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Kayla Matthews
Tech journalist

March 10, 2021

Most cyber security architects earn between $132,000 and $173,000 per year. We know what you’re thinking: “Heck yeah.”

An astonishing $5 trillion. That's the cost of damage experts predict cybercrime to cause by 2020. Cybercriminals are continuously ramping up their attacks and coming up with new tactics—and _cyber security professionals_ are working just as hard to protect against these threats.

In the battle against cybercrime, cyber security architects are the ones who plan and build the defenses. They design, construct and oversee organizations' network and computer security.

Working as a cyber security architect allows you to play a leading role in a company's cyber security efforts—one that's crucial to the organization's success—and make a difference by helping protect the personal data of a company's employees and customers.

Cyber security architects typically enjoy thinking about things analytically and solving problems strategically while also being creative. They need to be able to take a big-picture view of an organization's stance on cyber security as the structures they build and manage can be quite large and complex.

They're also in charge of making sure all the details of the structure work perfectly, which they accomplish by managing a team of cyber security professionals.

How much do cyber security architects earn?

According to data from ZipRecruiter, the average salary is $150,672 a year, with a high of $205,500 and a low of $79,000. Most cyber security architect salaries fall between $132,000 and $173,000, according to ZipRecruiter. Glassdoor's data puts the average cyber security architect salary at $138,384, consisting of an annual base pay of $123,856 and additional cash compensation of $14,528.

Of course, salary varies depending on factors including your education, years of experience, the sector you work in and where you live. Before we dig in there, let’s talk education.

How does a master's degree increase your salary?

Most employers in this industry will require you to have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, cyber security or a related field. Professionals with a master's degree may be able to earn more. According to PayScale, the average pay for someone with a bachelor of science in computer science is $82,000, while someone with a master of science in computer science earns an average of $101,000. Thinking about heading back to school? You’re in luck. More than ever, schools offer flexible, part-time and online cyber security degree options.

Earning advanced security certifications from accredited organizations can also help boost your likelihood of getting a security architect job—and beef up your salary too. Some of these certifications include:

  • Certified information systems security professional
  • Information systems security architecture professional
  • Certified SCADA security architect
  • Certified information security manager
  • Certified ethical hacker

How much experience do you need?

To land a cyber security architect job, you'll also typically need five to ten years of experience in an IT-related position, including three to five years in a position focused on security. Most employers look for experience in systems analysis, application development and business planning. IT professionals may move up from jobs such as security analysts, _cyber security engineers_ and security consultants to become a cyber security architect.

Once you get a security architect job, your pay will increase as you gain more experience and knowledge in the field. The average total annual compensation for a security architect with under five years of experience is $95,000, according to PayScale. With five to ten years of experience, the average annual compensation jumps to $118,000. For someone with ten to 20 years of experience, it's $127,000, and for those with more than 20 years, it's $144,000.

After gaining work experience as a cyber security architect, you may qualify for a position like senior security architect or chief security architect. You could also eventually become a chief information security officer.

Location matters, too.

Like any job, where you work can also affect how much you make in your profession. In Washington state, you'll receive some of the highest pay. Salaries in Washington for cyber security architects exceed the national average by 20 percent. Other high-paying cities include San Jose and Austin, with salaries 13 percent and 8 percent above the national average, respectively.

Which companies have the most cyber security jobs?

Let's take a look at some of the top industry employers for cyber security architects to give you an idea of where you can work in this field.

  • _SAIC:_ Short for Science Applications International Corporation, is a leading employer of cyber security architects. The company provides government services and information technology support, including cyber security services.
  • _CACI International:_ An information technology company that serves numerous branches of the federal government. The company offers competitive salaries and an opportunity to work on crucial government projects.
  • _Northrop Grumman:_ A leader in defense and aerospace technology, is another great company to work for as a cyber security architect.
  • _Booz Allen Hamilton:_ Provides management consulting, information technology consulting and other services to both private companies and the government. The firm is also a leading cyber security provider with clients that include Fortune 100 and Global 2000 companies.
  • _Deloitte:_ The largest of the big four accounting firms. The company, which provides audit, consulting, tax, financial advisory and enterprise risk services, is an excellent place for cyber security architects to work. The company offers competitive salaries and has many large clients.

Is a career as a cyber security architect for you?

Do you want to make a difference by playing a leading role in the fight against cybercrime? Would you enjoy building complex IT systems and designing strategies to protect against cyber-threats?

As a cyber security architect, you can make a difference by protecting the increasingly important computer networks and digital solutions we depend on. _Take a look at this article_ for information on how to get started in your career as a cyber security architect.

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