How to Become a Security Architect (Plus Skills and Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 19, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cybersecurity refers to protecting data and communications that are stored or take place in a digital space. There are a few different career paths you can pursue in cybersecurity, one of which is security architecture. Understanding how to become a security architect can help you decide if this is the right career for you. In this article, we discuss how to become a security architect, define what it is, highlight their duties and responsibilities, and provide some skills to succeed in this career.

How to become a security architect

Here are some steps you can use to start your own career as a security architect:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

Working in cybersecurity requires extensive background knowledge and expertise in advanced concepts in information technology. Most aspiring architects earn a bachelor's degree as the first step in their careers. Many candidates choose to major in computer science or information technology to ensure they receive training in the correct subjects. This is because these programs typically offer courses in computer programming, systems administration, and cybersecurity, all of which can be important to know about when working for cybersecurity. Here are a few more subjects you might encounter while earning a bachelor's degree.

These include computer science or information technology, including algorithms, device utilization, information management, files and databases, network fundamentals, logic design, computer architecture, artificial intelligence, data management, and computer science theory.

2. Apply for entry-level jobs in information technology

A security architect is a senior-level position in information technology, you can work in an entry-level IT job for a few years after graduation to apply the concepts you learn in your bachelor's degree program and gain experience working in professional settings. Most entry-level positions in information technology can offer opportunities to develop the skills to succeed, increasing your chances of being hired in more advanced roles. There are many entry-level IT jobs to choose from, but here are a few job titles you might consider IT technician, help desk analyst, software developer, computer operator, and database administrator.

3. Gain professional experience in cybersecurity

After working for a few years in an entry-level IT job, you can start looking for more specialized work in cybersecurity. While some aspiring architects might apply for openings, it's helpful to start in a mid-level cybersecurity position to learn about the advanced responsibilities the career can involve. For example, one job that can help prepare you for work is a security analyst. Working as a security analyst can allow you to perform similar job duties to those you might perform as an architect while also learning from higher-level professionals in the field.

Related: How to Become a Cyber Security Analyst (Including FAQs)

4. Pursue certification

Although certification can be voluntary, having one can help increase your chances of being hired for a job because it showcases your expertise and dedication to your industry. Earning certification typically involves applying to an organization and receiving a passing grade on a comprehensive exam. Some certification programs also offer instructional courses or preparation materials, which can further benefit your career by providing even more training in your field.

Related: 10 Top Security Certifications for IT Professionals

5. Apply for jobs

Once you have a few years of experience in information technology and cybersecurity, you can start looking for an open position. Most architects work for a particular company or organization, so you can find employment by reaching out to companies you're interested in working for to ask about potential openings. You can also search for job listings online using search engines and job search websites.

What is a security architect?

A security architect is an information technology professional who identifies potential threats to cybersecurity and creates plans for preventing and responding to them. Most architects have extensive expertise in working with computer hardware and software that can enhance their abilities to find areas that might be susceptible to security breaches.

Security architects typically have powerful skills in computer programming and research, which allows them to respond to security breaches quickly and find new ways to prevent future security challenges. This can sometimes involve creating new policies for cybersecurity in the organizations they work for or advising others on how to best protect their data.

Related: What Are Cybersecurity Jobs? (With Examples of Common Roles)

What does a security architect do?

Security architects perform a variety of tasks to ensure that their company's computer systems are secure from attacks. Some of their duties include:

Researching and recommending security measures

Security architects remain up-to-date on the latest security threats so that they can identify potential risks to their company's computer systems. They research new security technologies and trends and make recommendations to their company about which measures can be most effective in protecting their systems. Security architects also create plans detailing how their company can respond to a security breach.

Identifying security vulnerabilities

Another important responsibility is to identify potential security vulnerabilities in their company's computer systems. To do this, they often conduct penetration tests, which simulate real-world attacks on their systems to find weak spots that anyone can exploit. Plus, they review their company's code to look for any security flaws that might be present.

Designing security plans

After identifying potential risks, they design plans to mitigate those risks. This can involve implementing additional security measures, such as firewalls or intrusion detection systems. Plus, they often create policies and procedures for their company to follow in the event of a security breach to ensure that their systems are quickly and effectively protected.

Monitoring compliance with security policies

They also play a role in ensuring that their company's employees comply with its security policies. They may do this by conducting training sessions on proper security procedures or monitoring employees' activity to ensure that they are following the company's security protocols. Plus, they may respond to any incidents of non-compliance.

Configuring and managing security software

Besides designing security plans, they often configure and manage the security software that their company uses. This can involve installing new software and updates and troubleshooting any issues that may arise. They also often monitor the performance of security software and make required changes to ensure that it effectively protects their company's systems.

Evaluating the effectiveness of current security measures

They regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their company's current security measures to ensure that they are adequate. This can involve conducting penetration tests and vulnerability scans. They can also do this by conducting audits or reviewing reports on incidents of security breaches. They often make recommendations for improvements to their company's security plans based on their findings.

Updating their knowledge

They continually update their knowledge of new security threats and countermeasures. They do this by attending conferences, reading industry publications, and communicating with other security professionals. By staying up-to-date on the latest security information, they can ensure that their company's computer systems are safe against the ever-changing landscape of security threats.

Important skills for security architects

To be successful in this role, they may require the following skills:

Computer networking

Security architects have a strong understanding of computer networking to design and implement security measures. They understand how different network components work together and how to create a secure system by using them. This skill can help them identify potential risks and vulnerabilities in their company's network.

Project management

Security architects effectively manage projects to ensure that the team implements security plans correctly. This includes being able to budget for and schedule the resources needed for a project. Plus, they effectively communicate with all stakeholders to keep them updated on the project's progress.

Analytical skills

Security architects use their analytical skills to identify potential risks and evaluate the effectiveness of security measures. They are able to quickly identify patterns and trends in data to help them identify potential security threats. This skill is important to make recommendations for improvements to their company's security plans.

Attention to detail

Security architects have a keen attention to detail to identify potential security risks. They can identify errors or inconsistencies in data that indicate a security threat. They also thoroughly review and considers all possible risks in the security plans.

Communication skills

Excellent communication skills help security architects communicate with a variety of stakeholders, including upper management, to ensure that everyone is aware of the company's security plans. They clearly explain complex technical concepts in a way that non-technical individuals can understand.

Critical thinking skills

Security architects use their critical thinking skills to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities in their company's systems. They can think creatively about developing new solutions to address security threats. This skill is important in order to constantly improve the company's security plans.

Related: 17 Skills You Need to Work in IT

Leadership skills

Security architects usually work in teams, so leadership skills are important as they often take on a team lead role. They provide direction and guidance to team members to ensure that the team completes projects on time and within budget. They effectively delegate tasks and responsibilities to ensure that the team covers all aspects of a project.

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