How to Become a Security Architect: 2024 Career Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Security architects play a strategic role in protecting their organisations.

[Featured image] A security architect in a black sweater and glasses stands in an open office holding a tablet.

Security architecture refers to the overall security system required to protect an organisation from security threats. As a security architect, it’s your job to design, build, and maintain your company’s security system. It’s a critical advanced-level role on nearly any cybersecurity team.

Whether you’re just getting started in cybersecurity or already have experience working in the field, setting your sights on a security architect role could be a rewarding career goal to work toward.

What does a security architect do?

A security architect plays a critical management role within an organisation’s information technology (IT) or cybersecurity department. As a security architect, you’re tasked with keeping your organisation safe from digital threats. Let’s take a closer look at what the job entails.

Tasks and responsibilities

The day-to-day tasks of a security architect will vary depending on the industry, the size of the company, and the current state of the company’s security infrastructure. Here are some tasks you might perform in this role:

  • Designing and updating overall security strategy

  • Budgeting for new security software or hardware

  • Managing security improvement projects

  • Overseeing security testing strategy, including vulnerability scanning and penetration testing

  • Performing regular threat analysis to keep up-to-date on the current security landscape

  • Managing a cybersecurity team

  • Ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations

Security architect skills

In this advanced-level role, many security architects have had years to develop a set of skills needed to be effective on the job. Even if you’re new to cybersecurity, you may already possess some of these technical and workplace skills. The following are examples taken from real security architect job listings on Naukri.

Security architect technical skills

  • Cloud security: With many organisations working in the cloud, you’ll need to understand best practices for keeping cloud environments secure.

  • Network security: You’ll balance business and security requirements to ensure an organisation’s network is both safe and functional.

  • Software development and DevSecOps: Experience in software development can empower you to more effectively implement security principles into the development process.

  • Identity and access management: It may be your job to protect data from unauthorised access whilst making that data accessible to those who need it.

  • Scripting language: The ability to write code in Python or PowerShell to automate tasks helps you work more efficiently.

  • Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems: Depending on your organisation, you may need to address security concerns unique to each operating system.

Security architect workplace skills

  • Collaboration: Security architects often work with company stakeholders to ensure the security infrastructure addresses business needs. 

  • Mentoring and coaching: You may be tasked with managing a security team or training new cybersecurity professionals.

  • Written and verbal communication: As a driver of security policy, you’ll often need to document your work and communicate complex topics to colleagues with non-technical backgrounds.

  • Problem-solving: Maintaining an organisation’s security means staying one step ahead of hackers and other threats. 

  • Project management: Understanding project management can help you oversee the implementation of new security products, procedures, or technologies.

  • Integrity: As a high-level security professional, you may have access to the same sensitive information you’ve been hired to protect. Furthermore, others might look to you for what is or is not acceptable behaviour.

Security architect vs. security engineer: What's the difference?

A security architect creates the vision for a company's security systems. It's then the job of the security engineer to figure out how to implement that vision. If a security architect decides to add a new security tool to the infrastructure, the security engineer would be responsible for installing and configuring it.


Why pursue a career in security architecture

Working as a security architect means taking a more strategic role on your organisation’s cybersecurity team. If you enjoy working with others to solve complex problems and don’t mind taking a step back from hands-on technical work, a career in security architecture could be a good fit.

Security architect salary

Security architects are often amongst the highest-paid members of a cybersecurity team. The average base salary for a security architect in India is ₹21L, according to Glassdoor as of May 2023 [1]. Your salary will depend on your company, location, and experience, amongst other factors.

Job outlook

The demand for cybersecurity jobs in India has increased and is set to continue to grow, with industry job vacancies increasing by 113 per cent in the last year [2]. In many industries, job openings have proven to be hard to fill due to a talent gap and candidates needing to fulfill the company criteria [2].

Security architect career paths

A security architect is considered an advanced-level role within cybersecurity. Depending on your career goals, you might pursue the management side of security by working for a larger company and working toward an executive security role.

You may also specialise by further developing your security skills in a niche like cloud, network, or application security.  

How to become a security architect

Successful security architects are able to take a high-level view of an organisation’s security needs and craft solutions to meet those needs. Becoming a security architect often means developing your security and leadership skills whilst gaining experience working with information security. If this sounds like a career for you, here’s an outline of how to get there.

1. Start with an entry-level cybersecurity job.

Most security architects move into the role after gaining several years of experience working in cybersecurity. Browse some job listings on Naukri, and you might see requirements ranging from four to ten years working in information security. Entry-level roles in India and their average annual base salaries include:

  • Cybersecurity analyst: ₹5,11,495

  • IT auditor: ₹8,94,257

  • Security specialist: ₹10L

*Average salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of June 2023

After gaining a year or two of experience, you might move into roles like penetration tester, cybersecurity consultant, or security engineer on your professional path toward becoming a security architect.

2. Consider a degree.

To help secure a role as a security architect, you will need at least an undergraduate degree, with many employers asking for a postgraduate degree. Whilst it’s possible to get your first job in cybersecurity without a degree, having one could open up more opportunities for advancement and make you a more competitive candidate in your job search.

By earning a degree in computer science, cybersecurity, information technology, or a related field, you can build some of the foundational IT and security skills recruiters are looking for.

3. Develop your cybersecurity skills.

If you’ve worked in IT before, you may already have some of the technical skills needed to become a security architect. But even if you’re completely new to cybersecurity, you can start developing these skills through online courses, boot camps, or cybersecurity degree programmes.

4. Get qualified.

Another way to gain new skills (and validate those skills to hiring managers) is to earn a cybersecurity qualification or certification. Some examples that might prove beneficial to aspiring security architects include:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Get started in cybersecurity

If you’re ready to get started in a cybersecurity career, consider enrolling in the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate on Coursera. Learn how to use essential job tools like Splunk, Chronicle, playbook, and more. This program is designed ​​to help individuals with no previous experience find their first job in the cybersecurity field, all at their own pace. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Article sources


Glassdoor. "Security Architect Salaries,,18.htm." Accessed June 8, 2023.

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