How To Become A Security Director?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2018-28, there is a projection of the rise in computer and information security manager jobs by 11%, which is faster than the average jobs. With the advent of the internet and succeeding globalization, cybersecurity risk has increased drastically.

Companies need to assure foolproof security systems and protocols to gain customer’s trust. Therefore, the demand for security professionals has amplified.

One of the intricate and highly responsible jobs is that of a security director. A security director not only needs to assure the security of the company’s assets but also requires planning, monitoring, and implementing security policies throughout the organization.

The International Security System (ISC)2 has estimated that in the US, an increase in demand for the cybersecurity workforce would be 62%. Despite this surge in demand, skilled professionals’ supply is still low.

So, the security director role is a promising ambition for anyone aspiring to venture in the field of cybersecurity.

What Does A Security Director Do?


Now that we have realized how high the demand for a security director’s job is, it’s time to understand exactly are the responsibilities of this position.

We all know cybersecurity officers are responsible for protecting essential and private information. So what else a Senior Security Specialist does, that makes its role different from other related cybersecurity workers?

The job description of the security director varies from industry to industry. Generally, it involves managing security departments and performing managerial tasks.

As cybersecurity leaders, we have to create our message of influence because security is a culture and you need the business to take place and be part of that security culture.

A security director is like a Field marshal, holding a line of defense intact while delegating its subordinates. He needs to analyze and strategically plan security protocols against any unexpected intrusion. He is responsible for protecting the confidential database of the company by ensuring the smooth running of network operations.

Needless to say, a security director is a crucial asset of the company. For the reason that they are responsible for preventing data breaches and security threats by creating effective strategies to increase network security.

Not Just a Technical Job

Likewise, the job isn’t just limited to technical expertise but also requires rigor grasp on managerial skills. The responsibilities include but not limited to budgeting, forecasting, planning security measures as per company policies.

They also need to ensure a clear understanding of security protocols among subordinates. Therefore, they are responsible for developing training programs and creating the best team of cybersecurity.

Fundamentally, a security director needs to lead dedicated security professionals who oversee the security along with the other IT-related tasks.

They write and review standards of the procedure (SOPs) for the security professionals to follow while integrating security measures in the company’s system. They also need to ensure that the security policies of the company are in alignment with the legal practices.

Some administrative tasks can also come under the job description of the security director. They work on updates and configuration of software or hardware equipment. They are responsible for the maintenance check of hardware equipment to secure the network and infrastructure.

In the case of a data breach, they lead the investigation and mitigation process. Additionally, a security director doesn’t work solo but is responsible for reporting and working along with a chief operating officer to meet the goals and objects of the company.

In a nutshell, a security director’s job is to ensure compliance with the procedure to support the security system. Hence, they conduct periodic tests to identify security threats or weaknesses in the system.

Furthermore, plan and take corrective measures to overcome those vulnerabilities. Review, approve and monitor any changes in the network infrastructure.

Job Requirements


Overseeing security management is a sensitive and complicated job. Every company has its own set of security conditions that require unique prerequisites to cater to them. Lack of the right skills and expertise can be the major hurdle in career advancement.

It can hamper any professional from carrying out their job tasks efficiently. Nevertheless, some primary requirements are considered prerequisites for landing a security director job.


On the one hand, technical expertise is essential for the security director to lead the cybersecurity professionals. While on the other soft skills are as imperative to perform managerial tasks.

Security manager needs following soft skills to performs administrative tasks efficiently:

  • Excellent communication to effectively delegate and disseminate information among security personnel.
  • Decision-making skills to plan and execute security management policies and procedures.
  • Exceptional problem-solving skills to handle threat risk and intrusion incidents.
  • Leadership qualities to lead, collaborate, and facilitate the security staff.

For securing a security director job, you need to become tech-savvy by requiring the following hard skills:

  • Proficiency in coding languages, especially C, C++, Php, and other related programming languages.
  • Seek out certification in cybersecurity to gain expertise in intrusion detection.
  • Risk management skills to gauge and counter any security risks.
  • Cloud is vulnerable to malicious attacks like hijacked accounts, data breaches, etc. Hence, cloud security is high in coveted demand skills.
  • Familiarity with operating systems and their firewall protocols.
  • Ethical hacking practices to counter the possible hijacking attacks.
  • Necessary know-how on third-party audits to work along with the security auditor.


The skills mentioned above require time and experience to master. They need practical exposure in the relevant field. So, to say that it can only be possible if you first pursue a relevant degree in information technology or computer science.

A Recent survey of International Security Consortium(ISC)² has shown that the degree and certifications were significant factors in hiring. The security director is a managerial position, and it requires at least a bachelor’s in Computer Science or Computer engineering.

It is better to choose a degree that offers coursework catering to information security. It can ensure success in advancing in an information security career.

A degree oriented to cybersecurity will give you early exposure to the skills and knowledge required by the Security director.

Some companies also prefer Masters in business management, a favorable point in consideration for the security director job.


Even after the degree, many companies demand significant experience and exposure to a security management job. Based on the US BLS survey, computer and information system manager posts usually require 5-7 years of experience.
Though it can vary for companies and industries. Depending on the sensitivity and knowledge of the role, some companies might demand nearly ten years of experience in information security-related fields.


Most of the time cybersecurity knowledge and exposure cannot be gained solely from degree programs like computer sciences. Thereupon, it is essential to have cybersecurity certification to secure a security director’s job.

Although there is a surge in the demand for information security jobs according to (ISC), there is a workforce gap of whooping 500,000 in the US alone. One of the reasons for the enormous workforce gap is the lack of expertise in the cybersecurity profession.
That being the case following are the certifications that can be lucrative in advancing the information security career.

  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
  • OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional)
  • CISA (Certified Information Security Auditor)
  • Certified Information systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Career Path For Security Director


The security director position is a senior-level job that requires prerequisite experience in the information security and cybersecurity field.

Initially, entry-level jobs can give you enough exposure and knowledge to master the cybersecurity field. It also gives you significant time to acquire related certifications to excel in your profession.

Surprisingly,  according to (ISC)2, only 42% of employees started their career in cybersecurity. Though cybersecurity has now become a career choice for 62% of professionals because of the promising prospects, job security, and high demands of cybersecurity skills.

Mostly, entry-level jobs comprise roles system administer, security administer, network administer, and other similar roles. These positions provide opportunities for robust training and professional development. It gives you exposure to innovative cybersecurity tools and technology. Additionally, a chance to work under strong mentorship leads to career advancement.

With proper training and mentorship, you can then advance from entry-level to secondary security positions. These security positions include security specialists, analysts, engineers, and consultant jobs. Providing your high-profile experience and knowledge to further your career.

Security Director is not the final and only role in the cybersecurity job structure. After the security director, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is the executive position that one can aspire to achieve. Other similar roles that are as promising and high in demand may include:

  • Deputy CISO
  • Information Technology Security Director
  • Senior IT manager
  • Senior Project Manager

Expected Salary For A Security Director


One of the promising prospects of the security director is its pay scale. As per PayScale, a survey has shown a 19% increase in salaries in late career. In the US, a security manager makes between $73k-$148k.

Depending on your skills and experience, the wages can increase. For instance, expertise in Risk, management/Risk control may increase your salary by 15%.

The salary scale also varies in a different region. Employees from Washington, District of Columbia earn an average of 25.2% more than the national average.

Not only in a different state but salary also varies in various industries and companies. TWINN INTELLIGENCE GROUP is among the top companies paying an average of $198,853 per year.

This pay scale will only rise in the future. Considering the statistics of 2020 the average salary of IT security specialists in the US was $107,821. It is safe to say that due to high market value, a Security Director is eligible to demand a significant salary.


Following are the frequently asked questions about security specialist job, that aspirants have in their mind

Is it hard to secure the Security Director job?

The US BLS expects a 12% surge in security professionals’ jobs. On that account, we can expect growth in vacancies in the near future. However, it’s a technical position and therefore requires you to have the right set of skills and adequate experience to work in a senior position.

Does a Security Director have to do Coding?

It’s typically not in the job description of a security manager to do coding, although it is an essential skill that the Director should possess.


An IT security specialist and all the other related jobs are ever-growing and evolving. It provides professionals with the opportunity to develop and advance in their area of expertise. At the same time, it is also a highly responsible and demanding job.

Global cybersecurity is facing an increase in security and breach threats. Hence, a senior security specialist job also requires being more vigilant and proactive to tackle the growing cyber-attacks and other security concerns.

Despite job sensitivity and company expectations, you can still excel in this profession with your dedication and commitment. If you want to launch a successful career in the information security field, then make sure that along with your professional degree, you acquire the necessary skills through recommended certification and experience.

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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