Cybersecurity architects are responsible for designing, developing and implementing the security systems that protect an organization’s information technology (IT) network. They work behind the scenes to keep sensitive and confidential data safe with the latest security technologies and methods. Learning more about the day-to-day duties of a cybersecurity architect, the skills required to succeed in the role, and the average cybersecurity architect salary can prepare individuals who want to serve on the front lines of cyber defense.
A cybersecurity architect is an advanced information security professional who is responsible for ensuring that an organization’s network and data remain private and secure. Every day around the world, security breaches expose confidential information to criminals, and in some cases, these breaches can cripple an organization’s operations.
Cybersecurity architects use hardware, software and protocols to neutralize the threats associated with various types of scams and fraud, including ransomware, malware, viruses, phishing and hacking. Overseeing enterprise-class defenses for security issues like these typically requires many years of experience.
No two organizations share the exact same needs, so the role of a cybersecurity architect varies from one company or employer to the next. However, all cybersecurity architects focus their efforts on three main factors when building and maintaining security systems.
To build effective security systems, cybersecurity architects must have a solid understanding of the organization’s operations. They use this information to determine which parts of the company’s network require protection, and to what degree. This requires open and effective communication with other departments within the organization, including IT and senior management.
As technology continues to become more sophisticated, criminals find new and more innovative ways to breach companies’ security systems. Cybersecurity architects spend much of their days testing networks for vulnerabilities. They also learn to think like hackers with malicious intent; this helps them better understand the techniques those hackers might use to gain access to systems and data.
Cybersecurity architects must become experts in information security. They keep up with the latest news, technologies and security breaches to better protect their organizations. Many cybersecurity architects build entire IT security infrastructures from the ground up, and others update existing systems to keep up with the latest threats.
Cybersecurity architects may spend long hours looking at code on a computer screen, but they’re also likely to attend frequent meetings with managers, staff from other departments or their own IT teams where they need to be capable of listening to the needs and concerns of others. They may also spend time on the phone with vendors and technology experts outside their organizations. Their activities may include the following:
Cybersecurity architects are employed in almost all industries, but are most likely to work for larger organizations. According to Forbes, some of the top payers for the role are waste management and remediation services, the securities and financial investment sectors, and computer and computer equipment manufacturers themselves.
Due to the sophisticated nature of modern cyberattacks, cybersecurity architects benefit from having a postsecondary education in the IT and cybersecurity field. They should also have a very specific skill set that allows them to provide their organizations with the very best in safety and security.
Candidates who want the most lucrative career opportunities and a high cybersecurity architect salary should earn a bachelor’s degree in an IT field, followed by a master’s degree specific to the cybersecurity field. A master’s degree program, such as a Master of Science in Information Security Management, can prepare students for one or more professional credentials and certifications, which demonstrate aptitude, knowledge and ability to prospective employers.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in IT or cybersecurity is one of the most essential steps in becoming a cybersecurity architect. The degree equips you with the basic knowledge to build and maintain network infrastructures and keep them safe from malicious attacks.
Cybersecurity architect is a senior-level position, so employers may prefer candidates to have a master’s degree and several years of experience in an IT or a security-related role. A master’s degree program gives candidates advanced-level knowledge that’s designed to help them protect organizations’ assets at the enterprise level. It also prepares them for credentialing exams, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.
Cybersecurity architects should consider earning one or more certifications that are specific to their niches. Examples are Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification, Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect Expert certification and CompTIA Security+ certification.
Successful cybersecurity architects develop both soft and hard skills that serve them well throughout their careers. Some of the most important soft skills are excellent written and oral communication skills, the ability to think critically and decisively, internal motivation and a self-starter attitude, and the ability to work well with teams and other departments. A successful cybersecurity architect may be equal parts methodical, inquisitive and creative.
Cybersecurity architects develop the hard skills they need to be effective on the job during their years of education. These include the following:
The median cybersecurity architect salary is about $134,500 a year as of January 2023, according to the compensation website Payscale. Some cybersecurity architects earn bonuses and commissions in addition to their base salaries, and many employers offer outstanding benefits packages.
Experience plays a large role in determining the salary of a cybersecurity architect, as well. Cybersecurity architects with one to four years of experience in the role earn a median salary of about $98,300, but those with over 20 years of experience can earn a median salary of about $144,000.
According to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. had 1,415,000 cybersecurity jobs as of 2021, but only 950,000 workers were available to fill them. Cybersecurity Ventures reported that there would be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2025. The high demand for cybersecurity architects has created outstanding job security, competitive salaries and excellent benefits.
If you want to pursue a rewarding and high-paying career as a cybersecurity architect, the online Master of Science in Information Security Management degree at Augusta University Online offers the preparation you need to thrive. Our program focuses on the cutting-edge skills you need to prevent modern cyberattacks, helps you understand information security management at an expert level and prepares you for an in-demand leadership role. The curriculum covers areas such as security policy deployment, risk management and the legal issues and human factors in information security. Learn more about how AU Online’s fully asynchronous program can help you achieve your career goals.
Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, Security Architect
Cybercrime Ventures, “Cybersecurity Jobs Report: 3.5 Million Openings in 2025”
Cybrary, “What Is Cybersecurity Architecture?”
Forbes, “What Is a Typical Cybersecurity Salary?”
National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)
Payscale, Average Security Architect, IT With Cyber Security Skills Salary
Reciprocity, What Is Cybersecurity Architecture and Why Is It Important?
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer Network Architects
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts
Fill out the form below, and an admissions representative will reach out to you via email or phone with more information. After you’ve completed the form, you’ll automatically be redirected to learn more about Augusta University Online and your chosen program.