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First responders are critical in emergency situations and vital to safety. In the field of cyber security, incident responders are the valuable individuals who come to the rescue in times of security system trouble. They work as quickly as possible to solve issues within a company and take necessary action to prevent any further problems.


Incident Responders could be considered the police officers or fire fighters for an organization's network or system. You are trying to protect and prevent major threats and/or attacks from happening, and if needed apply changes so they do not occur again. Here are some of the job duties of an incident responder:

  • Recognize any errors or possible vulnerabilities in the network or system
  • Develop a system of procedures on how to handle an emergency
  • Effectively oversee systems and applications for any suspicious activity
  • Collaborate with other cyber security team members
  • Run penetration tests, risk analysis and security audits
  • Develop a system for the communication trail that needs to take place during an emergency, and how to relay necessary information to law enforcement
  • Provide well-composed incident reports to proper management team members



There are other cyber security jobs that can help you build some work experience to add or include on your resume in this area:

System Administrator

Security Administrator

Network Administrator

If you are interested in moving up into a higher position in incident response, a possible career title to consider might be the Director of Incident Response or a CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) Manager.


The job title of an incident responder could go under the umbrella of cyber security career descriptions. Some of the following could be comparable titles:

Incident Response Engineer

Cyber Incident Responder

Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) Engineer

Computer Network Defense (CND) Incident Responder

Forensics is a very close area to incident responding, and some businesses may actually require a background or experience in forensics. A Forensics Expert is a job that could be compared to an Incident Responder.

Incident Responder: The police officer in the digital world. Being proactive to help prevent any cyber attacks or breaches in the security system. First ones on the scene, incident responders are also there to help fix the emergency and take actions necessary to prevent it from happening again.

Forensics Expert: A detective in the digital world. Trying to track down the cyber attackers and hackers. Use evidence and data from within the applications and networks and analyze to present findings to law enforcement or legal authorities.


This is a unique job in cyber security due to the job demands. If an incident or emergency occurs, you may work longer hours for a couple days and then have time off for the rest of the week. Your employer is going to need you to help avoid crisis, but also be present during a crisis until it is resolved. The median annual salary, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics 2021, for a computer support specialist, a similar occupation to an incident responder, is $49,770. The top 10% in the field earned over $91,060.

graphic supporting cyber security salaries



Incident Responder

graphic supporting cyber security salaries



Leadership & Management Positions


Education This specific field in cyber security is not going to require you to hold a bachelor's degree. However, a technical degree in computer science or similar field could widen your career options and boost your resume. There are specialized master's degrees available in Information Security or Information Assurance, which is what you should consider if a management position is something you aspire to reach.

Work Experience For entry level positions, the average is around three years of experience in incident response. Senior or team lead roles will most likely require at least five years of experience.

Hard Skills

  • Familiar with forensics software such as EnCase, Helix, XRY and FTK
  • Comfortable with archiving and backing up a variety of technologies
  • Fluent in major programming languages such as Java, PHP, C++, C, C# and ASM
  • Highly proficient in computer operating systems like Linux, UNIX and Windows
  • Basic understanding of Internet-based application security

Soft Skills

  • Quick thinking
  • Confident in making decisions in high pressure situations
  • Willing to adapt within emergency situations
  • Great problem solving skills
  • Logical and rational thinker
  • Patient
  • Well-spoken
  • Good communicator
  • Excellent writing skills


Companies will vary in their requirements for job certification for this field. It is always important to find out your company or agency specified requirements before applying.

Some examples of certificates for an incident responder might be any of the following:

  • Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst
  • Certified Ethical Hacker
  • Certified Computer Forensics Examiner
  • Certified Penetration Tester
  • GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst
  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler
  • GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst
  • Certified Computer Examiner

It is the perfect time to take advantage of this growing field of cyber security and start an exciting career as an incident responder. There are many advancement opportunities, along with the chance to become a hero for any number of major organizations and both the junior and senior level.

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