Cloud security engineers install and monitor security measures for digital platforms in the cloud. The security layer is extremely important in protecting the data integrity of an organization that uses the cloud regularly.
Organizations are quickly realizing the importance of having highly trained engineers to provide data protection techniques. Data breaches can be incredibly costly for an organization, so security is a key investment.
For those seeking to join this profession, a cloud security engineer’s salary averages between $60,000 and $150,000 per year. Certainly, some engineers can earn more, especially if they hold advanced educational degrees, pass high-level certifications, and have significant administrative duties. They must demonstrate the problem-solving skills and knowledge required to handle this job.
The Salary Range for a Cloud Security Engineer
A cloud security engineer’s salary can be a very enticing level of compensation for someone who has an interest in information technology, computing security, and cloud computing.
Someone with the proper college degrees but no working experience may start at $60,000 to $80,000 per year, depending on location and the size of the company. As the engineer gains a few years of working experience, he or she may see a salary jump close to the $100,000 range.
Those who have 10 or more years of working experience can expect to earn an annual salary in the $110,000 to $130,000 range.
For experienced employees who have multiple certifications and who have some administrative duties, an annual cloud security engineer salary of $150,000 or more is possible.
Cloud Security Engineer Salary in Major Markets
Here are some salary ranges a cloud security engineer can expect to earn in a few different parts of the United States.
- Northeast: In the New York City, Washington, D.C., and Boston markets, engineers may earn $70,000 to $150,000.
- Southeast: In the Southeast, including markets like Atlanta and Charlotte, engineers may earn $60,000 to $135,000.
- Southwest: In markets such as Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, cloud security engineers may earn $65,000 to $140,000
- Central: In markets like Minneapolis, Chicago, and Omaha, engineers may earn $60,000 to $135,000.
- Northwest: For markets like San Francisco and Seattle, engineers on average earn $75,000 to $150,000
Job Prospects for Cloud Security Engineers
Among cybersecurity jobs, cloud security engineering is a job that continues to grow in demand. As more companies move software and storage to the cloud, the position of cloud security engineer becomes increasingly important.
The use of SaaS software in the cloud is a fast-growing aspect of the IT market. According to Statista, the size of the SaaS market has expanded quickly, rising from about $13.4 billion in 2010 to an estimated $157 billion in 2020. Growth should continue throughout the next decade as well.
Businesses appreciate using SaaS and cloud storage because it gives them a fixed cost they can count on for their technology and software needs, which simplifies budgeting. SaaS providers appreciate this business model, as it guarantees a steady income stream.
As companies expand the amount of work they perform in the cloud through SaaS, the skills found in cloud security engineers will continue to be highly in demand, providing excellent job security for the foreseeable future.
What’s Expected of a Cloud Security Engineer?
Those wishing to hold a job as a cloud security engineer will need a variety of skills and educational achievements.
When seeking employment as a cloud security engineer, you will need to have certain educational accomplishments in hand before an employer will consider you.
Additionally, as you are working in the industry, you almost certainly will need to continue your education, ensuring you have an understanding of the latest techniques and processes for deploying cloud security networks. Most people will achieve these ongoing educational opportunities through certification exams, but some engineers may choose to work toward an advanced educational degree at a university.
- Education: At a minimum, cloud security engineers must hold a university bachelor’s degree in fields like computer science, computer programming, or information security. Depending on the employer and the specific type of position the engineer will hold, some jobs require a master’s degree.
- Certifications: Many employers require a prospective cloud security engineer to hold certain certifications before hiring them. Others may not give you the maximum cloud security engineer salary without these certifications. Additionally, some employers may require that you achieve certain certifications on a regular basis after you start working at the job (but the employer may help you pay for the ongoing certification requirements).
Skills and Interests
For someone to enjoy being a cloud security engineer, it’s helpful if the interests and skills of the person match up with the basics of the job. Here are five key skills a cloud security engineer should have.
- Interest in technology: Cloud security engineers need to enjoy learning new things about technology, both hardware and software. They should enjoy programming, designing networks, and understanding computing languages.
- Attention to detail: Those who enjoy digging into lines of code and schematic diagrams of networks will have an aptitude for working with cloud security. They must pay attention to even the most minor details in this type of work.
- Thinking outside the box: Cloud security engineers need to think about different ways that hackers may attack the networks. Rather than only considering the traditional ways hackers attack cloud systems, engineers will want to try to think one step ahead of the hackers, anticipating problems and new ways of probing the network so they can stop attacks before they happen.
- Working under pressure: Once an attack begins, the engineer needs to be able to solve problems quickly and think clearly under pressure. The longer the hacker probes the network, the greater the chance of the hacker doing significant damage. Engineers need to be able to respond to problems quickly and efficiently.
- Strong communication skills: Many times, the engineer will be working with a team to solve problems and monitor the cloud network. Engineers need to be able to clearly communicate with each other about the tasks that need completion and about any concerns they may have about the security plan.
Aspects of the Job
Once the cloud security engineer is on the job, he or she will need to come up with an engineering approach to the network system to prevent cyber attacks. This involves developing and implementing a security plan to respond to any cybersecurity incidents.
Cloud security engineers must be able to anticipate and mitigate any vulnerabilities in the system. Should security breaches occur, the engineer must respond quickly to them and come up with ways to limit the damage and immediately plug the security holes.
One aspect of the job that may go underappreciated is the ability to explain complex terminology to people in the organization who do not have the same level of expertise as the engineer.
In a large organization, the engineer may need to deliver presentations to people with far more experience in the business world than in the IT world. Explaining IT concepts in easy-to-understand language is important. These presentations may be key to receiving the budget required to implement cloud security procedures, meaning success in this area of the job is a necessity.
In a small organization, the cloud security engineer may have quite a bit of freedom in designing the system and in implementing his or her security preferences. However, the engineer also will need to explain these plans and undertakings in a simple language to allow those in charge of the small business to have a clear understanding of what is happening.
What Certifications Should a Cloud Security Engineer Have?
One of the keys for someone looking to earn a high cloud security engineer salary is to hold the proper certification.
Having the latest cloud security certifications gives engineers the ability to remain up to date on the latest practices, helping them avoid making errors in judgment based on outdated techniques.
When you have the best certifications in hand when seeking a job, those looking to hire will feel comfortable with your credentials, giving you a better chance of landing the position.
Through the certification process, engineers are able to remain in contact with the information security community, having access to resources to deal with problems. Here are some of the most important certifications you should hold.
The Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) focuses on certifications that revolve around security and infrastructure. They involve areas like risk mitigation, threat management, intrusion detection, and penetration testing. This is an entry-level type of certification, serving as a good base for someone who has plans to advance to a higher level of cloud security engineering in the future. The certification costs $349.
The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) offers the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) certification process, which focuses completely on cloud security. Those who achieve this level of certification will prove that they understand all aspects of modern cloud security, including strategy and tactics, which can make this a challenging exam for those who prefer to focus on one area over the other. This certification costs $395.
The International Information System Security Certification Consortium operates the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification process. In addition to passing the exam, candidates must have at least five years of paid work experience in information technology with at least three years of that in information security. Although the CCSP certification is a standalone credential, the majority of people with this certification will hold other certifications related to cloud security that they earned in the past. This certification costs $599.
The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants oversees the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification. This is one of the most sought-after certifications among employers, as these engineers use their own hacking techniques to discover security risks in the organization’s cloud network before a malicious hacker can find and exploit the weakness.
Through this certification, cloud security engineers will showcase the ability to think like a hacker, giving them important skills. Those going through the certification process will gain an understanding of cloud-specific attack techniques, although with techniques for other types of attacks. This certification costs $1,199.
When seeking a job as a cloud security engineer, it can help to hold cloud security certifications from one or more of the big three vendors:
When an engineer holds these certifications, he or she demonstrates the ability to operate the specific tools required for the brand of network in use at the organization.