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How Do I Become a Systems Security Engineer?

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  • Written By: K. Reynolds
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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A person looking to become a systems security engineer will need to have a good understanding of the potential security risks that can threaten the integrity of an information system. System security engineers are responsible for designing information systems that are secure from attack from hackers, as well as determining potential flaws in a system that could be susceptible to attack. Those who wish to become a systems security engineer should have adequate formal education as well as several industry certifications in order to get ahead in this competitive industry.

Most individuals attempting to become a systems security engineer hold college degrees in a technical discipline, such as information systems, information technology, computer science, or engineering. Aspiring security engineers should focus on a degree program that specializes in information system security in order to gain specific insight into the skills needed to perform the duties of a systems security engineer. Those looking to obtain additional education can pursue a graduate degree in the arena of information systems or data security.

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In addition to formal education, many systems security engineers are required to obtain industry-specific certifications in order to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise. Entry level security engineers in the U.S. tend to acquire the CompTIA® Security+® certification first in order to break into the industry. After gaining several years of experience, many security engineers who are committed to the industry become an (ISC)2® Certified Information Systems Security Professional® (CISSP), which is considered by many to be the flagship certification of the industry and has been adopted as the standard in systems security by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Systems security engineer duties include designing computer security systems, as well as monitoring and updating existing systems, administrators, and users. Many businesses and government agencies depend on system security engineers to protect sensitive information and ensure the integrity of the computer systems. The nature of the position can often call for around the clock management, requiring that system engineers work in a variety of shifts and be on-call 24 hours a day.

The increase in Internet usage and online commerce will raise the demand for system security engineers in the future. As technology continues to advance, there will be a need for knowledgeable and experienced engineers who can help to protect this technology from outside threats. Anyone looking to become a systems security engineer may be pleased to know that the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that the available positions in this career will continue to increase for years to come.

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