Security Software Developer [Career and Salary Guide]

5 min read

The rapid growth of technology and its ever-increasing integration into our lives has led to a surge in demand for security, developer and IT-related jobs. Among these sought-after positions is the Security Software Developer, a role that blends software development with vital cybersecurity measures. This career boasts impressive rankings, with software developer positions holding the #2 spot in Best Technology Jobs, #5 in 100 Best Jobs and #5 in Best STEM Jobs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Embarking on a security software developer career path promises a blend of challenge and reward. With a strong foundation in technical skills, qualifications and an understanding of the job outlook and earning potential, individuals can navigate this dynamic field and contribute to the ever-evolving world of technology.

What Is a Security Software Developer?

A security software developer is a specialized professional who combines the roles of a traditional software developer with expertise in cybersecurity, computer programming and forensic skills. Their primary focus is to develop and enhance the security features of software applications and systems.

General responsibilities of a security software developer include:

  • Creating new security technologies to protect sensitive information and systems
  • Updating existing applications and programs to enhance their security features
  • Integrating security protocols into existing software applications and programs to safeguard against potential threats

In a world where digital security is of utmost importance, security software developers’ unique blend of skills makes them invaluable assets to companies and organizations across many different industries.

What Does a Security Software Developer Do?

A security software developer carries out a wide range of tasks to ensure the safety and integrity of software applications and systems. Day-to-day responsibilities may include:

  • Collaborating with a team of developers to create secure software tools and systems
  • Designing engineering solutions for new software with a focus on security
  • Leading the process of software design, implementation and testing to ensure robust protection
  • Developing comprehensive software security strategies for various projects
  • Implementing, testing and operating advanced security techniques within software systems
  • Facilitating meetings to understand and define clients’ security requirements
  • Actively participating in the entire development lifecycle of software systems, from inception to deployment
  • Designing and building prototype solutions to address specific security challenges
  • Staying informed about potential attack vectors that could exploit software vulnerabilities
  • Conducting regular security testing to identify and address software vulnerabilities
  • Advising team members on best practices for secure programming
  • Investigating and identifying flaws in software systems to improve security
  • Rectifying development errors to enhance software protection
  • Troubleshooting and resolving any issues that arise during the development process
  • Creating and maintaining detailed technical documentation to support software security efforts

It’s important to note that this role can overlap with other positions in this field. The following job titles share similar responsibilities:

These professionals collaborate to ensure the safety and security of software applications and systems, utilizing a combination of cybersecurity techniques, programming skills and knowledge of potential attack vectors.

Steps to Become a Security Software Developer

Becoming a security software developer involves a combination of education, experience and certifications. Here are the key steps to follow:

  1. Earn a relevant bachelor’s degree: Pursue a degree in computer science, computer networking, mathematics or a related field to build a solid foundation in the necessary technical skills.
  2. Gain experience through internships or entry-level work: Seek internships or entry-level positions in software development and/or cybersecurity to gain hands-on experience and develop practical skills.
  3. Consider cybersecurity certifications and boot camps: Enhance your knowledge and expertise by obtaining cybersecurity certifications or attending coding boot camps to expand your skill set.
  4. Obtain professional certifications: Certifications, such as CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) will demonstrate your competence and dedication to the field, and in some cases, they may be required for certain positions.
  5. Consider pursuing a relevant master’s degree: While not always required, obtaining a master’s degree in a related field can provide a competitive edge in the job market, potentially leading to higher salaries and faster career advancement.

Skills Required for a Security Software Developer

To excel as a security software developer, individuals need a diverse range of technical and soft skills, including:

  • Strong technology background: A solid foundation in computer programming and cybersecurity is essential for understanding the technical aspects of software development and security.
  • Coding and programming experience: Proficiency in various programming languages, such as Python, Java, or C++, is crucial for developing secure software applications.
  • Organizational skills: Managing tasks, prioritizing work and meeting deadlines are critical skills that are needed in a fast-paced development environment.
  • Interpersonal skills: Security software developers must work well with colleagues, clients and stakeholders, fostering positive relationships and collaboration.
  • Clear communication: Conveying complex technical information clearly, both in writing and verbally, is essential for working with diverse teams and ensuring a shared understanding of project goals and requirements.

Job Outlook and Salary for Security Software Developers

The job outlook and salary prospects for security software developers are promising, as the demand for skilled professionals in this field continues to grow. Key statistics include:

  • High employment rates: In 2022, states with the highest employment of software developers were California (228,240), Texas (103,510), Washington (81,520), New York (75,790) and Virginia (68,250).
  • Competitive salaries: The annual mean wage for software developers in 2022 ranged from $58,000 to $146,000, depending on location. The highest annual mean wages were in California ($146,770), Washington ($145,150), Maryland ($131,240), New York ($129,950), and Rhode Island ($128,790).
  • Strong average earnings: According to U.S. News & World Report, software developers had a mean salary of $110,140 in 2020, with the top 25% earning $140,470+ and the lowest-paid making $84,020.
  • Rapid job growth: Employment for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow by 22% between 2020 and 2030, outpacing the national average.
  • Global demand: A recent article highlighted that 750 new software developer jobs are advertised daily in the United Kingdom.
  • Future prospects: Software developer has been deemed “the most important tech job of the future” by the Silicon Republic.

Companies Hiring for Security Software Developers

Numerous organizations across different industries are actively seeking Security Software Developers to strengthen their teams and enhance their software security. Some notable companies hiring for this role include:

  • Amazon: As a global e-commerce and technology giant, Amazon continually recruits security software developers to safeguard its extensive range of online services.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery: The media conglomerate needs security software developers to protect their digital assets, including streaming services, websites,and apps.
  • Chewy: The online pet retailer seeks security software developers to ensure the safety and security of their e-commerce platform and customer information.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Academic institutions like MIT require security software developers to maintain the integrity of their research data and IT systems.
  • Fidelity Investments: Financial services firms like Fidelity Investments prioritize the security of their software systems, driving the demand for skilled security software developers.
  • U.S. Bank: As one of the largest banks in the United States, U.S. Bank relies on security software developers to protect sensitive financial data and transactions.
  • The Home Depot: Retailers like The Home Depot need security software developers to safeguard their digital systems, e-commerce platforms and customer data.
  • Lockheed Martin: Defense contractors like Lockheed Martin require security software developers to develop and maintain secure software systems for mission-critical applications.
  • Johns Hopkins University: Academic medical centers such as Johns Hopkins need security software developers to protect patient data and research information.

Security Software Developer FAQs

Is software security harder to learn than cybersecurity?

The difficulty of learning software security vs. cybersecurity varies per individual. Software security emphasizes secure coding and development, while cybersecurity covers broader concepts like network security and risk management. Both fields are essential, with the level of difficulty depending on one’s background and interests.

Do software developers help monitor security?

Software developers, especially those in security, can play a role in monitoring security. They often collaborate with cybersecurity teams to ensure secure and vulnerability-free applications, providing valuable insights into potential security issues.

What is the secure software development process?

It’s an approach to software engineering that incorporates security best practices throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC). This includes secure design, coding, testing and deployment to reduce vulnerabilities and minimize security risks.

Why is security important in software development?

Security is crucial because insecure applications can lead to data breaches, financial loss and reputational damage. Prioritizing security during development protects sensitive information, maintains customer trust and complies with industry regulations.

What kind of education is required to become a security software developer?

A relevant bachelor’s degree is typically required. Internships, entry-level work, cybersecurity certifications, coding boot camps and a master’s degree can also be beneficial, depending on job requirements.

Advance Your Cybersecurity Career with USD

The role of a security software developer is a dynamic and rewarding career choice in an era marked by rapid technological advancements and growing cybersecurity concerns. By combining programming, cybersecurity and forensic skills, these professionals are essential for creating secure software applications and protecting sensitive information. With a strong job outlook and attractive salaries, security software development is a promising opportunity.

To excel in this field, consider furthering your education with one of the University of San Diego’s cybersecurity programs: the 100% online Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership or the Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering, which is offered both online and on-campus and recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity.

As you explore your career options, don’t forget to download our comprehensive eBook — Getting a Degree in Cyber Security: 8 Important Considerations, to help guide you in making an informed decision about your educational and professional journey.

Getting a Degree in Cyber Security: 8 Important Considerations

28-page eBook to walk through 8 important factors when considering a graduate degree program in Cyber Security

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