What Is a Computer Security Engineer?

G. Wiesen

A computer security engineer is someone hired by a company to administer and maintain the security of computer systems and networks within that company. Someone can qualify for this job with an education in information technology (IT) or information security (IS). This type of work often involves the use of various types of software, including antivirus and anti-malware programs as well as software to scan for network weaknesses and perform penetration testing. A computer security engineer also works to ensure that no possible internal threats can damage a company’s network or computer system, which can involve both employee screening and updating systems after employee departures.

A computer security engineer is tasked with designing ways to protect networks, servers and websites from hackers and viruses.
A computer security engineer is tasked with designing ways to protect networks, servers and websites from hackers and viruses.

The duties and responsibilities of a computer security engineer are tied to the maintenance of system or network security at a company. A large corporation, for example, might hire this type of engineer to implement a security system for internal networks and ensure this security is maintained. Anyone interested in becoming a computer security engineer should typically pursue a bachelor’s degree in a field such as computer or network security. Professional experience may also be required by many businesses looking for this type of engineer, which can usually be gained by working in network maintenance and website administration.

Computer security engineers usually have an education in information technology or information security.
Computer security engineers usually have an education in information technology or information security.

One of the most important jobs of a computer security engineer is to ensure that computer systems and networks are protected from external threats and attacks. This usually includes frequent scans using antivirus software to ensure that malicious programs are not within a system. Penetration testing is also commonly performed by a computer security engineer, which typically begins with network mapping and scans to look for potential weaknesses within a system. Testing then continues with the engineer basically attacking the system to see if these weaknesses can be exploited to gain unauthorized access to the system, and then taking steps to deal with those weaknesses.

A computer security engineer might also be responsible for considering and dealing with internal security issues or threats. This may involve the presence of these engineers during employee interviews, to ensure that new employees do not seem to present a threat to the internal security of a system. A computer security engineer might also perform regular scans and diagnostic checks to look for employees who may be presenting an accidental threat, such as employees using passwords that can be easily broken or downloading programs that may include malware. Engineers may also be responsible for ensuring that access is denied to employees after departure from the company, by keeping passwords and authentication protocols updated.

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