How to Become a Security Administrator

A trustworthy and dependable cyber security system is critical to most organizations. To implement this, companies need reliable and knowledgeable employees. A security administrator is the someone who understands the entire system and keeps it functioning securely and optimally.

Job Responsibilities

Responsibility_iconYour responsibilities as a security administrator may vary depending upon your employer, but your main task will be to install and control the security system. Some of your job duties may include the following:

  • Create security requirements within your network
  • Run security audits and create a list of policy recommendations
  • Provide training and guidance to colleagues on strategies and policies
  • Protect the system against illegal access or alterations
  • Supervise the system for any suspicious activity or traffic
  • Create a plan for recovery and how to continue with production

Security Administrator vs. Security Analyst

There are several types of cyber security job titles with similar job responsibilities. But there is a difference between a security administrator and a security analyst. This often comes down to your place of employment. In some cases, you may take on the tasks of both jobs:

Security Administrator: In control of making sure the system as a whole is running properly. In this role, you are responsible for updating the system, resolving issues, and setting up any new users.
Security Analyst: Analyzes data to help keep cyber invaders out. Once any flaws or issues are discovered and evaluated, a security analyst then makes recommendations as to what needs to be changed but is not in charge of physically making the changes.

Security Administrator Career Opportunities

There are more than a few cyber security specific job titles. Here are some that fall under the umbrella of security administration:

Security Auditor

Security Consultant

Security Analyst

Security Engineer

These are all careers that you could work in as a security administrator. Depending upon the size and type of company you are working for, you may take on some of these job title responsibilities—or all.

If you are interested in a leadership position, these job titles might include some of the following:

  • Security Director
  • Security Manager
  • Security Architect
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

For most security administrators, security analysts or security consultants, you usually report to a security manager or a higher up leadership position.

Related Job Titles

When you search for a job as a security administrator, pay close attention to the titles in the job openings.You may see other titles such as those below, but be aware that security administrator jobs could also be listed as:

  • IT Security Administrator
  • Systems Security Administrator
  • Network Security Administrator

All of these jobs have the same goal in mind—to keep their business networks safe and running smoothly with as few security issues as possible.


Security-Administrator-salaryAs a security administrator, your salary will vary depending upon where you work and in which part of the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook lists the median annual salary for Network Systems Administrators as $75,790, and Information Security Analysts as $88,890. The job growth for the field is 18 percent, which if faster than average for all career fields through 2014.

What is Required to Become a Security Administrator?

Degree The company you work for is going to be the definitive answer to this requirement. If you choose to work for a small business, work experience or an associate’s degree may be accepted. Expect larger corporations with higher risk to require a bachelor’s degree in a cyber security or related computer science field. A technical degree or continuing your education with a focused security master’s degree can be a great investment if you will be choosing to move into leadership roles.
Work Experience Again, this answer can be found within your future or current employer. Some companies accept as little as one year of experience, and others to require five years or more.
Soft Skills

  • Effective communication skills
  • Clear and informative writing skills
  • Comfortable speaking in front of others and leading training, workshops, classes to fellow employees
  • Organized
  • Attention to detail
  • Patience
Hard Skills

  • Highly developed knowledge of firewall technologies
  • Comfortable with L4-L7 protocols; HTTP, SMTP, SSL, IPSec and DNS
  • Proficient in Proxy Server, Packet Shaper, Load Balancer
  • Checkpoint, Juniper and Cisco
  • Advanced knowledge of IDS/IDP
  • Familiar with major computer operating systems; Linux, UNIX and Windows
  • Understanding of analysis tools and network protocols
Available Certificates

  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate—Routing and Switching (CCNA)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • EC-Council Network Security Administrator (ENSA)
  • CompTIA’s popular base-level security certification (Security+)

Becoming a security administrator is a great way to start in the field of cyber security and is a solid career path with room to grow. As always, research the specifics of the companies you’re interested in and confirm that your skills and ambitions are the right fit.


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