Why and How to Become a Security Software Developer

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The main function of a security software developer is either one of the following:

  • He is either responsible for developing some security pieces of software:
    • New tools such as antiviruses, spyware or malware detection application software, intrusion detection applications, traffic analysis software, etc.
  • Or he is part of the development team when creating an application software. He is responsible for the security aspects while creating the app in this case.

All the application that are developed by an organization which integrates a security software developer with the development team is greatly sure that its applications are highly secure and no potential breaches are to be expected then.

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In fact, the responsibility depends mainly on which of the two jobs you select. The following list gives an overview of what to expect in a daily basis depending on the position essentially.

  • A security software developer is responsible to monitor the development phases of an application project for an organization. He should make sure that all the developed software tools are really secure.
  • In that sense, a security software developer is considered to be having a leading position over the development team whilst in the phases of designing, implementing, and testing a software tool.
  • He should set a strategy to improve the security practices when developing a software application. Such strategy is to be followed as much as possible by all the development teams within the organization.
  • He should be responsible for conducting some meetings and workshops in order to meet the requirements and processes of a client when developing the application.
  • He should be responsible for designing new forensics tools and security software systems in general.
  • He is also expected to be a participant of the lifecycle development of software systems, following agile methods.
  • A security software developer should also be able to design solutions and create some proof of concept ideas to reach specific requirements of a security software tool.
  • He should be able to turn his ideas into actual programs with no implementation errors nor any logical design flaws of course.
  • He should have knowledge of attack vectors. An attacker may use them to get a piece of software exploited.
  • He should also make use of attack tools to try to exploit his developed software tool. This would be really helpful to determine any software vulnerabilities that may be existent.
  • A security software developer should also be responsible for conducting some trainings to improve the security practices when it comes to programming amongst his colleagues within the organization to ensure that today’s mistakes are not repeated again afterwards.
  • He should fix any mistakes that happened in the development of the software and further research to find any existent ones.
  • The software development lifecycle should get documented by the security software developer for future reference.
  • He is also expected to give support to the clients to deploy the developed security tools.

In large scale organizations, the security software developer should report his findings and documents to a Security Software Architect.

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Working as a security software developer is considered as mid-level job. In order to become specialized in the security aspects of the development phase, one should start first as a normal Software Developer. After gaining enough experience from the security software development position, one is expected to go one step up the ladder and take one of the following positions:

  • Security Software Architect
  • Security Architect
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Looking through the perspective of employers, there is almost no such job that is literally called security software developer position. However, there are some other terminologies that are commonly used amongst most industries in the field. Some of these terms are:

  • Cyber Developer
  • Security Developer
  • Security Software Engineer
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Well, a software developer in general is expected to get an average salary of $65,668 according to PayScale. Nonetheless, there is a gap between the lower bound which is around $43,141 and the upper bound of around $101,384. This of course includes your base annual salary, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable.

On the other, working as a security software developer means that you have experience in both the development and cybersecurity domains. This definitely implies that he is paid much more than a normal Software Developer. According to Indeed, the average salary for a Cyber Security Developer varies from $80,000 to $100,000.

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Having a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Math, Network Technology, or Electrical Engineering are all possibilities to get a job as a security software developer. A perfect candidate should also add to his skills more through trainings and getting certificates in the field of cybersecurity. One could also consider acquiring a master’s degree. However, he should not force himself to do so because experience in the field as long as the technical skills make more sense to employers who are to hire you.

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A security software developer does not usually get this job until he has completed around 5 years of experience in the field of both normal software development and cybersecurity. Typically, it is the case that 3 years working as a software developer is required beside 2 years in auditing or testing positions. It is greatly advisable to harness every second throughout these 5 years very greatly. Attend as many conferences as possible, take cybersecurity courses, add accreditations to your professional career in the cybersecurity. These will all add to your experience and will be very helpful after the 5 years.

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The biggest part of the job is obviously programming. If you don’t have experience in programming, go get the experience first. The following list gives some main hard skills that most employers look for when selecting between potential candidates.

  • A perfect candidate should be fully aware of both Windows and Unix like operating systems.
  • He should be well founded in many programming languages of which C, C++, C#, Java, ASM, PHP, and PERL are mostly needed.
  • He should have knowledge of networking protocols like TCP/IP and how to deal with them.
  • He should be knowledgeable of the IP security domain.
  • Experience with relational databases like SQL, MySQL, SQLite, etc. is also mostly required.
  • Background of hypervisors such as VMware and KVM is needed for the job functions.
  • A security software developer should be experienced with python in in HTML and CSS.
  • Experience with XML, Web Services, and AJAX is also desired.

He should also have a background in the field of cloud computing.

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In fact, there is much of communications with other colleagues involved in this job whilst developing a piece of software. In addition, a security software developer is meant to lead the development team most of the time to ensure a secure software development. Also, he is expected to meet with clients and give support to them to help them maintain the developed security software tool. For all of these reasons, oral and communication skills are really praised and recommended for a security software developer. With no communication skills, he cannot even document the lifecycle development of the software.

Besides, a good security software developer should have great problem-solving skills and should be having an analytical style of thinking. Leadership skills are also recommended since monitoring the development team requires much of this skill. Finally, meeting tight deadlines and having the ability to work perfectly under pressure are two skills that employers want to see when selecting a candidate for the position of security software development.

Which certificates are recommended to make a perfect candidate?

The following list intends to give an overview of the most important certificates that could ensure you to get a high salary and better opportunities to get hired. However, do not just lean on this list, but you should always ask your colleagues and search online to see what your desired employers require.

  • ECSP: EC-Council Certified Secure Programmer
  • CSSLP: Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional
  • GSSP-JAVA: GIAC Secure Software Programmer-Java
  • GWEB: GIAC Certified Web Application Defender
  • GSSP-.NET: GIAC Secure Software Programmer- .NET
  • CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CES: Certified Encryption Specialist
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The following list intends to give an overview of the most important certificates that could ensure you to get a high salary and better opportunities to get hired. However, do not just lean on this list, but you should always ask your colleagues and search online to see what your desired employers require.