Cyber security architect

Security architect
Computing and ICT

Career outlook for cyber security architect

Average UK salary

No salary information is available.

Currently employed in Scotland

Information is unavailable

"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

Architects made Edinburgh Castle, one of Scotland's iconic landmarks, an intimidating fortress. Cyber security architects do something similar in the modern technological world. They help organisations and businesses fend off cyberattacks and other threats. You'll be the mastermind bolstering their digital defences.

You'll do this by designing, creating and looking after cyber security systems. You'll need to think ahead to outsmart hackers and scammers. Being able to spot future threats is key. It'll help you build systems that can protect against them.

You might work with the Scottish Government, safeguarding public services from cyber attackers. But all organisations need security solutions to protect their networks and keep customer data safe. It's a career that can take you into any industry.

This role is perfect for problem-solvers. You'll need a curious mind, a passion for technology and the ability to think creatively.

Your tasks might include:

  • designing security architecture such as firewalls, access controls and encryption
  • thinking of and communicating security strategies
  • identifying and fixing weaknesses in existing systems
  • collaborating with IT teams, developers and other cybersecurity professionals
  • designing and running simulations to test security systems
  • looking out for suspicious activity and taking action to stop breaches
  • giving advice to other people on best practice for security

Working conditions


You'd likely work 35 to 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday. In some roles, you might work on a shift basis, including evening and weekend work. Cyber security incidents can happen at any time and need a quick response. This means you could be on-call for an organisation. Some workplaces will offer a flexible approach to your working hours.


You'd work in an office, or from home at times, and spend long periods sitting at a desk.


You may have to travel to different places to meet with clients.

UK employment status


Information is unavailable


Information is unavailable

Self employed

Information is unavailable

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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Written communication
  • Innovative
  • Developing a plan
  • Ethical
  • Making decisions
  • Taking responsibility

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Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


This is a role where you'll need a deep understanding of cyber security built up through years of experience. You'll likely have to develop this knowledge in other relevant roles and work your way up to an architect position.

Employers will value your skills and knowledge more than just qualifications. But you may need a degree for some jobs. Regardless, getting a qualification can be a great way to grow your understanding and equip yourself for roles in cyber security.

Check out the UK Cyber Security site. They list common entry routes and qualifications that can help in this career. Here are some routes you can take to become a cyber security architect.

Apprenticeship routes to a cyber career 

Foundation Apprenticeships

You can start learning the skills you'll need through a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA). You can take one in S5 or S6 and gain work experience while you study.

You can browse FAs on This one in IT: Hardware and System Support is an ideal first step towards a cyber career.

Modern Apprenticeships

If you’re aged 16 or older, a Modern Apprenticeship (MA) will let you work and earn while you study for a qualification. After you qualify, you'd be able to study further or move into a role where you can build experience.

You might find these MAs helpful:

Graduate Apprenticeships

You could also earn a degree level qualification through a Graduate Apprenticeship (GA). Check out this GA in Cyber Security.


A college course could provide work experience and help you progress to further study or even into a full-time role. Common qualifications you can get at college include:

  • National Progression Awards (NPA)
  • National Qualifications (NQ)
  • National Certificates (NC)
  • Higher National Certificates (HNC)
  • Higher National Diplomas (HND)

What you need to enter a Cyber Security course will differ depending on the level of study. For an HNC or HND, you'll likely need either:

  • at least one Higher at C, preferably two
  • a relevant NC or NQ
  • a relevant Access course or NPA

An FA in a relevant subject may count as Higher. Some courses may ask for National 5s or Highers in subjects such as Maths, Computing Science, Physics, Chemistry or English.


A Cyber Security degree will increase the number of roles you can apply for.

To get into a relevant course, you'll likely need at least:

  • four Highers at BBCC or three Advanced Highers at BBB
  • National 5s in English and Maths at C

Some courses will ask for Maths, Computing or a science subject at Higher or Advanced Higher. If you have an HNC or HND in a relevant subject, this might also get you into a degree course.

Degrees in other subjects are also useful for a career in cyber security. For example:

  • Computer Science
  • Software Engineering
  • Systems Engineering

If you want to continue studying at postgraduate level, there are courses in Cyber Security. You'll need at least a 2.2 honours degree in a relevant subject to apply.


There are trainee cyber security roles available that you don't need experience for. You'll get training on the job and could work towards more senior positions.

Use our job search to explore roles in Scotland.

To become a cyber security architect, you might need to supplement your on-the-job learning. Getting qualifications and industry certifications could help you progress to your end goal.

Useful subjects

  • Computer Science
  • Maths
  • Application of Maths
  • Physics
  • English
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Business Skills
  • Foundation Apprenticeship: IT: Hardware and System Support

You will also need

You might need different certifications for some roles. This shows your knowledge is up-to-date in certain areas. 

Browse a list of recognised industry certifications on the ICS2 site. They're the world's leading member association for cyber security professionals.

Helpful to have

Your knowledge and experience are very important in this career. Some of the technical knowledge that a job advert might ask for includes:

  • data loss prevention 
  • cloud technologies 
  • DevOps and DevSecOps 
  • endpoint, network and infrastructure threat protection  
  • secure networks, flow monitoring and application control 

These are just a small sample taken from current job postings. There is a vast range of knowledge useful for a cyber security architect.

Check out the UK Cyber Security Council site. They've gathered a list of learning resources to help you develop your skills.