Security Engineer Salary: Your 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Gain valuable insights into the market trends and annual compensation for security engineers, one of the most sought-after cybersecurity positions in the IT industry.

[Featured image] Three security engineers examining data security protocols on a computer monitor inside a server room.

Information security is paramount, not only for businesses but also for government agencies, as they actively engage in proactive cybersecurity initiatives to combat online crimes. Based on data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the top five reported internet crimes in 2022 include phishing, personal data breach, non-payment, extortion, and tech support fraud [1].

Undoubtedly, security engineers play a crucial role in the cybersecurity landscape, working diligently to safeguard assets and mitigate risks. As an example, in March 2023, the Justice Department successfully dismantled BreachForums, a prominent hacker forum, recognized as one of the largest in the world [2].

Read on to discover further insights into the salary of a security engineer, including comparable job descriptions and the top-paying cities in the United States.

What is a security engineer? 

Security engineers strategize, design, develop, and manage tools and systems that protect digital data and devices. Formulation of rules or protocols to assess the efficacy of safety systems and security procedures is also within the purview of a security engineer. Other key responsibilities of a security engineer include:

  • Configuring hardware security modules and perform security assessments

  • Ensuring adherence to secure coding guidelines

  • Conducting evaluations of system security plan documentation

How much does a security engineer make?

The average annual pay for a security engineer ranges from $80,440 to $142,746, according to multiple job listing sites. The following table lists the average salaries provided by Zippia, Glassdoor, Payscale, Indeed, and Lightcast™.

Zippia [3]Glassdoor [4]Payscale [5]Indeed [6]Lightcast™ [7]

Factors that impact security engineer salary

Many factors can affect your salary as a security engineer. Below we'll explore how education, certification, experience, location, industry, and the company you work for help shape your annual earnings.

Education of a security engineer

According to Zippia, security engineers with a master’s degree earn $114,513 annually on average [8]. A bachelor’s degree and an associate degree allow for a average annual income of $104,976 and $90,591, respectively.

Sixty-three percent of professionals in this field earn a bachelor's degree, making it the most prevalent qualification among security engineers. The second most common credential is an associate degree, which is obtained by 16 percent of security engineers. Rounding off the distribution is the master's degree, pursued by approximately 15 percent of individuals working as security engineers. Computer science, computer information systems, or information technology tend to be the primary fields of study chosen by many security engineers.

Certifications for security engineers

Certifications help validate your expertise to current and prospective employers by demonstrating your commitment to staying updated with industry advancements and best practices. The following is a compilation of popular certifications you can consider for upskilling, along with average annual salaries for certification holders:

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): $115,000 [9]

  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): $136,000 [10]

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): $95,000 [11]

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): $127,000 [12]

Security engineer salaries by levels of experience

The more experience you accumulate, the higher your annual income tends to be. Here are the estimated average total base compensations based on varying levels of experience, according to Glassdoor [4].

  • 0–1 year: $94,216

  • 1–3 years: $95,141

  • 4–6 years: $106,174

  • 7–9 years: $115,826

  • 10–14 years: $129,308

  • 15 or more years: $136,462

Security engineer salaries by location

Salaries often differ with geographical location. Certain cities may offer wages that surpass the national average. If you are open to the idea of relocating, it is beneficial to delve into comprehensive research on location-specific salaries. 

High-paying US cities

As of September 1, here are some top-paying cities for security engineers, according to data aggregated by Indeed [13]:

  • Springfield, VA: $140,505

  • Austin, TX: $128,743

  • Chantilly, VA: $120,046

  • Chicago, IL: $115,071

  • Nashville, TN: $96,153

  • Baltimore, MD: $85,197

Industries for security engineers

Understanding the trends, demands, and financial outlooks within different industries can help you make informed decisions about your career path. By aligning your skills, interests, and experience with industries that offer competitive compensation, you can enhance your chances of earning a desirable salary, while also advancing your professional goals.

3 high-paying industries

According to Glassdoor, the highest-paying industries by average annual total pay (which includes base pay plus benefits) for security engineers in the United States are [4]:

  • Manufacturing: $170,733

  • Information technology: $163,096

  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology: $162,986

Other common industries

Security engineer positions are also prevalent within the media and communications and telecommunications industries, underscoring their significance in safeguarding sensitive data. The yearly average total compensation for both sectors is as follows.

  • Media and communications: $160,795

  • Telecommunications: $156,832

Companies for security engineers

Pay can also vary considerably among firms due to a range of factors, including company size, industry, location, financial performance, and the demand for particular skill sets. However, it’s important to note that your education and experience also play a significant role in determining your pay.

High-paying companies for security engineers

The following list includes the average annual total pay by high-paying companies for security engineers in the United States, per Glassdoor [4]:

  • Dropbox: $280,740

  • Wish: $250,092

  • Slack: $248,677

  • AppDynamics: $$244,907

  • Stripe: $242,646

  • VMware: $242,168

  • Splunk: $241,768

  • Google: $241,280

  • Meta: $273,403

  • Twilio: $238,815

If the prospect of pursuing a career as a security engineer appeals to you, here are some captivating job titles you can consider:

Security administrator

Average annual US base salary: $89,263 [14]

As a security administrator, your role entails the development and administration of IT security systems capable of shielding organizations’ assets from unforeseen threats. Additionally, you may actively monitor computer networks to identify potential security issues.

Security analyst     

Average annual US base salary: $106,811 [15]

In your position as a security analyst, you will test new security systems, upgrade existing systems, possibly conduct penetration testing, and more. You could also be tasked with gathering end-user feedback to assess systems’ performance.

Security auditor

Average annual US base salary: $98,071 [16]

As a security auditor, your responsibilities encompass the development, execution, and upkeep of internal audit protocols and risk evaluation methods. Furthermore, you will generate audit reports to ensure compliance with local laws and ethical practices.

Job outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a 32 percent increase in employment for information security analysts between 2022 and 2032 [17]. This projection corresponds to approximately 16,800 information security analyst job openings per year within the United States.

Getting started with Coursera

Amp up your information security skills with the IT Security: Defense Against the Digital Dark Arts course available on Coursera. This beginner-level course, offered by Google, will introduce you to encryption algorithms for safeguarding data, cryptology, and authentication systems, among other IT security essentials.

Article sources


FBI. “2022 Internet Crime Report," Accessed January 17, 2024.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.