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Cyber Security Engineer: A Job Overview

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


April 13, 2023

6 min read

A cyber security engineer is an IT professional who is dedicated to designing and implementing various security measures to keep computer networks and data systems secure. 


In this article, we’ll give an overview of the cyber security engineer’s role and provide details regarding the tasks, responsibilities and required skills for this essential computer science career. We will also take a close look at the education requirements, industry-recognized certifications and projected job growth for this occupation. 

What Does a Cyber Security Engineer Do?

Cyber security engineers play a critical role in protecting and defending the information systems so many people and enterprises depend on.  

Malicious hackers and cybercriminals prey upon computer networks and data systems and can cause significant damage to businesses worldwide in the form of lost revenue, disrupted operations, reputational damage and stolen intellectual property (IP), to name a few. In 2022, the annual loss related to cybercrime according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) amounted to $10.3 billion, up from $6.9 billion in 2021. But the damage isn’t only measured in dollars and cents. The number of compromised data cases in the United States in 2022 was 18.2 billion, affecting more than 422 million individuals due to data breaches, leakage and other exposure.  

Cyber security engineers work on the front lines of the battle against cybercrime, designing and configuring solutions to help companies secure their computer networks and data systems against incursions by cybercriminals. Working to uncover system vulnerabilities, cyber security engineers often work with other cybersecurity professionals or departments outside of IT to address threats and provide guidance for cyber hygiene and network security. Their specific duties may include the following: 

    • Penetration testing: To test computer networks, application and data systems for vulnerabilities, cyber security engineers may take on the role of an ethical hacker using the same techniques that a malicious hacker might use to try to gain access to the system.

    • Network maintenance: A cyber security engineer may handle the installation, testing and configuration of networks. 

    • IT system security: Installing and configuring security devices along with developing network security protocols may also be part of the job for a cybersecurity engineer. 

Common Skills Found in Cyber Security Engineers

You’ll find that a variety of hard and soft skills, from technical training to creativity, are useful in the cyber security engineer’s role. Here is a partial list:

    • Problem solving: Like engineers in many other industries, cyber security engineers are troubleshooters. They identify problems before or after they occur and implement solutions that prevent them from happening again. 

    • Technical skills: Knowledge of coding languages, intrusion detection, operating systems, security planning and auditing, ethical hacking and other security, programming and diagnostic tools may be required for this career.

    • Math skills: Professionals in this field use a number of math-related tools and concepts to devise cyber security solutions.

    • Analytical abilities: Particularly in the investigation of cyber security incidents, cyber security engineers use analytical skills to evaluate risk, gather data, conduct security audits and assess information to make critical decisions affecting network security.

    • Innovative thinking: The ability to think outside the box can enable engineers in this profession to look at problems in unique ways, developing unconventional approaches to achieve beneficial outcomes.

    • Teamwork: Skills like active listening, empathy, time management and communication help improve the efficiency and productivity of a team. Cyber security engineers use these skills daily as they interact with team members and collaborate with other departments to solve problems or achieve goals.

Education Requirements for Cyber Security Engineering

How do you train to become a cyber security engineer? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes cyber security professionals in a category called Information Security Analysts, and state that professionals in this field typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer information technology or a related discipline, but exact requirements may vary across employers.  

At DeVry, we offer online and hybrid undergraduate degree and certificate programs that can help you build your understanding of some of the security challenges you might find in today’s cyber landscape, and may help you on your journey as you prepare to pursue cyber security career opportunities. Our cyber security curriculum is acknowledged and verified as an approved provider by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS). 

The BLS also notes that many employers prefer to hire candidates for cyber security jobs who’ve earned various information technology certifications. Certifications by CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) and EC-Council are intended to validate the skills of cyber security professionals and candidates for cyber security roles.  

At DeVry, several of our tech programs are designed with these certifications in mind. A partial list of cyber security-related certifications includes:

    • CompTIA Network+ verifies the skills needed to establish, maintain and troubleshoot the essential information networks. 

    • CompTIA PenTest+ validates the skills of cyber security professionals who are responsible for penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, and data system vulnerability management. 

    • CompTIA Security+ is chosen by more corporations and defense organizations than any other available certification to validate baseline skills and fulfill DoD 8570 compliance and, according to CompTIA, is the first security certification candidates for cyber security roles should learn. 

    • Certified Ethical Hacker is a structured, professional course and exam administered by the EC-Council for aspiring penetration testers.  

  • CompTIA CySA (Cybersecurity Analyst)+ is intended to improve the overall state of network security and prevent, detect and combat cyber security threats through continuous security monitoring.

Cyber Security Engineering Job Outlook

Citing the rise of e-commerce, the shift to remote work and new data security challenges for healthcare providers, the BLS projects high demand for information security analysts over the next decade

How strong will this demand be? The BLS projects employment of information security analysts to grow 35% from 2021 through 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. They also project about 19,500 job openings in this occupation each year, on average, over this period. It’s important to note however this growth is projected on a national level and local growth will vary by location. This projection is not specific to DeVry graduates and may include earners at all stages of their careers.

Prepare to Pursue a Career in Cyber Security at DeVry

If you’re ready to transform your passion into a profession, we can help you gain the skills you need to learn how to safeguard information systems and prepare to pursue a career in this exciting field. 

Designed with our Tech-Core curriculum, the Cyber Security Specialization in our Bachelor’s in Information Technology and Networking offers hands-on learning opportunities to help familiarize you with networks, software and security technologies. Experienced faculty make online learning productive and engaging and offer real-world insight on many of the challenges faced by today’s cyber security professionals. 

Let’s talk about how you can get started in our next session. 

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