What Is an Information Systems Security Engineer?

Explore the career requirements for an information systems security engineer. Get the facts about degree programs, certifications and potential earnings to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Information Systems Security Engineer?

Information systems security engineers are responsible for planning and implementing safety measures for computer networks. As engineers, they maintain antivirus presence across networks, perform regular security tests, and communicate to the rest of a company or organization how to handle security system procedures. Typically, security engineers work in teams with other engineers to develop software solutions. In the event of a cyber attack, they are called upon to respond and mitigate damage. They may also be called on to testify in a court if a trial takes place.

The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a information systems security engineer.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Management information systems, computer science
Certification Certification can substitute for bachelor's degree (must have work experience)
Key Responsibilities Install security software, perform security testing, update virus protection systems, train users in security system procedures
Job Growth (2014-2024) 18% (for information security analysts)*
Median Salary (2015) $90,313 (security engineer, information systems')**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **Payscale.com

Information Systems Security Engineer Job Duties

Information systems security engineers install security software, perform security testing of data processing systems, update computer virus protection systems, evaluate security violations and train users in security system procedures. Other duties might include repairing security file errors and monitoring access to computer files. Sometimes, when a computer security crime has been committed, these workers compile evidence that's used by law enforcement.

What are the Educational Requirements?

If you'd like to become an information systems security engineer, you should acquire a 4-year bachelor's degree in a field such as management information systems or computer science. For some employers, work experience and a professional certification may be an acceptable substitute for a bachelor's degree.

A management information science program might consist of such classes as programming languages, communications software, computer software and hardware, systems implementation and construction, operations management and business communication. Some programs require completion of an internship with a real-world business.

If you major in computer science, you'll take courses such as sequential circuits, algorithms and data structures, Windows network administration, computer ethics and network security, firewall security implementation and intrusion detection. Some computer science programs expect you to enroll in an experiential learning course; you could gain first-hand work experience at a computer company or a government agency.

Get Certified

Though not typically required, your job opportunities could be enhanced by obtaining a professional certification; In some cases, certification may be required by a particular employer. Computer organizations and computer product vendors are possible sources for obtaining certification. For example, You could earn a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential through the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium. Requirements for certification include five years of work experience in computer security or a related field and successful completion of a written exam.

How Much Money Could I Earn?

According to Payscale.com, systems security engineers made a median annual wage of approximately $90,313 in 2017. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that information security analysts earned a median annual salary of about $90,120 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer network architects are responsible for the design and implementation of either local area or wide area networks, as well as intranet systems. Meanwhile, database administrators can expect to use software to secure information inside a database, which might include sensitive or confidential material. Software developers also require a bachelor's degree, and may work to create new security programs for home or corporate devices.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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