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What Is an Information Security Engineer?
Information security engineers are IT professionals who specialize in protecting sensitive data. Working for clients or organizations, these engineers are tasked with implementing protective measures to keep information secure.
This job is both proactive and reactive. Not only do information security engineers need to install firewalls and other security systems to prevent cyberattacks, but they also need to take action in the event that a breach does occur and information is lost or stolen.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Analytical and problem-solving skills, attention to detail|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$95,510 (all information security analysts)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||28% (all information security analysts)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Aspiring information security engineers will need a bachelor's degree in order to find employment. Ideal majors include information systems, computer science, or information assurance.
Depending on the type of information that an engineer protects, a background in business can provide a competitive advantage when supplemented with technical knowledge. Earning an MBA allows individuals to learn how businesses operate and can provide valuable insight when trying to understand how a company organizes its information.
As is the case with most technical careers, problem-solving skills are required. Information security engineers are often called on to troubleshoot issues, find solutions to bugs and glitches, and resolve software problems. For this reason, analytical skills are also critical, as engineers need to know how to break down a problem, devise a solution, and implement it, usually when working under pressure and with time constraints.
Attention to detail is another mandatory talent. Engineers need to ensure that all loopholes are closed and any issues are double-checked; inattentiveness can leave information vulnerable.
On the interpersonal side of things, engineers need to have good communication skills when interacting with clients. Clients typically have limited programming knowledge, so engineers need to be able to explain issues in a clear manner.
Career Outlook and Salary
In short, it is a very good time to be an information security engineer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 28% growth in this field from 2016-2026, a rate that is four times the national average of 7%.
This aggressive growth is due to the increasingly digital nature of record keeping across all industries. Just about every company stores all of its information on computer databases: financial records, sales reports, customer data, etc. Given the sensitive nature of these records (as well as the legal repercussions inherent in the mishandling of customers' personal information), the need to hire individuals who can protect this data is at an all-time high.
Information security engineers are compensated well for their work. These professionals earned a median yearly salary of $95,510 as of May 2017, a figure that is also several times greater than the national average for all occupations ($37,690). More senior engineers can expect to receive even higher salaries, as the BLS also reported that the highest 10 percent received salaries of over $153,090.
If being an information security engineer sounds like an appealing career, you may also be interested in the following professions: