Duties and responsibilities
Day to day duties are determined by their employer but there are many core tasks associated with the role:
- Testing for network vulnerabilities: You will work with a larger information security team to evaluate, test and troubleshoot technologies. You will have to identify, diagnose and resolve information security issues. Typical threats that challenge network security include viruses, trojan horses, phishing, spyware and adware.
- Prepare reports: You will be expected to write reports of your assessment-based findings and outcomes for management and IT teams to see.
- Create network security policies: You will play a role in devising comprehensive network security policies and outlining security issues that need to be addressed.
- Produce documentation: You will need to create and maintain comprehensive documentation related to server and security infrastructure to ensure proper protocols and processes are in place.
- Manage vendor relationships: You must keep strong relationships with integrators and vendors to maintain upgrades, installations and planning of new features and solutions.
A network security engineer is a highly technical job and therefore many employers will look for a bachelor?s degree in a field such as computer science, software engineering, systems engineering or information systems.
After obtaining a degree, normally have to obtain specialized certificates to boost your career. This include things such as: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), CompTIA Security+, GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials or Cisco CCIE Security.
The good news is that Cybrary offers a career path that takes 107 hours to complete that will aid you in becoming a network security engineer. It is an entry level career path, however they recommend that an understanding of IT Fundamentals would be helpful to tackle some of the more advanced concepts. With this online course you will receive the CCNA, CCNP Switch, Network+ and CompTIA Linux+ certificates.
Skills and relevant work experience
Some positions do require the certificates listed above and five years of relevant experience. However, most business will offer hands-on training when you start the job.
Employers will also look for organized individuals who thrive in fast-paced and high-stress environments. They will also look for adaptable individuals, are you will have to work in multiple teams, which means you need to be flexible and adaptable.
You will also need to be able to demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills as a key requirement of the role is to produce written reports and to be able to communicate network security issues to peers and management clearly and effectively
Finally, problem-solving skills are highly desirable as security problems and threats can happen at any time, so it is expected that engineers will research and resolve issues effectively.
It will also be advantageous to have an understanding of the following tools:
- Cisco and Fortinet
- LAN/WAN concepts
- Application firewalls, SIEM, IDS/IPS
- Unix and Windows
Network security engineers typically work normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). However, you might have to work additional hours if an emergency occurs.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual wage as $95,510 per year. Payscale suggests that the average entry-level salary is $73,015 annually.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics has predicted a 28% growth of employment by 2026. As technology advances and hackers get better, the demand for these jobs is very high and will only get higher.
You can work as part of an organization, this will often require some traveling between sites to oversee the replacement or installation of system architecture. There is also a growing desire and demand for freelance network security engineers, as these are cost effective for organizations.