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I'm starting my MS in Computer Science (I hold a BS currently) soon and I'm considering specializing in cyber security. I'll be taking courses such as cryptography, biometrics, network security, computer architecture, and information and security among other things. I've been looking around at what jobs would be available to me and security engineer seems like something I would be interested in. What kind of tasks does this job entail? Is this more of a networking field or can I get my hands on some programming and software engineering in here?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Security engineer in a broad spectrum defines several responsibilities and roles.To have a bird's eye view there are several categories that exists.It can be broadly classified as developers-one who develop security tools and analysts-who use these security tools to measure security.

Cryptography:It is involved with writing cool algorithms that has to do with encryption,authentication and stuff like that.Generally these are the developers of the security field,who actually develop softwares for security and analyzing security.Not many do things like this because it is very advanced and sophisticated and requires great knowledge in Math.

Bio metrics:This is another broad field.It covers security of physical applicances in conjunction with actual human intervention,such as fingerprint security,retina scan etc.Generally hardware engineers and embedded software developers design these kind of devices.

Information Security : This is the category where computer science and IT engineers come in.It includes fields such as network security,cryptography etc.To have a better idea take a look at the following web site which may give you a good idea

Click here

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Great link you've provided. That answers a lot of my questions. Much appreciated! –  MGZero Jan 19 '12 at 3:43
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While I think it's a great question, I think it's far too broad of a topic to get a decent answer.

A "Security Engineer" is a very vague title. It could range from software development to hardware design/development to implementation or management.

Without know what the curriculum is, it's hard to say what you would learn and what particular skills you would walk away with.

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Yep - seems like you're learning about software development security, but the job title you've identified is too generic to be meaningful. It could indicate a software development security specialist, or a network security person, or a security process consultant specializing in software, or anything. So narrowing down the role is probably a good idea - if you're a security developer, network security would probably be suboptimal! –  TristanK Jan 19 '12 at 0:40
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