Overview of Security Architect Jobs

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Security architects are one of the most common mid to senior-level information assurance roles, and one of the most important. Security architects are the primary builder and overseer of implementation of secure networks and computer systems. Think of the security architect as the highest up the cyber security organizational structure you can go with a primarily technical role. While this role is “big picture” and requires planning and leading of others in executing the plan, security architects are often where the buck stops as far as ensuring security systems work.

Security Architect Job Description:

  • Creating, enforcing, and mentoring more junior team members in proper security protocols/procedures
  • Integrating security processes with business goals, performing security and vulnurability analyses, preparing cost analyses
  • Developing security requirements for all information technology and systems: VPNs, LANs, WANs, PKIs, hardware and software
  • Verifing efficacy of security systems
  • Conducting incident response analyses
  • Training team members
  • Retain full responsibility for success of technical and policy information assurance ventures
  • Constantly enhancing knowledge of new security protocols, techniques, threats.

Common Career Progression to and from Security Architect

Security architects commonly start at more entry level positions in a cyber security organization, including roles such as Security Administrator, Network Administrator, or System Administrator. With some experience or more specialized schooling, they often progress through more mid-level roles such as Security Analyst, Security Engineer, or Security Consultant.

Upon obtaining the title of security architect (a senior level position), several years of experience can lead to the common transition to roles such as senior security architect or chief information security officer.

Educational Background Needed for Security Architect Positions

While lower level technical positions offer some opportunity for talented individuals to work up the ranks without an undergraduate degree in computer science and security, the extent to which Security Architects are the head security technologists at their organizations require very solid technical chops. While some security architects hold bachelors, 5-10 years of job experience and certifications, many security architects also hold technical masters degrees.

Technical Skills Needed for Security Architect Positions

While this skillset may vary from organization to organization, many of the most requested include the following:

  • Risk assessment reporting
  • Knowledge of proper authorization procedures
  • Advanced knowledge of domain specific threats and how to circumvent them
  • ISO 27001/27002, ITIL and COBIT frameworks
  • Advanced knowledge of enterprise and security architecture
  • Knowledge of all hardware systems at play in your organization: Firewalls, VPNs, LANs, WANs, routers, etc.
  • Central concepts related to routing, authentication, and proxy services
  • How to audit risk associated with cloud-based solutions

Note that there may be a number of security architects working on the same team, each with their own different strengths and knowledge bases. Though security architects should have a solid background in the above categories.

Non-Technical Skills Needed for Security Architect Positions

As a thought leader, teacher, and managerial position as well as a technical position, security architects need a variety of non-technical skills:

  • Ability to clearly communicate difficult concepts to junior team members and other stakeholders
  • Ability to organize in pursuit of “big picture” objectives as well as minutia
  • Ability to manage many projects of different scopes at once
  • Ability to strategically think and parse analyses of cyber security situations

Job Outlook and Salary Information for Security Architects

There are thousands of current openings for security architects online, and while this may not be as many as roles like network administrator or security analyst, security architects are farther up the career chain. Security architect positions are projected to grow by 13% by 2024, which is a much faster rate than most fields. The median salary of security architects is $98,430, though can range from $45,000 – $120,000+.