For junior cyber security engineers, the future is bright in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cyber security is expected to grow 33 percent faster through 2030 than all other occupations. This means opportunities for job growth, but what exactly is the difference between junior vs senior cyber security engineers?
This guide will show you how long it takes to become a senior cyber security engineer, the salaries of junior vs. senior cyber security engineers, and what experience requirements there are to advance to a senior-level cyber security job.
What Is a Cyber Security Engineer?
Cyber security engineers specialize in securing systems, data, and networks with hardware, software, and security policies. They leverage computer science and electrical engineering knowledge to understand and manipulate cyberspace. Digital forensics, security policy, and penetration testing are some of the essential skills of a cyber security engineer.
Why are cyber security engineers in high demand? While the Internet is a lucrative space that allows companies to perform tasks efficiently, it poses challenges such as fraud. Cyber security professionals design security systems and enhance application security to prevent cyber security risks.
Junior vs. Senior Cyber Security Engineering: Areas of Responsibility
Even though junior and senior cyber security engineers perform similar tasks, they have distinct responsibilities based on their academic qualifications, years of experience, and skill level. Below are some of the responsibilities you will perform based on your professional experience.
Junior Cyber Security Engineering Job Description
- Test digital infrastructures. Junior cyber security engineers assess digital infrastructures for security vulnerabilities that may affect the entire security plan and pose potential threats. This helps companies access data and other essential information before hackers do.
- Build security protections. Junior cyber security engineers develop and implement software or other security technologies to secure the company’s information, for instance, data structure firewalls and encryption algorithms.
- Develop and disseminate security plans. Once the junior cyber security engineers collaborate with the senior engineer to create a security plan, they educate the rest of the company on how best to implement such procedures.
- Investigate security issues. When there’s a security threat, junior cyber security engineers investigate the cause and develop a solution to prevent it from happening again by using their analytical skills to conduct risk analysis.
- Security monitoring. Junior cyber security engineers monitor systems and software for early intrusion detection to prevent security breaches.
Senior Cyber Security Engineering Job Description
- Leading and executing projects. Cyber security engineers provide professional guidance to staff at the intermediate and entry-level stages of a project, including defining roles and assisting them when they hit a technical snag.
- Network security architecture. Due to their proficiency in this field, senior cyber security engineers establish and sustain network security structures. This ensures the company’s system is protected against security breaches.
- Internal and public assessments. Senior cyber security engineers collaborate with third parties to perform internal and public assessments, for instance, vulnerability assessments and application scanning.
- Enabling security controls. Senior security engineers activate the appropriate security controls to ensure the company’s data and network systems are secure.
- Planning, implementing, and upgrading security plans. Cyber security engineers must constantly develop new security measures as new developments pose more challenging threats and issues.
Junior vs. Senior Cyber Security Engineering Salaries
Depending on your skill level, cyber security engineering offers varying salaries. The responsibilities also determine the amount of salary you will earn. For instance, an entry-level cyber security engineer salary is lower compared to the salary of a senior professional who has more responsibilities to perform.
Junior Cyber Security Engineering Salary
According to ZipRecruiter, junior cyber security engineers earn an average annual salary of $95,673. However, you can receive a higher or lower amount depending on the location. Some of the highest-paying cities in the United States include San Mateo, CA, Berkeley, CA, and Daly City, CA.
Senior Cyber Security Engineering Salary
Senior cyber security engineers earn an average salary of $121,781 yearly. Previous experience also determines a senior cyber security engineer’s compensation amount. Unlike the junior cyber security engineer, these professionals receive a higher salary due to their skill level and responsibility for the organization’s entire security.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Junior Cyber Security Engineer?
Cyber security bootcamps usually take six to 12 months to complete, while cyber security degrees take two to four years. Depending on the program you enroll in, you can become a junior cyber security engineer after six months or four years.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Senior Cyber Security Engineer?
It takes at least five years to become a senior cyber security engineer. Once you complete your degree program, you need to gain five years of working experience in this field. This helps you qualify for the CISSP credential through the (ISC)² International Information System Security Certification Consortium.
Career Path and Progression from Junior to Senior Cyber Security Engineer
1. Education Advancement
Senior cyber security engineer roles demand higher education qualifications, for instance, a master’s or doctoral degree in related fields. Depending on the cyber security company you apply to, you may need to specialize in information security or information technology engineering. Gaining further education will open up more opportunities for advancement.
While additional education, level of experience, and specialized skill requirements are necessary, you need to network with other leading cyber security engineers to advance your career further. They may refer you for a senior role at your dream company if they find you fit the right criteria.
3. Industry Certifications
An employee in the cyber security field cannot thrive without matching certain standards. That’s why it’s important to complete tech certificate programs to advance in the field. By doing this, employers are able to see that you are a qualified cyber security engineer who can protect their systems from cybercrimes with the most recent technology and knowledge.
4. Attend Cyber Security Events
Cyber security events offer numerous benefits to professionals in this field regardless of their skill level. They focus on enhancing attendees’ skills and knowledge to build successful careers with the most up-to-date information in the field. Some of the sessions you can leverage include talks, workshops, and community events.
As a junior cyber security engineer looking to become a senior engineer, you need excellent performance and high productivity. You can accomplish this through skill enhancement and specialization.
Should You Become a Cyber Security Engineer?
If you have a passion for technology and cyber security, this is your career path. Nevertheless, you need to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills through different schools and cyber security programs to accomplish this. You may enroll in a college or university once you complete high school to pursue a bachelor’s degree program.
Alternatively, you can attend a short-term program such as a coding bootcamp which takes between three to nine months to complete. These courses are fast-paced with a market-driven curriculum that prepares its students for the job market they’re applying for.
Junior vs. Senior Cyber Security Engineering Salaries FAQ
You can pursue a Bacher of Science in Cyber Security Engineering at Tallinn University of Technology, Dallas Baptist University, and Albany. The degree programs in these schools take three to four years to complete.
If you want more flexibility when studying, you might consider enrolling in an online university. Hodges University, for instance, offers an online Bachelor’s Degree program in Cyber Security Engineering that you can finish in 40 months. The university also offers part-time and full-time study options.
A CISO, or Chief Information Security Officer, oversees an organization’s security initiatives. During security incidents, they lead the cyber incident response team during investigations and implementation of countermeasures during cyber threats.
One of the main cyber security skills you need to build a successful career is cross-platform cyber security and hacking. This requires hands-on experience working on numerous devices, cloud platforms, and operating systems. You also need skills in digital forensics and problem-solving.
The cyber security industry offers numerous job opportunities, including security architect, ethical hacker, cyber security consultant, and cyber security analyst.
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