How to become a Security Architect
What is a Security Architect?
A Security Architect’s main objective is to develop and test security tools and infrastructure in order to protect an organization’s network and systems. Security Architects need to be able to understand vulnerabilities and threats both from a hacker’s perspective and a security perspective. For this reason, many believe that ex-hackers make the best Security Architects. Designing and maintaining security solutions are the top priorities for a Security Architect and thus, need to be able to produce an end-to-end defense, with as much transparency as possible, for an organization.
What is the Average Salary?
According to PayScale, a Security Architect makes anywhere from $85,000 to $150,000; making the median $118,898.
What are a Security Architect’s Responsibilities?
Based on dozens of job listings for Security Architects, here is a short list of responsibilities, frequently required across industries for the Security Architect role:
- Assisting in the design and deployment of tech solutions throughout the business
- Evaluate and Identify changes/issues to major infrastructure
- Develops and maintains security processes
- Performs and maintains compliance efforts with laws and industry regulations
- Review and develop application design and recommend remediation plans
- Create and deploy organization wide protocol and processes
- Oversee multiple projects
- Ensure best-practices are being communicated and leveraged throughout the organization
- Partner with stakeholders to understand the business requirements
What Educational Background is required?
Security Architects need to be specialists in their space, and therefore require a more comprehensive educational and experiential background than other cyber security career paths. A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Cybersecurity or related field is a must for this role. Industry specific certifications are highly encouraged among job listings, especially CISSP and CEH. Also, a higher level of experience is required for this role with the lowest I found falling in the 5-year minimum category, with others going as far as a 12-year minimum category. It’s safe to say, that a competitive applicant would have at least 7 years of Security Architecture experience.
What Certifications should I take?
Extra Credit- CHFI- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator
Where should I start?
With the amount of expertise required of the Security Architect role, formal education (undergraduate degree) is the best place to start. After this, add specialty knowledge to your education with industry certifications such as CISSP and CEH. Then, as the interviewees in our Women in Tech: Cyber Security continually advise, build a portfolio of mentors who will help you get the needed experience as well as advocate for you when you’re applying for work.
Security Architect not for you? Learn How to become a Penetration Tester here!
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