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Network Security Engineer Job Description

Network security engineers are responsible for the provisioning, deployment, configuration, and administration of many different pieces of network and security-related hardware and software. These include firewalls, routers, switches, various network-monitoring tools, and virtual private networks (VPNs). These engineers are a company’s first line of defense against unauthorized access from outside sources and potential security threats. Not only does a network security engineer know how to mitigate any potential threats that become evident, but they also how to strategize and prepare before any security threat is enacted.

A successful network security engineer should have prior work experience as well as a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, engineering, or a related field.


Network Security Engineer Duties and Responsibilities

While the day-to-day duties of a network security engineer are determined by their employer, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Testing for Network Vulnerabilities

Network security engineers work with a larger information security team to evaluate, test, and troubleshoot technologies. They’re expected to identify, diagnose, and resolve information security issues.

Prepare Reports

Based on findings, network security engineers write comprehensive reports including
assessment-based findings, outcomes, and propositions for further system security enhancement.

Produce Documentation

To ensure proper protocols and processes are in place, network security engineers create and maintain comprehensive documentation related to server and security infrastructure.

Create Network Security Policies

Network security engineers play a role in devising comprehensive network security policies. This includes determining security issues that need to be addressed; identifying security strategies needed to deal with the risks; implementing policies for allocating administrative tasks; keeping on top of audit logs to flag suspicious activity; and devising network password procedures.

Manage Vendor Relationships

To be successful in this role, it’s important to keep strong relationships with integrators and vendors to maintain upgrades, installations, and planning alongside exploration of new features and innovative solutions.


Network Security Engineer Skills and Qualifications

As strong multitaskers and project managers, successful network security engineers think proactively to get ahead of issues before they arise. They are well organized and thrive in fast-paced, high-stress environments. Additionally, employers prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:

  • Enterprise firewall experience – experience configuring and managing enterprise firewalls and gateway devices is important in this role
  • Communication skills – it’s crucial that network security engineers have the ability to communicate network security issues to peers and management clearly and effectively
  • Adaptability – network security engineers typically work as a member of several teams, which requires flexibility and adaptability. Candidates interested in this role should be comfortable working in a matrixed IT environment
  • Problem-solving skills – it’s the network security engineer’s job to solve problems. Security incidents can happen at any time and it’s expected that these engineers will research, escalate, and resolve issues effectively


Tools of the Trade

Network security engineers often use the following tools in their work:

  • Cisco and Fortinet
  • LAN/WAN concepts
  • Application firewalls, SIEM, IDS/IPS
  • Unix and Windows


Network Security Engineer Education and Training

A bachelor’s degree in a field such as computer science, software engineering, systems engineering, or information systems is typically required to work in this field. Some positions require IT certification and five to 10 years of experience as well. Hands-on training, especially for specific processes and software used by the hiring company, is typically offered by employers.


Network Security Engineer Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual wage for experienced network security engineers and related roles as $95,510 per year. This can vary based on what industry, state, or country one works in. Employment of network security engineers is projected to grow 28 percent by 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for this type of job is expected to be very high, as these roles will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks.


Helpful Resources

There are many helpful resources available for those interested in careers as network security engineers. Please review the links below for valuable information and the latest industry news:

Information Systems Security Association – this is a networking organization for information systems security engineers. ISSA members can benefit from connecting with other cybersecurity professionals. They can also join local chapters to start networking, inquire about supplemental education, get pointers on how to advance their careers, and attend conferences and seminars

Management of Information Security – this book provides an overview of all aspects of information security from a management perspective

Network Security Engineer Red-Hot Career Guide – real interview questions are provided in this popular book for those looking to start a career as a network security engineer

Careers in Cyber Security – here you’ll find the latest industry news, career advice, and education information for people considering a career in cybersecurity


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