Security Manager Career Overview
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Security managers, also called cybersecurity managers or computer security managers, oversee their organization's information security needs, processes, and procedures. They manage other cybersecurity and information technology (IT) professionals, develop security best practices, and take responsibility for keeping data and information secure.
Security managers work in diverse sectors. Major employing industries include computer systems design, information, finance and insurance, and management.
Security manager jobs typically require at least a bachelor's degree. However, some employers prefer candidates with a master's. Earning professional certifications can also open doors to careers as cybersecurity managers.
Now is a good time to get into cybersecurity because of the high demand and competitive salaries. Fortune reports that the demand for cybersecurity professionals currently outpaces the supply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information system managers earn nearly $160,000 in median salaries, much higher than other jobs.
Discover security managers' daily tasks and top skills. Find out about related cybersecurity career paths.
History of Security Managers
Not long ago, the cybersecurity field did not exist, let alone security manager jobs. Before the internet and digital records, most organizations did not store valuable data and information on computers. Cybersecurity began during the 1970s with the creation of the first antivirus software.
Security managers' job duties have grown over the years as the cybersecurity field has become more complex. Security managers need an advanced understanding of foundational IT skills and specialized expertise in cybersecurity.
As cyberattacks continue and organizations put more of their daily operations in the cloud, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals has risen dramatically in nearly every sector.
Similar Specializations and Career Paths
There are various other careers related to security managers. Someone with security management experience can pursue other jobs in cybersecurity or computer and IT management roles. Location, education, experience, and industry can affect your chances of landing these jobs.
The BLS projects an impressive 16% career growth (much faster than average) for computer and information systems managers from 2021-2031. Security managers with the right education, skills, and experience can apply for other management-level roles in the industry.
|Career||Description||Required Education||Required Experience||Salary|
Information security analysts help keep their organizations' computer systems and networks secure. Typical employers include the computer systems design, finance and insurance, and information industries.
Less than 5 years
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer and information systems managers oversee computer-related activities, processes, and procedures for their organization. They can specialize in areas like security, or take a more general role.
5 or more years
Security directors perform many of the same duties and serve many of the same roles as security managers. They oversee all personnel, procedures, budgets, and processes related to their organization's information security.
5 or more years
Security software developers create secure software programs and applications. They also make existing software programs and applications more safe for users.
Source: BLS, Payscale
What Does a Security Manager Do?
Security managers' daily duties depend on where they work, their industry, and the size of their company. For example, those working at large investment banks may oversee teams of security analysts and other technology personnel.
Security managers working for small businesses may manage just a few people. In big companies, these professionals often focus on managerial responsibilities, while managers in smaller companies may take on more hands-on roles.
Security managers deal with high-level IT security issues, supervising employees who implement and configure security measures. Their duties include hiring new employees, preparing and overseeing budgets, and evaluating new security tools and technologies. They also develop policies, regulations, and strategies to enhance the security of their organizations' computer networks and systems.
Security managers are crucial to their organizations' success since they oversee operations that defend against cyber intrusions. They ensure that their organizations' data, financial assets, and customer information stay safe.
Key Soft Skills for Cybersecurity Managers
Communication: Security managers must express themselves clearly and articulately. They need both written and oral communication skills and the ability to listen to others. Good communication skills can also help security managers during presentations and meetings. Leadership/Project Management: Security managers supervise the work of other cybersecurity and IT professionals, which requires excellent project management and leadership skills. Executives help lead their organizations through strategic thinking, taking responsibility, and effectively delegating. Interpersonal Skills: Security managers oversee other employees, but they also may interact with many other people in their organizations, which takes good interpersonal skills. This includes having empathy, listening to others, and maintaining a positive attitude. Problem-Solving: Stressful challenges can come up in cybersecurity work. Security managers need the ability to solve problems under pressure while staying calm.
Key Hard Skills for Cybersecurity Managers
Mitigating Security Risks: Security managers must constantly monitor their organization's computer networks to check for security risks. They are also responsible for mitigating risk by implementing new security policies and procedures. Resource Management: Security managers learn how to efficiently and effectively use resources to keep their organization's computer systems safe. Resource management in this context includes managing people, technology, and computers. Software Knowledge: Security managers must know operating systems like Linux. They also spend time maintaining and upgrading security software to mitigate risk and prevent cyberattacks from occurring. Managers must keep ahead of the latest technology, industry improvements, and best practices. Ensuring Compliance: Cybersecurity managers need a good understanding of cybersecurity-related rules and regulations in their organization. An important part of their job includes making sure their organization is in compliance.
A Day in the Life of a Security Manager
The daily tasks of a security manager vary by position, employer, and industry. A typical day in the life may include these responsibilities:
- Train new IT security staff
- Investigate a recent security breach
- Give a presentation of security recommendations and best practices to organization executives
- Attend a security meeting discussing new security measures
- Respond to emails
- Read cybersecurity management blogs and professional listservs
- Audit your organization's security practices to identify potential vulnerabilities
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Security Manager Salary and Career Outlook
Information technology occupations generally pay well, especially senior-level positions in the field. According to the BLS, computer and IT professionals earn a median annual salary of $97,430 — more than double the median salary for all occupations.
BLS data indicates that computer and information systems managers take home a median pay of $159,010 per year. The top 25% of information systems management earners make at least $198,750 per year. Even the bottom 10% of information systems managers take home up to $95,220 per year.
This salary range is due in part to differences between various industries and locations. For instance, the top-paying industries for IT managers include financial services and electronic component manufacturing. In New York, California, and New Jersey, IT managers earn more than their counterparts in other states.
Security manager careers are also experiencing rapid growth. The BLS projects employment for computer and information systems managers to jump by 16% from 2021-2031, triple the average growth rate for all jobs.
Annual Median Salary
How to Get a Job as a Security Manager
Find out how to jumpstart your security manager career. While no degree guarantees entry into a particular career, this section explores potential degrees for security managers. Discover the experience IT professionals need for security manager jobs.
When it comes to education, employers generally require information security workers to hold a bachelor's degree. They usually prefer applicants with degrees in information security-related disciplines, such as information technology, information assurance, or cybersecurity. Many universities offer information security as a concentration within a computer science bachelor's program.
Senior-level security manager jobs often require a master's degree in a field like cybersecurity or information systems. Since security managers need excellent managerial skills, degrees in IT management or business administration may prove beneficial for finding a job.
By earning a bachelor's or master's degree in an IT-related field, graduates can show potential employers that they possess the technical skills and knowledge necessary to protect information systems from attack.
Aspiring security managers can demonstrate mastery in the field through professional experience. Security managers supervise lower-level security employees, so they need strong managerial skills and an understanding of information security procedures and technologies.
These professionals generally need at least five years' experience in the information security field, and they can work their way up to a security management role through jobs such as information security analyst, security administrator, or network administrator.
Along the way, security professionals can further develop their security and management abilities through cybersecurity certifications and following IT blogs.
Learn what to expect from IT management degrees, including typical courses, cost, and length.
Explore the different options for pursuing a degree in business and technology.
Find out about your options for earning a college degree in computer science.
Discover the typical requirements for information systems security degree programs.
Learn what to expect in a bachelor's in information assurance.
Figure out if a bachelor's degree in information technology is right for you.
Professional Organizations for Cybersecurity Managers
Learn More About Security Managers
Questions About Jobs in Cybersecurity Management
What is a security manager?
A security manager oversees computer security issues for their organization. They identify cybersecurity risks, create best practices, respond to security breaches, and manage other IT and cybersecurity professionals.
Is cybersecurity management a good career?
The demand for cybersecurity professionals makes now an excellent time to pursue a cybersecurity management career. The BLS projects a 35% growth rate (much faster than average) for information security analysts between 2021 and 2031.
Is it hard to get a job as a security manager?
Because of the demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals, applicants with the right skills, education, and experience can likely expect to land a security manager job. Information security professionals typically need at least a bachelor's degree and 3-5 years of experience in the field. Some employers may require certifications like the CISSP.
Do I need a degree to work as a cybersecurity manager?
Yes, most employers prefer cybersecurity manager candidates with at least a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's in cybersecurity, computer science, information technology, or another related field prepares students to work as a cybersecurity manager.
Reviewed by: Monali Mirel Chuatico
In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor's in computer science, which gave her the foundation that she needed to excel in roles such as a data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and computer science instructor.
Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a data analytics captain at a nonprofit called COOP Careers, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on their professional development journey.
Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocating for mental health, empowering women, and educating youth. Monali's goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skill set, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.
Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
Page last reviewed Sep 14, 2022
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