How to Become a Source Code Auditor

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 12% growth in computer and information technology occupations 2018-2028. As highly specialized cybersecurity and programming professionals, source code auditors may benefit from this increase.

Source code auditors expose vulnerabilities and prevent potential security threats. They also identify mistakes within source codes, eliminating inefficiencies. As industries become increasingly technical, the demand for auditors with source code expertise continues to grow. Source code auditors thoroughly assess code, prepare reports on their findings, and make recommendations for change.

What Does a Source Code Auditor do?

Program and application code audits involve comprehensive analysis of source code. Auditors look at individual lines of code to identify bugs, weaknesses, and syntax errors. They apply programming standards and conventions, while identifying violations limiting or preventing code efficacy. Source code auditors also possess a thorough understanding of computers and computer science topics such as networking, database security, computer forensics, and cryptography.

Source code auditors may perform penetration tests, review authorization protocols, and assess authentication mechanisms. As cybersecurity professionals, source code auditors search for problems within code that expose private information or allow unauthorized access. They also identify issues and potential problems within code unrelated to security. In this capacity, source code auditors have programming experience that facilitates collaboration and cooperation with software engineers and web developers.

Source code auditors prepare oral and written reports on their findings. They relay information to technical and non-technical colleagues, often providing results to legal and development teams. In the event of a data breach or security incident, source code auditors may carry out an audit as part of a criminal or civil investigation. Source code auditors often provide consultant services, and are brought into companies at regular intervals to assess code.

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Steps to Become a Source Code Auditor

Source code auditors need an undergraduate degree in computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity. A bachelor’s degree builds fundamental knowledge and skills in computer programming, network and system administration, web development, and information technology security.

Entry-level positions for future source code auditors include software programmer, software engineer, or web developer. With 2-3 years of experience in an entry-level position, individuals can move into a mid-level coding or auditing role. Entry- and mid-level experience with ethical hacking, security analysis, and software engineering combine into a successful career as a source code auditor.

Alongside experience, individuals can pursue additional certifications in areas such as penetration testing, software security, or incident handling. Certifications demonstrate expertise in the duties and tasks associated with source code auditing to colleagues and employers alike.

Source code auditors also benefit from a graduate degree in a computer-related field. Specialized master’s degrees in cybersecurity, information security, or computer programming enhance competencies and facilitate career growth.

Source code auditors need software development, security threat, and programming expertise to address evolving program and application threats. College degrees, industry certifications, and experience keep source code auditors current in technologies and practices in the field.

Top Required Skills for a Source Code Auditor

Analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills benefit source code auditors. As professionals weeding through intricate program and application code, source code auditors demonstrate strong attention to detail. They assess existing code, identify weaknesses and problems, and produce solutions to threats and vulnerabilities.

Source code auditors understand the applicability of software programs and applications, essential when exploring the efficacy and function of code. Awareness of current cyberthreats and cybersecurity issues gives source code auditors guidance on what to look for when conducting an audit. It also allows them to provide safe, secure alternatives to existing code.

Strong communication and collaboration skills, particularly the ability to explain technical concepts, allow source code auditors to thrive. They often work independently, but provide information about their findings as part of a team.

Source Code Auditor Salary

According to Indeed.com, employers for employees who audit source code include telecommunications companies, like Verizon, and information technology firms, including Protocol Labs.

With many of the same skills as penetration testers and security auditors, source code auditors may be classified under one of those titles. Payscale reports salaries topping $107,000 annually for penetration testers at Acme, Inc. and IBM. Associated with information security analysts by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, penetration testers are projected for an estimated 32% increase in employment from 2018 to 2028.

Looking for More Cyber Degree Programs?

NOTE: Take a look at our Guide to Cybersecurity Certifications for more information and advice.

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Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?

Find the right education path to take advantage of this fast-growing industry and join the front-lines on technology and security.