Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, with over one-third of polled executives reporting attacks on their organization’s sensitive financial and accounting data in 2022. To add to this, Gartner predicted that a “lack of talent or human failure” would likely be responsible for half of the significant cyber incidents by 2025.
To combat these predictions and create an armored front, organizations are looking to strengthen their internal information security teams with highly skilled cybersecurity engineers. Cybersecurity engineers, also referred to as information security engineers or data/IT/web security engineers, are pivotal job functions that require specific skill types and experience to be effective against incoming cybersecurity threats.
This article will outline how to write a cybersecurity engineer job description by reviewing qualifications, and roles and responsibilities to attract the right candidates and maintain a strong corporate security front.
What Is a Cybersecurity Engineer, and Why Are They So Crucial?
Cybersecurity engineers safeguard businesses’ sensitive data, information, computers, and networking systems from incoming hackers or cyber-attacks. These roles are critical in the current digital landscape as companies, from large to small, are considered “reachable targets” to cyber criminals. A single cyber-attack has the potential to impact an organization’s reputation, operations, and revenue, with attackers focusing on open-source vulnerabilities, advanced phishing methods, business email compromises, identity theft, and more.
Given the large-scale risks at hand, cybersecurity engineers are considered critical job functions that should be highly vetted and fairly compensated for their role within an organization.
Basic Elements of a Cybersecurity Engineer Job Description
Given the vital function of a cybersecurity engineer, attention should be paid to each section of the job description to ensure the final candidate fits the unique needs of your security program.
- Job Title—Select a job title that is eye-catching, yet clear, concise, and accurate to the job function. Do market research and select a standard title that qualified applicants will recognize.
- Summary of the Roles and Responsibilities—Think critically about how you want to summarize the role by considering:
- What is the key function/overarching goal of the cybersecurity engineer?
- How will the cybersecurity engineer support the organization’s security program initiatives?
- Who will the cybersecurity engineer be expected to interact with within this role (across teams, departments, regions, etc.)?
- Are there any special considerations or expectations you want the cybersecurity engineer to know?
- Day-to-Day Breakdown—Provide a detailed breakdown of the day-to-day responsibilities so candidates can visualize themselves in the cybersecurity engineer role. Consult with other team members to ensure the breakdown is accurate, digestible, and easy to understand so you attract the right candidate.
What Qualifications Should You Look for In a Cybersecurity Engineer?
Consider the full gamut of qualifications, tools, and knowledge base the ideal candidate would possess to properly fill the position. Be sure to list the qualifications in order of descending importance and note if a skill is considered ‘required’ or ‘preferred’ for the candidate to be considered. In general, cybersecurity engineers should possess the following qualifications:
Beginner cybersecurity engineers should be prepared to deploy knowledge acquired through internships, previous work experience, education, and certifications. Therefore, they should possess experience in a cybersecurity atmosphere that includes security incident detection, mitigation, and forensics. Other qualifications include:
- Experience in endpoint security and overseeing firewall protection.
- Proficiency in the languages and tools used within the organization’s systems and networks. These typically include Java, C++, Python, Node, Ruby, and more.
- The ability to respond quickly and effectively to incoming security incidents, which requires agility and a cool temperament under pressure.
- A firm understanding of existing and emerging cybersecurity trends, tactics, and solutions.
Mid-level cybersecurity engineers will gain experience in managing cybersecurity programs and teams; therefore, they should have the same qualifications as entry-level candidates, plus several years of professional experience on a cybersecurity team. They are expected to have experience working on a variety of security projects and responding to major threats with organization-wide security solutions.
As leaders on the cybersecurity team, senior-level expectations are high. They should have eight to ten years of experience in a cybersecurity role, with several of those in a mid-level role. They will be making decisions that impact the security of the entire organization, so they should be knowledgeable on security management, implementation, forensics, and decision-making for entire system infrastructures.
They should have demonstrated executive decision-making, strong intrapersonal skills, and analytical/critical throughout their career to lead the cybersecurity team through oncoming cyber attacks.
What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Cybersecurity Engineer?
Responsibilities of a cybersecurity engineer will generally breakdown by experience as follows:
- Implement cybersecurity measures.
- Respond to cybersecurity threats in a prompt and effective matter.
- Respond swiftly to any security breaches or cybercriminals.
- Assist in developing security solutions to incoming threats.
- Proactively run stress testing on organization systems and networks.
- Automate / upgrade cybersecurity tools.
- Troubleshoot network issues while monitoring security threats.
- Maintain security measures to safeguard the organization’s infrastructure, data, and financial information.
- Take an active role in security investigations.
- Evaluate the ongoing security needs of the organization and establish standard operating procedures to respond to inbound security issues.
- Develop and implement threat models.
- Stay continuously educated on new threats or attack vectors.
- Perform routine security assessments/audits on networks, systems, code, controls, and applications.
- Work cross-departmentally to implement security controls.
- Conduct penetrative “stress testing” / scans to proactively identify and fix potential security vulnerabilities.
- Ensure routine administrative tasks, such as security reporting and cross-departmental communication, are upheld.
- Support any internal change management processes to systems or networks to ensure stability and security aren’t compromised.
- Take a lead role in security investigations.
- Oversee and maintain the organization’s information security program.
- This can span from designing, implementing, maintaining, and upgrading organization-wide security measures to protect the company’s sensitive data, systems, networks, and hardware.
- Identify vulnerabilities or areas of improvement to consistently provide the highest level of cybersecurity.
- Oversee change management processes when overhauling or upgrading security systems.
- About the Company
What Is the Job Market for a Cybersecurity Engineer?
The demand for cybersecurity engineers has grown 35% following the COVID-19 pandemic, and over 19,000 vacancies for these roles were reported in 2021. Their critical nature and high demand are why Forbes recommends the following salary breakdown:
- Beginner Level: Between $88,000 – $100,000
- Mid-Level: Between $92,000 – $107,500
- Senior Level: Between $130,000 – $159,750
Find Your Right-Fit Cybersecurity Candidate
Regardless of the level of experience or coding language, finding the right cybersecurity engineer is critical for the success of an organization’s entire security program. It can benefit recruiters to outsource their cybersecurity talent for specialized services, but recruiting an in-house team and hugely strengthen the level of security for an organization.
Carefully assess your security needs, budget, and security landscape to ensure the cybersecurity job description recruits the right candidates for your needs. For assistance reaching a larger pool of cybersecurity professionals, reach out to our team.
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