Security architect careers

What is a security architect?

A security architect is a crucial role in ensuring the security of an organization's environment. Generally, this position is held by someone with a solid security background and years of experience working as a security engineer.

The responsibility of a security architect is to review the architecture of the entire environment and implement policies and guidance to help minimize potential cyber risk. Explore the exciting career path to becoming a security architect. 

What does a security architect do?

Security architects strategize and execute initiatives to improve and maintain an enterprise’s security posture. Security architects are experienced IT professionals who are typically at a manager level in an organization. 


Security architect job roles

Security architects have diverse roles and responsibilities that vary from organization to organization. Security architects have to be some of the most versatile people in the organization. Usually, security architects are part developer, part engineer, part security expert and have extensive experience in various domains of IT. 

Security architect-related jobs:

  • Information security architect
  • Network security architect
  • Data architect
  • Cloud solutions architect

NICE work roles:

  • Enterprise architect
  • Solutions architect
  • Enterprise security architect
  • Infrastructure architect

Security architect job description

Security architects work at an advanced level to design, implement and maintain secure infrastructure. They possess a wide range of skills and expertise, including: 

  • Network/web protocols
  • Infrastructure
  • Authentication
  • Enterprise risk management
  • Security engineering
  • Network security
  • Identity and access management
  • Incident response 

Motorola's Pranshu Bajpai describes his role as a security architect best, “Every day I wear multiple hats for my organization. ... This can be tactical, strategic and technical.” For more insight into what it’s like to be a security architect, watch Pranshu’s video, What does a security architect do?  


Security architect career path FAQ

The career path for a security architect can depend on the organization's size. A manager-level security architect typically graduates to senior security architect and can progress to a director-level lead/principal security architect. Here are some top questions people ask. 

How much do security architects make?

A cybersecurity architect role is multifaceted, and your financial compensation reflects the many skills you’ll need for the job. Many factors contribute to your security architect salary, such as your location, organization and career level. Cybersecurity architect salaries typically fall between $91,000 and $181,000 and higher. 

Below is the average cybersecurity architect's salary at different career levels: 

  • Entry level - $78,192
  • Early career - $99.763
  • Mid-career - $125,378
  • Late-career - $142,904
  • Experienced - $148,296 
Entry level security architect vs. senior security architect?

A senior security architect will oversee and assist with more domains of security and IT in the organization. In contrast, the security architect will typically focus on one area of expertise. A senior security architect's salary will grow with their responsibilities and skills. 

Do you need a degree to be a security architect?

Yes, typically, you need a bachelor's degree to be considered for a role as a security architect. You’ll also need certifications. Read the article, Degree vs. certification: Mid-level cybersecurity architect, for more. 

How long does it take to become a security architect?

This will vary for everyone across industries, but on average, people who have been security engineers for 8-10 years are better fit to become security architects. 

Where can I find security architect jobs?

Wondering where to find security architect jobs? You can search the general job boards here: Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and CareerBuilder.

There are also cybersecurity-focused job websites like, ClearedJobs and others.

Cybersecurity groups and associations like ISSAISACA or Women in Cybersecurity are another great way to network and find potential job openings. You can also try attending local meetups or connecting with other cybersecurity professionals on popular cybersecurity discussion boards.

Security architect vs. security engineer: What is the difference?

A security architect oversees a specific domain of security for an organization. They understand and decide on the technologies that best suit the organization for that domain. Security engineers are the individuals in that domain who deploy the technology the architects select. 

How to become a security architect

Becoming a security architect requires continuous learning and years of experience across security domains and IT. Infosec Author Leighton Johnson explains, “First, you need to know the security components directly — with either education or certifications with professional experience. This allows you to gain an understanding of how you can help the organization best.”  

Security architect requirements 

As a security architect, you must have a strong knowledge and track record of deploying complex security technologies throughout environments. You'll also need:

  • 5-10 years of experience in cybersecurity
  • Ability to learn new technologies quickly to implement them   
  • Teaching, problem-solving and interpersonal skills
  • A degree is not required, but it can help significantly

Pranshu Bajpai is a security architect with Motorola with a doctorate in computer science. Watch his Getting into security architecture: Careers, skills and ransomware video for his take on advanced academic study and quicker ways to develop your skills. 

Security architect certifications

Certifications are key to landing a security architect job as they help you learn new skills and prove your knowledge. Below are popular certs to help you prepare for a security architect career. 

  • ISC2 CISSP: The CISSP proves you can effectively design, implement & manage a cyber security program.
  • ISC2 CCSP: With the cloud becoming more popular, a security architect must have a deep understanding of how to secure data in the cloud. That is what the CCSP teaches and proves you can do.
  • ISACA CISM: This certification proves you have expertise in information security governance, program development and management, incident response and risk management. Every security architect should have a strong skill set in these focus areas.
  • CompTIA CASP+: The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification shows you know how to design and engineer secure solutions across complex enterprise environments.   

Security architect interview questions

Common security architect interview questions include:

  • How do you define risk, vulnerability and threat on a network?
  • What is the CIA triad?
  • Why do you need DNS monitoring?
  • What is a DDoS attack? How is it mitigated?
  • Explain SSL and TLS in your own words.

For more interview prep questions, check out our article: Security architect interview questions. For more tips, download our ebook: Cybersecurity interview tips: How to stand out, get hired and advance your career.

Security architect courses

Live security architect boot camps and on-demand security architect courses provide expert, guided instruction to build your knowledge and skills. A few popular options are listed below: 

Free & self-study security architect resources

Security architects are often one of the most advanced cybersecurity roles within an organization. If you put in the work and have a passion for cybersecurity, it can be a lucrative and rewarding career.