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As the world becomes more digital, it also grows in complexity. The role of the security architect has become increasingly important as companies seek to protect their data and communications.

Security architects design and implement security infrastructure for systems and networks. This highly technical job typically requires a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, but many employers prefer candidates with master's degrees.

How much does a security architect make? As of July 2022, the average annual salary for a security architect is $129,550, according to PayScale. Salaries can range from $79,000 to $140,000, depending on experience and location.

If you're interested in a security architect career, this guide provides information on the role, including salaries, employment projections, and typical work responsibilities.

What Does a Security Architect Do?

Security architects safeguard organizations' systems and data from intrusions. They work with other architects to design secure systems and implement their designs with developers. These professionals also work with security analysts to identify potential security risks and recommend solutions.

Before rolling out new systems, security architects test their work to make sure it functions properly in real-world environments. These workers typically serve in corporate environments but may also find employment for government or military organizations.

In private settings, architects may protect retail financial data or customer information. With government agencies, they safeguard American intelligence from leaking to bad actors.

How Much Does a Security Architect Make?

A security architect job can be both exciting and rewarding. The average salary for a security architect is $129,550, according to Payscale data from July 2022, but this number varies depending on experience, location, and company size. Security architects with more experience can expect to make closer to $140,000 per year.

A security architect designs, implements, and oversees the security of an organization's systems. They work with IT teams to ensure that data is secure from internal and external threats. Professionals who enjoy thinking like hackers and designing systems that can withstand external attacks can make successful security architects.


$129,550

Average Annual Salary of Security Architects, July 2022

Source: Payscale

Security Architect Salary by Experience

Security architect salaries depend heavily on experience. In some cases, entry-level architects may make $79,000 per year, while more experienced professionals can earn nearly $140,000. Some security architects may also earn bonuses, commissions, or profit shares.

The salary for a security architect can also shift over time as new technologies emerge and companies implement them. As a result, security architects need to be lifelong learners who keep up with the latest trends.

Security Architect Salary by Education

In security architecture, like other fields, salaries depend on education. An aspiring security architect can start by earning a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, computer science, or engineering.

Adding a graduate degree or an industry certification can boost a security architect's knowledge and earning power. These credentials help security architects gain the technical expertise and leadership skills they need to advance into management roles.

In addition, technology professionals who have completed security-related bootcamps may have an advantage in the job market. Bootcamps can provide intensive training in areas such as penetration testing, malware analysis, and cryptography.

Enrolling in a bootcamp or a certification program requires weeks or months of study. A master's degree, however, can take two years or more to earn. A security architect who plans to teach cybersecurity or perform research in the field may need a Ph.D., which often takes 3-7 years to obtain.

Note: the information in the following table regarding Ph.D. degrees has fewer than 50 respondents and refers only to individuals with the degree, not security architects.

Discover Which Education Path Is Right for You

Security Architect Salary by Location

Each security architect's pay depends on several factors, including location. For example, in Phoenix, Arizona, security architects earn an average of $147,790 per year, while in New York City, they bring in $142,490 annually. Although that's a minimal difference in income, the cost of living could seriously affect buying power.

According to Payscale, the cost of living in New York is 151% higher than in Phoenix. Therefore, while a security architect's average salary may seem almost equal between Phoenix and New York, the actual take-home pay for an Arizona-based professional is far greater than for professionals in New York.

Consider the following data, which includes salary information for the similar career of security architects and computer network architects:

Top-Paying Cities for Security Architects, 2022
City and State Average Annual Salary Percent Above the National Average

San Francisco, CA

$199,960

54%

Washington, DC

$149,830

16%

Phoenix, AZ

$147,790

14%

New York, NY

$142,490

9%

Orlando, FL

$140,420

8%

Source: Payscale

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Computer Network Architects, 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Security Architects Employed Average Annual Salary

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

3,910

$177,600

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

3,850

$152,900

Rapid City, SD

8

$145,810

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

9,330

$142,040

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

12,790

$140,090

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Top-Paying States for Computer Network Architects, 2021
State Number of Security Architects Employed Average Annual Salary

New Jersey

6,700

$139,990

Rhode Island

350

$138,530

Delaware

620

$137,040

Virginia

10,130

$136,710

Maryland

6,730

$136,520

Source: BLS

Security Architects' Job Outlook and Career Prospects

The demand for security architects continues to increase as organizations invest in cybersecurity. The BLS projects that the job outlook for computer and network architects will grow by 5% from 2020-2030. Information security analyst jobs are projected to grow by 33% in the same period. This growth rate is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Early-career architects earn about $79,000, while those with 10 or more years of experience can bring in $138,000. These professionals can also boost their income by gaining an advanced degree or skills in Amazon Web Services, cloud computing, or encryption.

The data below is not specific to security architects but represents a similar career tracked by the BLS.


Projected Employment for Computer and Information Technology Occupations:

+13% from 2020-2030

Source: BLS

Best Locations for Security Architects

Security architects can find jobs across the country. Major metropolitan areas typically attract more cybersecurity positions than mid-size cities or rural locations. Areas that host major technology development, national security agencies, financial centers, and government organizations typically need security architects.

Rural states like Montana and Wyoming employ relatively few technology professionals. However, with the advent of work-from-home initiatives, security architects may be able to work from nearly any location.

Top States for Security Architects

The best states for security architects include California, Texas, New York, and Virginia. Due to their size, these states may have a high demand for security architects to fill more roles, resulting in competitive salaries.

Security architects may find their work environment changes from state to state. California is home to technology firms, while Texas relies on an energy-driven economy. New York is a financial hub, and Virginia features national security and government offices.

The data below covers the top-employing states and areas with the greatest projected increase in employment for computer network architects and information security analysts — similar careers that the BLS tracks.

Top-Employing States for Computer Network Architects, 2021
Top-Employing States Number of Security Architects Employed Average Annual Salary

California

20,700

$129,240

Texas

14,720

$115,840

New York

11,040

$128,230

Virginia

10,130

$136,710

Colorado

8,460

$124,800

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Information Security Analysts, 2018-28
State Percent Projected Change, 2018-28 Average Annual Openings

Greatest Projected Percentage Increase

Virginia

45.4%

1,930

Nevada

44.2%

70

Florida

44%

750

New Mexico

42.9%

110

Maryland

39.4%

510

Most Projected Average Annual Openings

Virginia

45.4%

1,930

Texas

38.2%

1,040

New York

34.3%

830

Florida

44%

750

California

32.7%

630

Source: Projections Central

Top Metropolitan Areas for Security Architects

Certain metropolitan areas may appeal to security architects for different reasons. These cities usually have a high concentration of businesses that employ security architects. Employers in these areas usually provide higher salaries, making them more attractive to security professionals.

A high salary does not always equal greater purchasing power. For instance, New York City offers some of the highest technology salaries, but the state also carries the highest cost of living in the country. The following table shows the top-employment metro areas for computer network architects, a similar career the BLS collects data for.

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Computer Network Architects, 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Security Architects Employed Average Annual Salary

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

12,790

$140,090

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

9,330

$142,040

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

6,590

$114,690

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

5,970

$127,660

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

5,750

$128,400

Source: BLS

Best Industries for Security Architects

Security architects work in many different industries, including information technology, healthcare, finance, and government. They may find employment in companies that manage supply chains, serve as online retail hubs, manage cruise lines, or oversee data storage.

These architects often hold general degrees in computer science or electrical engineering and then specialize in particular areas. Specializations could include operating system security, network administration, cybercrime prevention, cloud computing, or data protection. A security architect's role, therefore, could change based on their specialization and industry.

The following table details the top-paying industries for computer network architects, a similar career that the BLS tracks closely.

Top-Paying Industries for Computer Network Architects, 2021
Top-Paying Industries Number of Security Architects Employed Average Annual Salary

Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing

1,510

$165,470

Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments

2,820

$147,490

Other Information Services

1,620

$143,250

Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing

660

$140,300

Monetary Authorities - Central Bank

230

$140,300

Source: BLS

Employment by Industry for Computer Network Architects, 2021
Industries With Highest Employment Number of Security Architects Employed Average Annual Salary

Computer Systems Design and Related Services

45,980

$122,500

Telecommunications

14,820

$108,460

Management of Companies and Enterprises

14,820

$118,150

Employment Services

10,690

$116,640

Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services

6,760

$132,930

Source: BLS

Upward Mobility for Security Architects

With experience, security architects can move into managerial positions or pursue new roles as consultants. According to Payscale, security architects are well positioned to apply for positions as security engineers, information technology consultants, and chief information security officers (CISOs).

Becoming a security engineer requires ethical hacking, network architecture, and computer forensics skills. Many engineers hold master's degrees in cybersecurity or other related fields. They also need knowledge of Splunk, cloud computing, and UNIX.

Information technology consultants usually need 2-10 years of experience in information technology roles. They typically hold bachelor's degrees and possess strong skills in threat management and business operations.

For many security specialists, becoming a CISO is the highest level of professional success. These IT leaders hold many years of professional experience, giving them the technological and personal skills required for the role. According to July 2022 Payscale data, CISOs bring home an average salary of $170,980 per year.

Learn More About Security Architects

Find out more about the responsibility and duties of a security architect. This page explores the daily life of a security architect, including common duties for these cybersecurity professionals. Which degree can help you launch your security architect career? Should you pursue certification, a bootcamp, or a master's program? Find out more here. Find out about professional certifications that can help security architects succeed. We cover applicant requirements and explain the benefits of earning certification.

Frequently Asked Questions About Security Architects


What is the average salary of a security architect?

According to Payscale, the average salary of a security architect is $129,550 as of July 2022. Many factors may affect this figure, including location, skills, industry, experience, and education.

Where is the best state to work as a security architect?

In terms of salary, the best state to work as a security architect is New Jersey. Other high-paying states include Rhode Island, Delaware, Virginia, and Maryland. However, the cost of living in many of these states is also high, so take these figures into account when considering relocation.

What is the best industry to work in as a security architect?

Many industries need security architects. According to the BLS, some of the best industries for network architects include computer design, telecommunications, finance, and data processing.

How much money can a security architect make?

Security architects can earn strong salaries, depending on their experience, education, and employer. Payscale data indicates that experienced professionals can make $173,000 or even more with knowledge of cloud computing or network architecture and design.


Featured Image: Halfpoint Images / Moment / Getty Images

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