Introduction: Becoming a Cybersecurity Architect

For many in the cybersecurity field and those considering cybersecurity as a career focus, the coveted position of their dreams is that of cybersecurity architect. Cybersecurity architects are responsible for designing, building, deploying and testing information security systems within an IT network.

But the question remains — what does the career path of a cybersecurity architect look like? The best way to determine this is to use a career pathway tool, and the CyberSeek Career Pathway Tool is tailor-made for this task.

This article will delve into the career path of a cybersecurity architect using information gleaned from the CyberSeek Career Pathway tool. By the time you are finished reading this article, you will have a much better idea of the job progression, education, certification and other requirements for becoming a cybersecurity architect.

CyberSeek Career Pathway tool overview

CyberSeek’s Career Pathway tool is a useful tool for helping both job seekers and students plot out their intended study and career paths. For relevancy’s sake, this article will focus on how the CyberSeek Career Pathway tool can assist in mapping out a career path.

Presented to you via an interactive user interface, CyberSeek helps job seekers map out the path to their chosen cybersecurity role. This pathway tool assigns roles to one of four categories: feeder role, entry-level, mid-level and advanced-level. Simply scroll over any of the roles displayed, and you will see the roles in the previous category that lead to your target role as well as the roles in the next category that your target role can lead to.

A useful feature of this interface is that you can even see lateral moves available to you that will lead you to other jobs within your current role category.

Cybersecurity architect

The role of cybersecurity architect is one of the three core advanced-level cybersecurity roles presented in the CyberSeek cybersecurity positions. In the real world, this translates into a high-level cybersecurity role that includes a varied skill set of related cybersecurity positions responsible for designing and testing information security systems. You can expect to wear more than one hat when you work this role.

Average salary

According to CyberSeek, the average salary you can expect is a formidable $129,000. Keep in mind that this figure is based on a national average; the amount that you will receive at your particular organization is based on different factors, including your experience level and the organization’s budget.

Common role titles

Like many different cybersecurity roles, there are different titles that organizations may use when referring to this role. Other common role titles include information security architect, senior security architect, IT security architect and security architect. Despite the role title used, you will have essentially the same responsibilities. These will generally only differ due to the organization’s specific business needs.

Education

You will need an education to earn this role; however, the jury is out on exactly how much education is required. Coming in at the most in-demand level of education for the cybersecurity architect role is a bachelor’s degree, with 67% of employers using it as a prerequisite to employment. The second most popular education level is a graduate degree, with 27% of employers requesting it, and a sub-bachelor’s degree (such as an associate degree) is demanded by 4% of employers.

Of course, having a higher education level than what is demanded will not necessarily hurt you. However, you may find yourself with the problem of being overqualified.

Top certifications

When you comb through cybersecurity architect job openings, you will notice that certifications are often required for this role. However, not all employers require the same certifications. This may be because of simple oversight by the hiring manager who posted the job ad, or it may be because some certifications may not apply to the specific organization. CyberSeek has done the legwork for you and determined the most-demanded information security certifications for this role. These certifications are:

  • CISM
  • GIAC
  • Information Systems Certification
  • CISA
  • ITIL

Top skills

Simply put, cybersecurity architect is near, if not the, the pinnacle of all roles in cybersecurity. This kind of responsibility and power demands an advanced skill set that will be the culmination of all your previous information security experience. According to CyberSeek, the top skills demanded are:

  • Information security
  • Network security
  • Cryptography
  • Information systems
  • Authentication
  • Linux
  • Cisco
  • Project management
  • Vulnerability assessment

Total job openings

According to CyberSeek, there are 5,640 total job openings for the role of cybersecurity architect and related role titles. This figure is based on the number of related roles posted in online job listings and is a general projection, as this number is based on jobs posted from September 2017 through August 2018.

NICE cybersecurity workforce categories

The cybersecurity field is an ever-changing job landscape. To help those in the industry and those looking to enter it, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) has created a framework of jobs that neatly organizes them based on attributes, including job duties and technical competencies.

There are seven main categories of jobs, and cybersecurity architect fits within the Securely Provision category. This category is described by NICE as “Conceptualizes, designs, procures, and/or builds secure Information Technology systems, with responsibility for aspects of system and/or network development”.

By clicking on the category heading of Securely Provision, you will be presented with a list of subcategories and an array of information about the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary for each subcategory. These subcategories are Software Development, Systems Architecture, Systems Development, Systems Requirements Planning, Technology R&D and Test & Evaluation. For further information, click here.

Getting to cybersecurity architect and where to go from there

Since cybersecurity architect is categorized as an advanced-level job, you will need to have reached at least a mid-level job to be considered for this role. The good news is that, according to CyberSeek, every job categorized as mid-level leads to cybersecurity architect.

Once you are a cybersecurity architect, you still have career options ahead of you. In the event that you want to move on to another role from here, cybersecurity architect gives you a direct route to the other two jobs in this category — cybersecurity engineer and cybersecurity manager/administrator.

Conclusion

When you are going somewhere, having a map definitely helps. When your destination is a job in cybersecurity, you have a useful map at your fingertips in CyberSeek Cybersecurity Career Pathway. This career pathway tool has the itinerary mapped out for your, including projected job numbers and the earning power of jobs such as cybersecurity architect.

Whether you are entering the cybersecurity field or a seasoned professional with one more step to take before you are qualified for this role, you can find your way here.

 

Sources

  1. National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, NICE
  2. Cybersecurity Career Pathway, CyberSeek