How to Become a Cloud Security Engineer: 2024 Career Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Cloud security engineers work to prevent cybercrime on company assets in the cloud. Discover the education, skills, and experience you’ll need to start a career in this growing field.

[Featured Image] A cloud security engineer is working on his cloud security certification while working on his computer.

Cloud security engineers are in-demand professionals who help create and maintain security measures for company activities in the cloud, such as cloud infrastructure or cloud networks. In this role, you’ll help design, test, and plan the processes and procedures that keep business information, network, and other assets safe and secure. 

According to research from Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime will cost $9.5 trillion globally in 2024, growing year over year by 15 percent, to a projected $10.5 trillion in 2025 [1]. To put that amount into perspective, Cybersecurity Ventures notes that “if it were measured as a country, then cybercrime would be the world’s third largest economy after the U.S. and China” [1]. Cloud security engineers and other security professionals are the front line of defense against cybercrime. 

Read more: What is Cloud Computing? 15 FAQ for Beginners

What does a cloud security engineer do?

Cloud security engineers help plan, build, and oversee security procedures for a company’s cloud network and infrastructure. In this role, you will help access and analyze the security risks and needs of the cloud network and digital information. You’ll design, improve, and monitor solutions and systems to minimize risk with your company’s specific needs in mind. 

You may work on a team and collaborate with other computer security professionals, so the exact roles of your job will vary from company to company. Common responsibilities of a cloud security engineer include: 

  • Staying ahead of industry trends and latest threats to provide up-to-date solutions 

  • Recommending software and other tools to protect company assets 

  • Coordinating and communicating with other teams and leadership about security needs and risks 

  • Conducting tests and analysis of procedures and systems to prepare for emergencies 

  • Ensuring compliance and documentation 

Salary and job outlook

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a cloud security engineer in the US is $116,186 per year [2]. This figure includes an average base salary of $107,538 and $8,648 in additional pay. Additional pay may represent profit-sharing, commissions, or bonuses. The exact amount you can expect to earn will vary on factors like years of experience, where you live, and what certifications and other credentials you hold. 

Cloud security is a rising industry growing in response to companies embracing cloud computing, networking, and infrastructure. The global cloud security market was worth $20.5 billion in 2022 and is slated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.5 percent to reach $148.3 billion by 2032, according to Market.US [3]. 

While the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not report specifically on job outlook data for cloud security engineers, it does project a much faster than average 32 percent growth rate for information security analysts from 2022 to 2032 [4].

How to become a cloud security engineer 

To begin a career in cloud security, you’ll need to complete your education, develop important skills, and gain relevant working experience working. You can also pursue certifications to develop your skills even further and demonstrate your competencies to employers. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps. 

Step 1: Education 

The first step to becoming a cloud security engineer is to pursue formal education. The most common requirement for this role is a bachelor’s degree. According to Zippia, relevant majors include [5]:

Some employers may prefer a master's degree in cybersecurity, computer science, or a related field.

Step 2: Skills

Depending on the area of study you choose, you’ll need to learn important cloud security skills to work in the field. You may learn these skills while obtaining your education or with certificate programs. 

Some of the technical skills employers are looking for in cloud security engineers include: 

  • Object-oriented languages (Java, Python, Ruby, C++)

  • Cloud environments and security 

  • Incident response

  • Scripting languages (Javascript) 

  • Agile

  • Cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure

Workplace skills that help you perform effectively as a cloud security engineer include:

  • Communication

  • Problem-solving

  • Research

  • Management 

  • Leadership

  • Analytical thinking

  • Self-motivation

Step 3: Experience 

The next step to become a cloud security engineer is to gain experience in the field. You may begin in an entry-level position as an information security analyst or security officer. According to Glassdoor, you’ll need an average of five to seven years of experience with cloud computing or security to start working as a security engineer [2]. 

Step 4: Certifications and certificates

While not always required, earning additional credentials can help you learn important skills and stand out to potential employers. You will have many options for credentials related to cloud computing, but here are five common certifications and certificates for cloud security engineers:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a globally recognized certification that verifies your IT security technical skills, and is often a standard for security professionals. 


  • AWS Certified Security - Specialty validates your understanding of data classifications and AWS data protection mechanisms. This may be helpful for those who work in an AWS cloud architecture, networking, database, or in a related area. 

  • Google Cloud Professional Cloud Security Engineer is a certificate that assesses your ability to ensure data protection, manage operations within a Google Cloud Platform environment, and more. 

  • Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) provides you with knowledge on cloud security programs and best practices. 

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) demonstrates to employers your existing knowledge on information technology and security in cloud environments. This certification is common for cybersecurity professionals. 

Cloud security engineer career path

Cloud security engineers often require prior experience in security before specializing in cloud security. As we mentioned above, many employers will look for candidates with five to seven years of experience. Some of the common entry-level positions in security to start with include: 

  • Information security engineer

  • Network security analyst

  • Security system engineer

  • Infrastructure engineer

In these roles, you’ll gain similar experience and skills to help you decide if cloud security is the right specialization for you. 

After gaining experience in a cloud security engineer position, you may decide to continue on with your career. Your experience may help you qualify for a more senior role, such as: 

Get started in cloud security engineering

If you’re ready to learn more and take the next step in your career, consider Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Cloud Security Engineer Professional Certificate on Coursera. This certification program is designed to help you learn the skills you’ll need to pass the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification exam. This credential can help demonstrate your skills in cloud security and advance your career. 

Article sources


Cybersecurity Ventures. “Cybercrime To Cost The World 9.5 Trillion USD Annually in 2023,” Accessed November 9, 2023. 

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