Career Spotlight: Security Architect

Imagine a city without vigilant planners and where buildings crumble and infrastructure fails. Without security architects, the digital realm would be a similar mess, riddled with vulnerabilities and exposed to constant attacks. These cybersecurity experts are the expert planners of the digital world, designing systems that anticipate and neutralize potential threats before they materialize.

Let’s explore the intricate world of the cybersecurity professionals responsible for security architecture—the challenges they face, their skills, and their crucial role in safeguarding our digital lives.

What Is a Security Architect?

A cybersecurity architect, often called a security architect, designs, develops, and maintains the security infrastructure of an organization’s IT network, which encompasses data management systems as well as other computer systems. They assess for vulnerabilities by conducting penetration tests, risk analyses, and ethical hacking. Additionally, they evaluate routers, firewalls, and similar systems to ensure their effectiveness and efficiency.

What Do They Do?

Security architects are in virtually all industries, from finance and health care to technology and government. They take on many crucial roles and responsibilities:

  • Designing and developing comprehensive security architecture, frameworks, and solutions
  • Performing vulnerability testing, including risk analyses and network security assessments
  • Developing requirements for routers, firewalls, local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and other network devices
  • Preparing cost estimates for all cybersecurity measures
  • Designing critical public infrastructure
  • Providing technical guidance and supervision
  • Conducting risk assessments and analyses to identify potential security threats and weaknesses
  • Developing, implementing, and enforcing security policies, standards, and procedures
  • Developing incident response plans, protocols, and procedures to minimize the impact of security incidents
  • Educating employees, stakeholders, and end-users about cybersecurity risks, best practices, and policies
  • Updating and upgrading the organization’s network security systems

What’s the Difference Between a Security Architect and a Security Engineer?

An organization’s cybersecurity team comprises many positions, each playing an integral part in maintaining its defenses. Security architects and security engineers are two such positions, but they differ significantly in their specific roles. The former are tasked with the design and long-term planning of an organization’s network security infrastructure, whereas the latter concentrate on the day-to-day management of security measures.

Security Architect

This midlevel professional creates and oversees an organization’s complex security system. They have a thorough understanding of technology and information systems, and it’s not uncommon for them to handle defensive measures, like implementing firewalls and antivirus software, as well as offensive measures, like running penetration tests.

Security Engineer

A less senior position, a security engineer works with various teams, including IT and network administration, to protect an organization’s IT infrastructure and data from potential threats, vulnerabilities, and cyberattacks. Security engineers use technological tools, encryption methods, and best practices to create robust defense systems against cyberthreats, continually staying updated on the latest trends and emerging risks in the cybersecurity world.

Although these positions seem similar, the crucial difference is that security architects are responsible for the overarching design and strategic planning of an organization’s security infrastructure, whereas security engineers are focused on the operational aspects of security, implementing and managing day-to-day security measures.

Career Progression

If you’re wondering what the future has in store for you in this role, rest assured that it’s common to move on to senior-level positions. Career advancement usually involves stepping up to senior and lead roles, including director of security and even C-suite positions like chief information security officer.

To keep advancing in your career, you should take several important steps, including continuing your education, earning certifications, and participating in training programs.

What Is a Typical Salary for a Security Architect?

According to, the annual average salary for this role is $110,867 as of May 2024. The typical range falls between $95,876 and $124,289. It’s important to note that salary ranges vary depending on education, certifications, skills, years of experience, and work location.

How to Become a Security Architect

To rise to this advanced position in the field of cybersecurity, you’ll need the right skills, education, and certifications.

Skills You Need

Does a security architect require learning code? The answer is an emphatic yes. Understanding programming languages and script is essential for navigating the cyber landscape. Some other essential skills include:

  • Understanding how to protect cloud databases
  • Proficiency in programming languages like Python
  • Mastery of security architecture design
  • Facility in creating secure architecture for IT systems
  • Expertise in penetration testing and ethical hacking
  • Command of encryption algorithms
  • Ability to develop and implement incident response plans
  • Familiarity with secure software development practices
  • Excellent interpersonal communication
  • Knowing how to work in teams
  • Proven problem-solving abilities

Degree Requirements

If security architecture sounds like your career path, remember that this is a midlevel role, and many employers will require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, for instance, can prepare you for industry-related jobs and get you ready to take any number of relevant certification exams. A bachelor’s in computer science, technology, or a related field is also a good option.


Obtaining certifications can demonstrate your expertise, and many are required for employment. Several certifications you should consider in pursuit of this role include:

As cyberthreats evolve and become more sophisticated, the need for robust, well-designed security infrastructure becomes more critical. Security architects play a pivotal role in safeguarding an organization’s IT systems and data by designing comprehensive security frameworks, assessing and mitigating risks, and ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. If you think you have what it takes to take on this critical role, take the first step by earning your bachelor’s in cybersecurity.