A network security engineer is an essential part of any large (and many mid-sized) business' overall technology team. A network security engineer is involved in the provisioning, deployment, configuration, and administration of many different pieces of network- and security-related hardware and software. These include firewalls, routers, switches, various network monitoring tools, and VPNs (virtual private networks). These engineers also regularly perform network-based security risk assessments, and they occasionally help design new infrastructure solutions as a company expands or replaces its system architecture.
There are many certifications available to network security engineers, and employers generally desire certifications in the hardware used for the company's technology infrastructure. However, there are some hardware-independent certifications, such as RSA and CISSP, that help ensure that a potential network security engineer is qualified. As is often true in the technology space, several years' experience is often accepted in lieu of a bachelor's degree.
While most network security engineers work from a single location, there are also some positions requiring 50 percent or more time traveling; these positions are generally with companies that implement third-party security solutions for other companies. The mental demands of this job generally outweigh the physical demands, and work is often completed in climate-controlled environments. However, jobs requiring significant travel, or engineers in smaller firms that take a more hands-on role (e.g., helping to wire in new locations or equipment) may include a notable amount of physically demanding tasks as well.
Network Security Engineer Tasks
Maintain firewall, virtual private network, web, and email security programs, protocols, and security.
Maintain physical and code environment to protect servers, switches, and entire information technology (IT) system while balancing overall load.
Monitor and log security concerns and incidents, and generate reports and track performance.