Software Engineering vs. Cybersecurity

Tech Career Hub
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
January 4, 2023

Explore the differences between software engineering and cybersecurity careers to determine which path aligns best with your interests and skills. This post provides insights into both fields to help you make an informed decision.

If you’re just getting started in the field of software engineering, the number of roles available to you with your new coding skills may seem overwhelming. Once you step into the tech industry, there isn’t just one path for you to take.

Software engineering and cybersecurity engineering are two options that those new to the field can consider when building their career path. Making these decisions early can help aspiring engineers specialize and hone particular skills to help them in their chosen role.

Let’s take a look at what sets these different careers apart.

What is a Software Engineer?

Software engineers build software, according to specific requirements outlined for a project, using one or several coding languages. Requirements or requests might include anything from basic command-line programs to developing entire operating systems.

Software engineers are creative thinkers and problem solvers, able to work through bugs and find new solutions. They also have a great degree of flexibility. They may specialize in a certain coding language or a certain type of project, but they often have knowledge in a wide range of tools.

Software engineers are often involved in building new software, updating old software, and many tasks in between. In some cases, they work on the maintenance of various systems, searching for, finding, and addressing problems in the code to build reliable solutions and software.

Specific projects a software engineer might be working on at any given time can vary widely, and some may be designing computer games while others may be building customer-facing web pages.

What is a Cybersecurity Engineer?

Cybersecurity engineers often have similar coding skills and background knowledge to software engineers, but they focus on the creation, execution, and improvement of technological security measures for a product or an organization. It’s a cybersecurity engineer’s job to protect a network or a database from potential threats.

Cybersecurity engineers monitor attacks from hackers, malware, and spyware to help improve their security systems so they can operate at maximum efficiency. Some cybersecurity engineers even run mock hacking trials to see if there are weak points in their system they can work to improve.

You may see a cybersecurity engineer referred to by a number of different titles, depending on the industry they work in or the organization they work for. Some of these may include:

  • Information security engineer
  • Information systems security engineer
  • Information assurance engineer
  • Security analyst
  • Security engineer

Regardless of their official title, cybersecurity engineers work to build secure systems that can defend against intrusions, as well as alert someone to any hacking attempts.

Cybersecurity vs. Software Engineering: a Direct Comparison

When considering cybersecurity vs. software engineering, it’s evident that both are important roles with specific and crucial responsibilities. One of these roles might be a better fit for a particular aspiring engineering, however. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences.

How Are They Different?

Cybersecurity engineers are largely concerned with developing computer programs that improve security within an organization, while a software engineer might not have as specific a focus.

Software engineers often have many different responsibilities from developing various projects to building websites. They don’t necessarily have a goal as concrete as increasing security measures.

How Are They Similar?

Cybersecurity engineers and software engineers do share some distinct similarities despite the differences in the execution of their responsibilities. Both work to design and develop computer programs, often from scratch. They both need a wide and deep breadth of knowledge in computer coding and programming, databases, and frameworks to be able to achieve this.

Problem solving — whether that’s finding a bug in your code or trying to patch a weak spot in your firewall — requires full familiarity with the tools you’re working with. Both cybersecurity and software engineers need to have the creative streak that helps them find new and innovative solutions to the issues they’re facing with the tools they’ve been given.

Get Started with App Academy

If you’re looking to break into the technology industry, it’s crucial to make sure you have the right skills. With one of App Academy’s bootcamps, we’ll equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to succeed as a software engineer. Whether you choose an in-person or online program, full-time or part-time, we can help you find your new career path.



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