new security policies.

    Salary for Cyber Security Manager

    How much does a cyber security manager make? The average annual salary of a cyber security manager comes to around $128k depending upon your location, experience, and seniority.

    That figure is based on the salary ranges of $81k to $154k as obtained from Payscale and $113k to $167k from

    Is It Hard to Get a Cyber Security Job?

    You’ll have to be prepared for a lot of competition because it takes time to get hired as a cybersecurity manager, even if you already have the experience.

    Roughly 20% of all cybersecurity jobs are managerial; therefore, just like any other job, you’ll need to work hard and find ways to stand out.

    Who Does a Cyber Security Manager Report To?

    A cyber security manager reports to either a senior-level cybersecurity manager, program manager, or cybersecurity director depending on the hierarchy of the organization.

    This is the person who manages multiple cyber security projects within a single program or across the different departments and locations.

    Cyber Security Manager Qualifications

    It can take about five years to become a cyber security manager, with the actual amount of time varying by person and role. If you already have cyber experience, then you have an advantage.

    It’s also worth noting the amount of time spent on learning and applying new cybersecurity skills is also an important factor. Some people are just naturally better at learning quickly than others; so, if this applies to you then this might help speed up your process too!

    Do Security Managers Need a College Degree?

    No, a college degree is not required to become a cyber security manager; however, it can help you get into the field and advance your career in the long run.

    Although debatable, many employers prefer college graduates because they feel that candidates with degrees have more knowledge of the industry and are more likely to be successful in their jobs than those without one.

    It will give you an edge when applying for jobs at companies where hiring managers may favor applicants with degrees rather than those without them (which does happen).

    Read here if you’d like to learn more about whether a cyber security degree is worth it!

    In either case, it’s important to stay up to date on security trends and technologies and be ready to learn new skills and adapt as the technology evolves.

    Do You Need Security Certifications?

    This can be one of the most difficult parts for some people, but it’s also one of the most important; so, the answer to this last question is “Yes”!

    Regardless of whether you have a degree, consider getting a security certification. Certifications require less time and money to complete than a degree and is a good investment if you’re looking to pursue this career path.

    Even if it’s a company preference, it can be helpful if you want your skills to be taken seriously. The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a good certification to have; otherwise, a Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) with a Project Management Professional (PMP) is also good combination of certifications to possess.

    Skills Required for Cyber Security Manager

    The cyber security manager is the individual who oversees protecting aspects of the company’s information and systems. This person must have an understanding of technology and be able to work with other people in a professional manner. If you want to become a successful cyber security manager, you’ll need a wide range of skills.

    Technical Expertise: It’s important to understand how the technologies and tools you use daily actually work, as well as how they interact with each other and the infrastructure. This helps you to provide additional meaning to the reports the tools produce and allows you to speak intelligently about them with leadership teams. While you may not be the person using the technology directly, it’s still important for cyber security managers to stay knowledgeable about how they function.

    Leadership Skills: Since you’re responsible for overseeing your team and making sure that projects are completed on time, leadership skills are key. You need to be able to motivate people, lead a group through tough times, and make good decisions about how to allocate resources (money, personnel). To become good at leadership, it’s important that you develop certain qualities such as empathy, confidence, decisiveness, and assertiveness (i.e., knowing when something needs looking into). Having these skills will make it much easier to work together as a team!

    Project Management Skills: Good PM skills help to ensure that all parts of a project come together at their most efficient point in time so nothing gets delayed or forgotten along the way. It also involves planning ahead so that there aren’t any surprises during execution (like when one person needs another’s input before they can finish their part). Understanding project goals, scope, budget, deliverables, and timelines are critical to the manager’s success. In addition, you’ll need to effectively manage stakeholder expectations, vendor relationships, as well as your own staff members on the project team.

    How to Become Cyber Security Manager?

    Step 1: If you want to become a cyber security manager, it’s important that you have at least 5-years of experience in information security as an analyst, engineer, or other related role.

    Step 2: It’s important that you’re at least familiar with the various other domains outside your area of expertise, but this doesn’t mean you need to be skilled in all aspects of cyber. While it can be intimidating to get into, you should learn to look at systems holistically, instead of just the individual parts. This is a good reason to get your security certifications!

    Step 3: Experience aside, because everyone is trying to make their way to the top, being a manager is not for those looking for a 9-to-5 job. You’ll be expected to put in the extra hours, sometimes weekends, and help when the boss needs you. This will be your opportunity to test out your leadership skills, and trust that your supervisor is taking note.

    Step 4: As you move up the ladder, it’s best to find an opportunity where you have access to mentors who can teach you about cyber security and help you learn from your mistakes. You’ll want to build a network of people in the field who can help you grow. The more advanced your knowledge becomes, the better the chance you have of getting hired as a cyber security manager.

    Step 5: Once a leadership position becomes available, all that’s left to do is apply and get the recommendation of your peers.

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    How to Become a Security Auditor

    How to Become a Security Auditor

    Interested in becoming a security auditor?

    If you’ve decided to look towards an entry level cybersecurity job, a security auditor is one such career to be considered.

    Today’s article discusses the responsibilities, the necessary education and experience, and the skills expected of a security auditor.


    What is a security auditor? A security auditor is a cyber professional whose core role is to assess an organization’s information systems to ensure it meets known security standards.

    Their responsibilities include testing, investigation, execution and reporting of the organization’s IT infrastructure, database, applications, etc.

    Although having a degree in cybersecurity or other IT-related degree is preferable, it isn’t required and can be easily substituted for a security certification.

    No experience is needed for an entry level auditor role; however, more senior positions require up to five year of experience; the expected average salary is $82K per year.

    There are several technical skills (e.g. understanding security standards, operating systems, database platforms, design & development, programming, audit tools, and reporting) in addition to soft skills needed to become a security auditor.

    What is a Security Audit?

    For those of you new to cybersecurity, a security audit is an assessment of the security of an organization’s IT systems as measured against an established industry or government standard.

    A security audit will assess an information system for security controls, encryption techniques, network vulnerabilities, as well as any other predetermined metrics.

    They can be performed monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually; however, the decision of how frequently these audits are done should be made after a proper assessment of the organization’s IT infrastructure.

    Responsibilities of Security Auditors

    As part of your responsibilities, you will be expected to:

    • Explain to the relevant stakeholders the overview of the audit process. For better planning and goal setting, management and all the other concerned parties in the organization need to know how the audit will be executed.
    • Test IT infrastructure, database, applications and other relevant components to ensure organizational security meets the set standards. The standards used to benchmark are either set internally or by the industry in which the organization belongs. Potential applicants to the security auditing field are advised that organizations with multiple sites may require the auditor to travel extensively between these sites.
    • Investigate and perform a detailed analysis of recent breaches and security concerns. If the organization has had previous security concerns or breaches, the security auditor needs to come up with recommendations on how such situations could be avoided in the future by following all the set security standards.
    • Prepare technical reports based upon the audit results as well as including any recommendations to improve the organization’s security. Since the report usually contains technical jargon for security personnel, the auditors may also prepare a simplified version of the report for other, less technical stakeholders.

    What are the Educational Requirements?

    Degrees obtained by security auditors’ range anywhere from an Associate degree to a Master’s degree in cybersecurity, computer science, information technology, information systems, software engineering, or other IT-related degree program.

    Because of the intense demand of cybersecurity professionals, many businesses have slowly forgone the need for applicants to have a degree and are also willing to hire those with security certificates.

    There are certain certifications that will give you an edge in the job market.

    Some of the popular security certifications that could boost your chances of landing a security auditor job include:

    Regardless of whether you have a degree, certificate, or both, studying these programs will give you a firm foundation in cybersecurity which is essential in the daily tasks of security auditors.

    Experience Required to Become a Security Auditor.

    Different organizations have different experience requirements; while some will offer this position as an entry-level job, others prefer hiring an applicant with a couple years working in an IT or cyber security-related position.

    Getting a senior position as a security auditor requires at least 5 years of experience in a security-related field.

    If you’re a student, the most effective way to gain this experience is through an internship or volunteer program.

    The expected salary for a security auditor range between $59K for an entry level auditor position to $113K for more senior level positions, with the average being $82K yearly.

    A security auditor can be hired as a full-time employee or consultant depending on how frequent security audits are to be done throughout the year.

    Required Skills to Become a Security Auditor.

    Let’s discuss some of the technical and soft skills that one needs to become a security auditor.

    Technical skills

      Ideally, a good security auditor needs to be well conversant with computer hardware, software, and networking. This means having to understand:

    • Security standards. Understanding standards, depending on your organizational requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), or other benchmark while auditing the IT infrastructure, applications and toolsets of an organization.
    • Operating systems. A security auditor needs to have knowledge and experience using the different operating systems, including macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. This knowledge is key while auditing information systems that use these operating systems.
    • Database platforms. Databases such as SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL are the popular databases. The auditor should be familiar with them to provide a proper analysis.
    • Design & Development. It is much easier to audit an information system if you have a good understanding of how they were designed and developed.
    • Computer programming skills. A security auditor needs to have some basic to intermediate-level knowledge in computer programming languages, including Python, PHP, C, C++, C#, and Java. Knowing how the underlying code to a program works, makes it easier for the auditor to understand what’s happening under the hood when a certain system is running.
    • Vulnerability scanning, audit and network defense tools. A security auditor should have proficiency in reviewing and analyzing the tool’s outputs to conduct efficient and thorough audits.
    • Reporting. After the completion of an audit, a security auditor needs to prepare a technical report with all the necessary findings regarding the security status of the various IT systems. These reports should be comprehensive as they’re used as baselines to determine if the organization is improving its security posture over time.

    Soft skills

    • Detail oriented. A good security auditor needs to pay attention to every aspect of the IT system if they’re to make a proper assessment of their security status.
    • Critical thinking. Assessing and evaluating IT systems requires someone that looks beyond the surface. One has to dig deep into the system to ensure that all its components meet the minimum-security standards.
    • Communication. A security auditor needs to collaborate with colleagues in the IT and security departments while doing their work.

    by Amit Doshi

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