Security analysts and security engineers both work in the security department, but their roles are very different. Professionals who are well-versed in security may want to explore these career paths and may wish to move between them depending on the position and the organization. Understanding the difference between a security analyst and an engineer is important both for hiring managers and for those who are within the industry.
Analysts vs. Engineers
In many sectors of computer science, there are both analysts and engineers. Analysts are usually focused on identifying issues with a system. They are intended to optimize and repair an existing system so that it operates as efficiently as possible. Engineers, on the other hand, are often the architects of a system. They are able to develop a system from the ground up, creating it from whole cloth. Whether an analyst or an engineer is the more experienced one really depends on the company itself. There is nothing that is intrinsically more experienced about either an analyst or an engineer. Instead, they often operate as two halves of the same whole.
A security analyst often tests a system and ensures that it is effective. An analyst may be called in as an outside consultant to identify any potential vulnerabilities within a system, or they may be on an internal IT team. Security analysts often have at least a few years of experience within the industry. Senior analysts may have decades of experience and may operate strictly as experts and consultants. They differ primarily from security engineers because they are not expected to actually build the solutions. Instead, an analyst will usually report on any issues that are discovered. Once the issues are reported, it will usually be the engineer who makes the changes.
The Role of a Security Engineer
A security engineer is an engineer who designs security systems. They may integrate a security ecosystem and they may also be responsible for the upgrading and maintenance of the system. They will also often be tasked with risk assessments and researching new solutions. Security engineers differ from network engineers primarily in their focus. A network engineer may build a network to be well-optimized and effective, but the security engineer is going to focus primarily on potential vulnerabilities and exploits.
It’s important to remember that many companies create their own definitions. If you’re a security professional looking for a position, it’s best to focus on the job description rather than the actual job title. Different companies may have an overlap in their analyst and engineering positions, or they may have additional expectations from either. There is also a very broad spectrum of experience that is required for each type of position. If you’re ready to look for a security-focused job, you can start looking at the job listings at Software Specialists now.